Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World

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Overview

While the global economy languishes, one place just keeps growing despite failing banks, uncertain markets, and high unemployment: Silicon Valley. In the last two years, more than 100 incubators have popped up there, and the number of angel investors has skyrocketed. Today, 40 percent of all venture capital investments in the United States come from Silicon Valley firms, compared to 10 percent from New York. In Secrets of Silicon Valley, entrepreneur and media commentator Deborah Perry Piscione takes us ...

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Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World

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Overview

While the global economy languishes, one place just keeps growing despite failing banks, uncertain markets, and high unemployment: Silicon Valley. In the last two years, more than 100 incubators have popped up there, and the number of angel investors has skyrocketed. Today, 40 percent of all venture capital investments in the United States come from Silicon Valley firms, compared to 10 percent from New York. In Secrets of Silicon Valley, entrepreneur and media commentator Deborah Perry Piscione takes us inside this vibrant ecosystem where meritocracy rules the day. She explores Silicon Valley's exceptionally risk-tolerant culture, and why it thrives despite the many laws that make California one of the worst states in the union for business.  Drawing on interviews with investors, entrepreneurs, and community leaders, as well as a host of case studies from Google to Paypal, Piscione argues that Silicon Valley’s unique culture is the best hope for the future of American prosperity and the global business community and offers lessons from the Valley to inspire reform in other communities and industries, from Washington, DC to Wall Street.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Piscione (Unfinished Business: A Democrat and a Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face), a former congressional and White House staffer, lobbyist, and political commentator, moved from Washington, D.C. to Silicon Valley, she experienced culture shock. Not only did she find the area welcoming, she discovered that Silicon Valley had a very distinct mindset characterized by networking, innovation, and an inimitable comfort with risk. She quickly assimilated, raising capital and launching three successful start-ups in six years. Piscione’s latest is less about how to get funding and succeed as an entrepreneur than it is about understanding how Silicon Valley ticks: the history of the area, including Stanford University’s profound influence on both technology and innovation, as well as profiles of industry leaders. The book succeeds in its mission to illustrate how Silicon Valley’s history and mindset have created an environment for success. Unfortunately, it is overly ambitious in its reach and toward the end borders on being a relocation guide, with several chapters discussing services like schools and restaurants, meeting places, and lifestyle. Nonetheless, Piscione offers a bird’s-eye view of one of the most exceptional economic ecosystems in the U.S., which is sure to interest entrepreneurs and leaders alike. Agent: Claudia Cross, Folio Literary Management. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

"A powerful combination of history, original reporting and anthropological observation, Secrets of Silicon Valley dares every politician in America — or better, the world — to not learn from Silicon Valley’s success and its continuous cycles of innovation. Perry Piscione pulls back the curtain for policymakers, revealing the answers we’ve all been waiting for."—Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

 

"A valuable glimpse of a mecca of innovation."—Kirkus Reviews

 

"Perry Piscione shows how Silicon Valley is a town that’s quite literally built on innovation. It’s all they do―innovation is the religion Silicon Valley believes in, the sport they play and the air they breathe. As a result, Secrets of Silicon Valley shows how living and working in Silicon Valley creates a culture that celebrates success like nowhere else."—Vijay Govindarajan, professor at Tuck at Dartmouth and author of NYT and WSJ Best Seller Reverse Innovation

Library Journal
When former congressional and White House staffer Piscione (Unfinished Business: A Democrat and a Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face) left her life in politics for the start-up community in Silicon Valley, she experienced culture shock that inspired her to write a cultural history of the companies and people south of the San Francisco Bay. The book’s early chapters explain how Stanford University and the development of semiconductors and the silicon chip industries attracted a more innovative type of company to the area. A solid portion of the work is devoted to exploring the entrepreneurial spirit of these businesses, with one chapter dedicated to the important venture capital firms that came out of Sand Hill Road. The author ends with an epilog that amplifies her main discovery: there is no way to replicate the culture of Silicon Valley.

Verdict Piscione’s focus on neighborhoods, tech celebrities, and popular restaurants limits the audience and may confuse those looking for insights into innovation. Readers might look to Robert X. Cringely’s Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date for more industry history.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
Solid overview of the world's "global innovation capital." Formerly a congressional staffer and lobbyist, Piscione moved to Silicon Valley seven years ago, started three media companies and became a zealous booster of the renowned high-tech region. In this brisk examination of the valley's "ecosystem and culture," she draws on interviews with innovators, venture capitalists and others to describe the genesis of this unusual creative hub, its main characteristics and how others can apply lessons learned there to innovative endeavors elsewhere. Named for the silicon-chip manufacturers who dominated the region in the 1970s, Silicon Valley is now the home for many leading global technology corporations (Apple, Google, etc.), which thrive in "a meritocratic culture that rewards innovative ideas, independent thinking, and hubris." Piscione considers the major factors behind the region's rise--Moffett Field, a former naval air station now owned by the NASA Ames Research Center; Stanford University, a force for innovation that has helped spawn 6,000 firms; the development of the electronics and semiconductor industries; and the availability of venture capital--the seminal roles of Stanford leader Frederick Terman and inventor William Shockley, and the convergence of engineers, scientists and people with an entrepreneurial mindset. Constantly adapting to new ideas, the region has long welcomed skilled immigrants--37 percent of the population is foreign-born, and most of those are from Asia. "Entrepreneurship is Silicon Valley's sport, its religion, and there is no greater place in the world to be an entrepreneur," writes Piscione. The author leaves few aspects of life in the valley unexamined; she even includes a rundown of hot spots like Buck's of Woodside, a restaurant where entrepreneurs and venture capitalists meet. A valuable glimpse of a mecca of innovation.
From the Publisher
“Piscione offers a bird’s-eye view of one of the most exceptional economic ecosystems in the U.S., which is sure to interest entrepreneurs and leaders alike.”—Publishers Weekly

"A valuable glimpse of a mecca of innovation."—Kirkus Reviews

“A mixture of captivating history and thought-provoking anecdotes. Perry Piscione gives you an appreciation for both the legends that built Silicon Valley and the visionaries who continue to reinvent it all over again."—Barbara Corcoran, investor, Co-host ABC Shark Tank

"Perry Piscione shows how innovation is the religion Silicon Valley believes in, the sport they play and the air they breathe.  Secrets of Silicon Valley shows how living and working in Silicon Valley creates a culture that celebrates success like nowhere else."—Vijay Govindarajan, professor at Tuck at Dartmouth and author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller Reverse Innovation

“A must read. Deborah Perry Piscione captures the importance of unregulated freedom and the societal pride around Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial heroes.”—Tim Draper, Founder & Managing Partner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson 

"A powerful combination of history, original reporting and anthropological observation, Perry Piscione dares every politician in America — or better, the world — to discover the  secrets of Silicon Valley’s success and its continuous cycles of innovation."—U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Middle East and South Asia

"Perry Piscione has opened a window into the great mystery of what moves Silicon Valley's engine. Every corporate executive, policymaker, and entrepreneur should take a peek into how this prolific community does its business."—Eric Dezenhall, CEO, Dezenhall Resources and author of Damage Control

"The only way to describe Jamis (perhaps Silicon Valley's version of Donald Trump) and how powerful Buck's restaurant is, is to share that on any given day it is the gathering of the most powerful venture capitalists to CEO's to the over 100 media outlets that visits per year to the foreign delegations who will hang out at Buck's for days to figure out how Silicon Valley works."—Jamis MacNiven, owner of Buck's restaurant, Woodside California

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230342118
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/2/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 957,453
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Deborah Perry Piscione is the creator of Alley to the Valley, an organization that networks the world’s most influential women for dealmaking, and BettyConfidential. Since moving to Silicon Valley from Washington DC, she has successfully founded three companies in six years. Piscione has served as a commentator on CNN and NPR, and has appeared as a guest on the Today show, Wolf Blitzer Reports, The O’Reilly Factor, Hardball with Chris Matthews, and Politically Incorrect, and has been a featured guest on PBS, BET, and NPR programs including The Tavis Smiley Show. Piscione has won numerous awards, including the 2009 Silicon Valley Women Business Owner of the Year, a Gracie Allen Award for her participation in a debate for NPR’s Justice Talking, and a distinguished award from The White House Project. She has been featured in leading women’s magazines such as Ladies’ Home Journal, and in newspapers including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News. She lives in Silicon Valley, California.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Brilliant insight into what makes Silicon Valley, the leading hu

    Brilliant insight into what makes Silicon Valley, the leading hub of high-tech innovation and development. At the core of the region’s success is a culture that is open, collaborative and risk tolerant that view traditional “failures” as future successes. Reading this fascinating book inspired me! 

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