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The 2013 Silicon Valley Index shows that a surge of prosperity and the highest job growth
in a decade have lifted Silicon Valley from the depths of the great recession.
Russell Hancock: “The index is filled with good news. There’s tremendous employment
growth that’s being spread all over the Bay Area. It’s not localized in any one
place. It’s showing the astonishing emergence of San Francisco as a major technology hub.”
Emmett Carson : “We’re understanding that there is a corridor between San Francisco
to San Jose which serve as bookends for what is becoming the Silicon Valley Corridor and
that’s an important new development.”
The Silicon Valley Index -- discussed in great detail during the annual State of the Valley
Conference -- is packed with the latest data on trends in economic development, jobs, education,
public health, land use, environment, governance, arts and culture.
And for the first time The Index is available online at Silicon Valley Index -dot-org. However,
despite the good news ... The Index shows some troubling signs.
Russell Hancock : “This is a region where we actually have a growing divide between
people who are highly affluent and people who are struggling to get by. There’s a
rising number of people on food stamps. There’s a hollowing out of the middle class. So it’s
a good report, but there are many issues we have to continue grappling with.”
Emmett Carson: “We have to have courageous conversations to acknowledge that notwithstanding
the growth that we have people are being left behind so we need to think through how to
we intentionally make sure that everyone participates commensurate with their skills and abilities.”
Joint Venture Silicon Valley and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation sponsor the town
hall-style conference drawing more than one-thousand regional leaders from the business, government
and nonprofit worlds.
This year, the Index’s Special Analysis section focuses on the growth of tech companies
and jobs in San Francisco -- raising an important question about the Bay Area as a region.
Russell Hancock : “Is it time for the Bay Area to start taking more regional approaches
to its planning and decision making?”
To help answer the question -- technology forecasters Tim O’Reilly and Paul Saffo
were invited to speak about how the Bay Area can successfully manage its growth as one
O’Reilly -- founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media -- discussed the value of cooperation
and the urgency of bringing the latest technologies to local governments.
Tim O’Reilly: “Because government is, at bottom, a mechanism for cooperation. When
we let government be dominated by political interests by a cartel of big vendors who are
trying to profit at the expense of the taxpayer -- and not harnessing the latest technology
government will fall behind.”
Saffo, the managing director of Foresight at Discern Analytics, explained why it’s
time for the Bay Area to think like a city state ... such as Hong Kong ... Dubai ... and
Paul Saffo: “It’s an entity big enough to have a global impact -- think of the impact
Silicon Valley has had on the rest of the world ... Google, Apple ... everything, but
also small enough that everybody who live here knows how they fit in and what their
role is and we have a common sense of purpose. So we need to be explicit about thinking about
ourselves as a city state.”
Keynote presenter -- journalist James Fallows -- said despite the rise of China as global
economic power ... the U.S. will continue to lead the world, because its own challenges
are relatively modest.
James Fallows: “Anybody in this room with one hour looking at federal expenditure sheets
could say okay here’s how we put the federal budget back on a more sustainable track. We
have modest problems of our public financing, whether we’ll ever fix them is a whole different
matter, but at least they are modest compared to China’s environmental problem or Japan’s
problem of having its population shrink by half over a century.”
And this year Joint Venture Silicon Valley presented the annual David Packard Award to
Lenny Mendonca of McKinsey and Company for his multi-faceted contributions to the region.
Ted Lempert: “There is no one who is a better connecter, better leader for our region and
someone who devotes so much of his personal and professional time to making sure this
is a better region, better state and better to live in -- truly an extraordinary individual.”
To learn more about the state of Silicon Valley and to join the conversation about regional
solutions to the Bay Area’s biggest challenges go to Silicon Valley Index-dot-org.