CliffsNotes on the Silicon ...


The Silicon Valley Index from Joint Venture Silicon Valley leaves no byte unturned.

For those who don’t have the time to wade through 100 action-packed pages, I offer the CliffsNotes, filtered by 25+ years of living in Silicon Valley.

Silicon Valley is Larger Than Rhode Island

Taking in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, Fremont, Newark, Union City and Scotts Valley, Silicon Valley comes in at 1,854 square miles compared to Rhode Island at 1,212 square miles.

And one could make an argument that San Francisco also belongs under the Silicon Valley umbrella.

Selfishly, we’re pleased that today’s definitions and perceptions include Fremont (client) as part of Silicon Valley.

map of Silicon Valley

Nothing Is More American Than Non-Americans Pursuing the American Dream

They used to arrive at Ellis Island.

Today, a larger percent of immigrants pursue their dreams in Silicon Valley. As discussed in a post last week, the secret sauce behind Silicon Valley is foreign talent. Out of roughly 3 million people in Silicon Valley, 37 percent were born outside the U.S.

foreign born pie chart

I also suspect the influx of immigrants serves as a counter balance to the declining birth rate in Silicon Valley.

Chart of births in CA and Bay Area

This is Not What a Bubble Looks Like

Job creation in Silicon Valley has enjoyed an impressive climb since 2010, but you don’t see the wild gyrations that accompanied dot-com mania.

Job growth chart

To borrow from Isaac Newton, “What goes up must come down.” We will eventually see a downturn in the Silicon Valley economy. It just won’t happen in 2017 unless the White House decides to target Silicon Valley with a half-baked policy.

It’s revealing to see job growth broken down over longer periods of time and the numbers cut by geography.

realative job growth chart

Technology is generating the job growth in San Francisco, the logic in defining Silicon Valley to include San Francisco.

Venture Capitalists Have Cast Their Vote

More money is poured into Silicon Valley than any other place in the world.

By far.

venture capital investment chart

That’s a big part of why Americans as well as immigrants perceive Silicon Valley as the place where innovation happens, becoming a self-virtuous cycle.

The brightest minds from around the world gravitate to Silicon Valley because that’s where their ideas are most likely to be funded.

Venture capitalists continue to emphasize Silicon Valley because of the concentration of brainpower.

Rinse and repeat.

One more observation on venture capital —

Check out the breakdown by industry:

venture capital by industry chart

Investment in the semiconductor sector has shriveled to next to nothing.

Turning Back the Clock to the Dot-com Meltdown

No question, it’s expensive to do business in Silicon Valley.

But let’s not forget the insanity of 2000 when millions were pumped into selling dog food online and charging 7 bucks per square foot (on average) for office space.

annual average asking rents chart

Road Gridlock

In short, a large number of folks in Silicon Valley drive a long way to work.

residents who commute chart

Translating these numbers, the TomTom Traffic Index came out last week with the sobering statistic that drivers in the San Jose metro area faced 144 hours’ worth of congestion-related delays in 2016. That’s a gnarly jump from the 92 hours in 2014.

For those who adhere to the belief that the glass is half full, it’s better than Los Angeles.

If the CliffsNotes have you hankering for more, you can find the full-blown Silicon Valley index here.

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