The knowledge economy was first introduced in Silicon Valley, a well-known high-tech region. Silicon Valley is famous for its black swans and unicorns; among the unicorns are Google and Apple, while the black swans include the development of the Internet and technology. Since the creation of the Internet, Silicon Valley has also assisted in its transformation. This essay will examine Silicon Valley culture’s social, economic, and political genesis and evolution.
The most basic approach to working in Silicon Valley is to be open and use openness to incorporate various ideas. For example, many companies in Silicon Valley have daily “multi-faceted” meetings where good ideas and thoughts are made public and evaluated (Herrity,2021). Senior management identifies valuable and innovative ideas from these discussions and then shares these creative ideas. The openness of Silicon Valley is also reflected in the high mobility of its people, which is known for its unusually rapid job hopping. In the 1970s, the average annual turnover rate for electronics companies in Silicon Valley was 35 percent. It was as high as 59 percent in smaller companies, with few technical people staying with one company. Here, turnover is the norm. This high turnover is since people in Silicon Valley are much more loyal to their careers than to their companies, which are just places where people can use their talents. Therefore, the most crucial thing for individuals is self-realization. When their ideas do not work out, or they think they have accomplished everything they planned to do, they “jump ship” even if the company pays well (Jones & Sudlow,2022).
Moreover, changing jobs in Silicon Valley does not break personal, social, or professional ties like elsewhere. This high mobility has enabled Silicon Valley’s talent to advance and succeed through constant restructuring. It also accelerates the spread and exchange of new technologies, ideas, and thoughts, helping to increase the overall speed and capacity of innovation in the region’s industries and providing talent resources for fast-growing companies, making it easy for new and existing companies to select and hire qualified talent through professional talent networks (Mansell & Steinmueller,2020). This talent environment is also beautiful for foreign skills and enterprises. Individuals feel that there are many opportunities for growth and choice, and high-tech companies can easily select high-quality talent here, so more and more unicorns and black swans are emerging in Silicon Valley.
The free financial markets have contributed significantly to Silicon Valley’s growth. In particular, venture capital in the free financial markets has been instrumental in keeping Silicon Valley thriving. From 1972, when the first venture capital firm was established on Sand Hill Road next to Stanford, venture capital contributed significantly to the growth of Silicon Valley. In 1980, when Apple went public, more venture capital was attracted to Silicon Valley, and Sand Hill became synonymous with venture capital in Silicon Valley (Colapinto,2007). The risk of investing in Silicon Valley companies is high, especially for new technology start-ups. Ordinary bank capital is reluctant to get involved, and private venture capital naturally fills this gap. This venture capital is typical speculative capital but has been the key to Silicon Valley’s rapid growth and the emergence of unicorns and black swans. Since Silicon Valley has many banks and investment institutions, technology companies can only continue to compete and innovate to gain the favor and investment of financial institutions under the influence of free trade. In Silicon Valley, it is not easy to grow without innovation. Innovation is a requirement, not a choice. The people of Silicon Valley dress, act casually, and cannot tell who is the boss or employee, but they are active in their thinking. They do not stick to the rules and have new ideas that can quickly transform into new technologies and products to capture new markets (Loannou,2021). They try to find the weaknesses of their products and come up with better products from time to time to defeat their original creations. When technology companies and investment firms simultaneously gain economies of scale, they provide economic support for Silicon Valley. According to Davis et al. (2020), Silicon Valley is sensitive to economic shifts compared to other industries. This is because many technology companies in Silicon Valley rely on easy access to capital from the general economy to pursue their ambitions of generating revenue and profits. Hence, Silicon Valley can continue to grow and be in a virtuous cycle within the framework.
Initially free from political and governmental constraints, Silicon Valley was founded on idealistic and libertarian principles. The Internet was once intended to be a digital space where people might exercise their right to free expression. The rise of increasingly unicorn and “black swan” businesses has given technology corporations a growing presence in American politics. For instance, 83% of employee donations from the most prominent internet businesses went to Barack Obama’s campaign in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, demonstrating that the majority of big tech corporations favor the Democratic Party (Guardian & News Media, 2015). Prominent tech company founders adhere to libertarian philosophy, seeing the government as “an investor in citizens, not a guardian of capitalism.” (Guardian,2015).
Nevertheless, from the outset of the Internet’s growth, the openness and freedom that aimed to free people from bureaucracy, in essence, permitted the prejudiced approach that governments were trying to prevent (Lusoli & Turner, 2020). Instead of being wholly aligned with pre-existing political parties, Silicon Valley’s political ideas are a distinctive synthesis of idealism and liberalism. They can essentially function as a neutral party but also become an essential role in significant political battles. Silicon Valley blocked pre-election coverage of the Biden family from the app Parler: condemned and erased many postings from the President of the United States, and removed right-wing accounts in the Biden election, demonstrating political censorship. (Greenwald,2021). Therefore, Silicon Valley’s culture was no longer the rebellious, liberal one it had been intended to be and was becoming increasingly more politically oriented.
To conclude, Silicon Valley has gradually become the benchmark of today’s global economy. It has guided the new knowledge economy and the Internet economy. Silicon Valley has shaped the transformation of the Internet under the influence of political, social, and economic ideas. While there are areas of Silicon Valley culture that deserve to be explored and critiqued, the success and impact of Silicon Valley are undeniable.
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