Digital transformation has become a necessity for businesses to gain a competitive advantage with digital transformation becoming a foundation for a lot of start-ups. The evidence of value creation supported by digital transformation can be observed with the different technology-based start-ups reaching a billion-dollar valuation in only four years (World Economic Forum, 2022). Consequently, this essay aims to analyze the ideas that shaped the culture of Silicon Valley from the perspectives of political, social, and economic aspects. Initially, this essay discusses the political aspects governing the culture of Silicon Valley followed by a discussion on the social aspects and economic aspects changing the culture of Silicon Valley, sequentially. In the end, a conclusion to summarise the discussion is provided.
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The urban development politic, social movements, and supporting policies in the region have led to the culture of start-ups focused on technology application and digital transformation. The social movements in America after the wars have been a major reason for developing a new economy focused on the tech culture in Silicon Valley (Estruth, 2019). The development of Silicon Valley has been possible because of the priority of the government with the focus on setting up the innovation hubs such as that of Silicon Valley supported by policy planning at the federal level within the country. As a result, the technological advancement with the development of the internet has led to the focus of the senior federal officials on developing the technology hubs as the technological innovations not only facilitate investment in the cities but the creation of jobs for the local communities would serve as a vote bank in the following elections.
Furthermore, innovations in the region can only be supported with suitable government policies such as no restrictions on the accessibility of the platform and providing support and subsidy in enabling the development of technology (Dolfsma & Seo, 2013). As a result, the role of politics has been evident in the development of unicorns in Silicon Valley as the federal officials have been supportive through the corresponding policies and the officials have been enablers of internet technology. Consequently, the development of the start-ups in Silicon Valley has been supported by the politics of the Internet as the government and officials in America have enabled the growth of the technology by developing adequate policies leading to a significant increase in the unicorns in the region. Hence, the political ideas of developing suitable policies and supporting the growth of technologies by enabling internet advancement have shaped the culture of Silicon Valley.
The positive impact on the lives of people with the growth of the internet in terms of comfort in communication and completing other tasks has led to the culture of start-ups in Silicon Valley. The history of the Internet shows that the number of users making use of the Internet has grown significantly over the years from only around 1 billion in 2005 to almost 5 billion users in 2021 due to the easy access of the computers and development of smartphones enabling convenience for the users (Statista, 2022). As a result, the pace of growth of the Internet has allowed people to stay connected with friends and family, communicate easily and also have access to facilities such as entertainment and eCommerce. Following that, the social aspects of ease of accessibility of the Internet and effectiveness supported by the Internet have led to the growth of the start-ups in Silicon Valley that are leveraging the Internet to provide services to the users.
Figure 1: Growth of Internet Users over the years. Source: (Statista, 2022)
Additionally, the internet has enabled access to social media platforms which has the potential to provide resources to organizations for enabling innovations with the development of ideas (Masci, Björk, & Magnusson, 2012). Following that, with the increased consumption of the Internet, the financing of the start-ups developed in Silicon Valley has become easier as the investors of the company have high beliefs of the company doing well which in turn, has led to the growth of the start-up culture in the region (Wonglimpiyarat, 2006). Not only this but the social values of hustling and entrepreneurship culture focus on innovating with new technologies to create something that adds value for the people and has contributed towards the development of the start-ups in Silicon Valley. Hence, the social perspectives in the form of the positive impact of the Internet on the lives of people and increased consumption of the Internet have shaped the culture of start-ups in Silicon Valley.
The growth and potential of the internet and the corresponding networked technologies to provide a source of revenue for different businesses have contributed to the start-up culture in Silicon Valley. The internet and the application of other networked technologies lead to high economies of scale where the development of the first product is costly but reproduction and distribution of the same have limited costs making it easier for the businesses to generate revenue (Jonnalagedda, 2011). Consequently, the potential to distribute the products and services at a very minimal cost over the Internet has eventually led to the increased number of start-ups in Silicon Valley leveraging technology for the products and services. Additionally, the top companies that have products and services based on online accessibility with the use of the Internet such as Amazon, Google, Meta, and Netflix have observed a significant increase in revenue over the years depicting high potential for leveraging technology for generating revenues (Clement, 2022). Following that, that has shaped the culture of the internet where the motives of the internet companies have not focused on providing information and contributing to society but instead have focused on generating revenues. Hence, the potential of the internet to facilitate increased revenues for companies has shaped the culture of Silicon Valley.
Figure 2: Revenues of the Top Internet Companies over the years in billion U.S. Dollars. Source: (Clement, 2022)
Cultural and Social Issues
- The development of Silicon Valley has led to a social divide with unsympathetic attitudes and inequalities among the people working in Silicon Valley.
- The mental health of the employees in Silicon Valley is getting affected due to the tech culture of staying connected all the time (Bowles, 2021)
- The products and services offered by the tech companies in Silicon Valley such as social media platforms also contribute to the spreading of hate crimes such as bullying, harassment, and others.
- The tech-innovation in Silicon Valley with the latest start-ups makes the data and personal information about the users vulnerable to hacking and other security & privacy issues.
- The black swan eventsfor the companies at the start-up in Silicon Valley potentially lead to job loss and loss of income sources for the people affecting their social life (Pan & Yue, 2022).
This essay aims to analyze political, social, and economic ideas that have shaped the culture of Silicon Valley in recent years. Consequently, it was identified that the political perspectives in terms of the policies and social movement supporting the use and development of internet and networked technologies have contributed to the start-up culture in Silicon Valley. Further, the social aspects in terms of increased consumption of the internet and positive impact of the internet with the convenience offered by the internet. Besides that, the economic aspects in terms of ease of generating revenues by leveraging the internet and other networked technologies have governed the culture of start-ups focused on technology in Silicon Valley.
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Clement, J. (2022). Leading online companies ranked by revenue from 2017 to 2021. Retrieved from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/277123/internet-companies-revenue/
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Estruth, J. A. (2019). A New Utopia: A Political History of the Silicon Valley, 1945 to 1995. Enterprise & Society, 20(4), 777-785. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/enterprise-and-society/article/abs/new-utopia-a-political-history-of-the-silicon-valley-1945-to-1995/69CEBC40A5A6E39357CD750FE19B0755
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Statista. (2022). Number of internet users worldwide from 2005 to 2021. Retrieved from Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/273018/number-of-internet-users-worldwide/
Wonglimpiyarat, J. (2006). The dynamic economic engine at Silicon Valley and US Government programmes in financing innovations. Technovation, 26(9), 1081-1089. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.technovation.2005.09.005.
World Economic Forum. (2022). An introduction to the Digital Transformation of Industries initiative. Retrieved from https://reports.weforum.org/digital-transformation/an-introduction-to-the-digital-transformation-initiative/