Since I was a (geek) kid, I wanted to come to the Silicon Valley and see what it looks like.
Now that I’ve been there, I would like to share some thoughts about what I’ve seen and what I’ve felt there. Incidentally, I’ll also (try to) relate those to what is happening in Mauritius.
First of all, from a geographical perspective, the Silicon Valley is what is around the San Francisco bay. On the map, you can see San Mateo, Stanford, Mountain View up to San Jose on the left of the bay and San Leandro, Fremont, Sunnyvale up to San Jose again on the right. Everything falls within the Silicon Valley. In other words, the Silicon Valley is big.
Secondly, some very well known companies have their headquarters in the Silicon Valley: Adobe, AMD, Apple, Cisco, eBay, Google, HP, Intel, Nvidia, Oracle and Yahoo. A few years ago, I wrote about the reasons why the Mauritian Cybercity will (most probably) never become a (mini) Silicon Valley and I think the post is still relevant.
One of the first things I’ve realised is that it’s about people. People invent, people innovate and people create wealth. What is essential is that people have the opportunity to network and exchange ideas with others.
We were lucky to spend a few days with Audrey, the woman in the middle. She’s from Singapore, lives in San Carlos and is one of the co-founders of PlayMoolah. We spoke a lot and we found out that most people creating startups in the Silicon Valley are not doing it for money. Rather, they (simply) want to change the world.
Sun, the woman on the left, is the founder of LittleLives, a social networking platform for children and she also wants to change the world.
I feel the same thing about Knowledge Seven. Of course, the company is a training company but, at the same time, I work on side projects like Infos.mu and Elections.mu. When I return to Mauritius, I will start working on my grand project to transform the education landscape in Mauritius. My dream is to allow every single Mauritian to learn whatever he/she wants from the comfort of his/her home using technology.
The second thing I’ve realised is that it’s also about technology.
People in the Silicon Valley all use smartphones (the iPhone rules but I’ve seen quite a lot of Android and Blackberry devices too), laptops and (sometimes) tablets.
The Internet is pervasive here. Everything can be found online: spots to visit, places to eat, museums to discover, etc. I am actually amazed by e-commerce here. 99% of the places we’ve been allowed us to buy tickets online.
Allowing people to do everything online gives them the opportunity to devote more of their time to change the world. Maybe that’s why the Silicon Valley is so unique: people concentrate more.
Thyaga Kreshan says
Just WOW !!! Nice post. Am kinda inspired by your words ‘not doing it for money. Rather, they (simply) want to change the world.’ Silicon valley…Amazing !!!
You surely feeling the like of in one of my post on your “Your future Mauritian Cybercity” some 9 month ago.
“My dream is to allow every single Mauritian to learn whatever he/she wants from the comfort of his/her home using technology.”
Fight for it Man, keep it up.
Though will be hard, considering you are surrounded by .o5 % of the ones needed to be educated and 70% of the whole country are “Technologicaly” illiterate!
Patrick Ng says
Much to my chagrin, I, too, do not believe Mauritian Cybercity will never become like Silicon valley, unless some political and cultural changes occur. I think the way things are done in Mauritius does not create an innovative climate. Sometimes, it’s the crazy ideas which revolutionise the world, but crazy ideas are killed in Mauritius. Moreover–and I’m guilty of this too–most people tend to focus on the monetary side when thinking about the next big thing. Unfortunately, this is similar to adopting self-imposing boundaries.
Quattro Bajeena says
At the end of the day, it’s still about profitability, particularly for those startups. I believe another bubble burst is on the way.
I enjoyed reading this post coming back to your blog afer a few years …. I can see with delight that the kids have grown up while you and Christina are still as nice as ever.
I can share your feelings about California and the S Valley, having left Mauritius 12 yrs ago, I now have a house there, in England and France, work for the most prestigious organization but still miss my little ‘Moris’ !. Having been part of the academic staff on the campus, I once shared the same dream you have, worked hard for many years to achieve it, but the reality of what we may call ‘ petite mentalite ‘ was too strong for me to fight. I have since found perfect professional satisfaction into achieving what I dreamt of, what I dream of … seeing results which are tangible.
I love yours and Christina’s endeavours, new technology working in your favour, keep it up !