High-tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, Cisco, eBay, Pixar, and many other commonly known technology-based companies all call Silicon Valley home. In recent years, such groundbreaking advances as digital video recording and high speed wireless internet have been part of a non-stop stream of innovations that have facilitated a new way of life based on mobile and on-demand telecommunications capabilities. Other important advances have reshaped the way we utilize the internet, further integrating it into the normal course of our day-to-day existence. This extraordinary success not only devising hi-tech advances, but also bringing them to market in a wildly successful way, has rendered the Silicon Valley economy the envy of the world.
Web innovations have been the latest hot developments to come out of Silicon Valley. Levy and Stone (2006) maintain that innovative new websites such as MySpace and Flickr "are milestones in a new high-tech wave reminiscent of the craziness of the early dot-com days. This rebooting owes everything to the enhanced power and pervasiveness of the Web, which has finally matured to the point where it can fulfill some of the outlandish promises that we heard in the '90s." Some refer to this latest phase in the evolution of the internet as "Web 2.0." This new web generation holds great promise for a stream of innovative new solutions that will redefine the extent to which the internet is integrated into daily life. "Aided by faster broadband connections, consumers are using the web more than ever and are publishing their own content to it in droves. At the same time, the web is morphing into a platform for applications that once existed only on computers - such as marketing and customer support tools for businesses - and providing a new distribution for products" (Bazeley 2005).
The exuberance resulting from this success has certainly not come without cost. The 1990s produced a glut of dot-com start ups financed by huge sums of venture capital, leading to a growing economic bubble that finally burst after the turn of the millennium. This dot-com bust, as it has become known, resulted in a major economic recession from which the region has only recently begun to recover. Job losses were staggering. "Santa Clara county - which comprises San Jose and the corporate hubs of Cupertino and Palo Alto - has lost 231,000 jobs since the peak of the dot-com bubble in December 2000" (Konrad 2004). With up to 41% of Silicon Valley jobs residing within high-tech industries, a far higher percentage than any other region in the United States, it is clear to see why the bursting of the dot-com bubble wreaked havoc on the local job market (Pingkang 2003).
The upshot of this recession has been leaner companies, more selective venture capitalists, and a more reasonable real estate environment that has left the region better poised for sustained long term entrepreneurship and innovation than it has ever been. As Silicon Valley venture capitalist Roger McNamee asserts, "the Valley remains the world's preeminent entrepreneurial community, and its relative advantage is greater than it was at the peek of the bubble" (Not your Father's Silicon Valley 2004).
The economic phenomenon that is Silicon Valley has been the subject of much consideration by those who seek to identify its contributing factors and possibly reproduce its successful formula in other regions across the globe. Several reasons have