May 28, 2008

Tom Wolfe on Mark Twain, Muhammad Ali and Silicon Valley

Interesting words from Tom Wolfe, many will find his commentary on Silicon Valley and its culture of rejecting the ostentatious ways of some other parts of the country (particularly New York and to some extent southern California) quite interesting, according to him there is a difference in the way silicon valley accumulates wealth,he also points out that though during the dotcom debacle Silicon Valley lost the most money, no financial scandal of the size of Enron or Adelphia ever came out of companies based out of this region.

In quoting himself from an article he wrote about Intel-founder Bob Noyce and the birth of Silicon Valley, he mentions how America might benefit by re-embracing Midwestern values such as self-reliance, hard work, discipline and decency. He also shares an anecdote about the Intel founder on how when the man with great ideas built his mansion with an Olympic size swimming pool and three tennis courts he made sure to have thick forestation as part of the property's landscaping not just to protect his privacy but more so that it doesn't become a vulgar display of wealth, he also pointed out that unlike those living on the East coast, where one likes to be driven or flown, the silicon valley culture allows you to buy expensive cars, only if you will drive it yourself, or even keep a company jet only if you will fly it yourself, you can hear all of it here, (Tom Wolfe starts speaking after 8 minutes).

I found this quite interesting as I just got back from San Francisco this morning, I can say that even though the real estate around that region is expensive so much that only millionaires can afford a decent place, I did notice a certain nice way in the attitudes of the locals, it may be due to the great weather, the beautiful scenery all around or just a few right rules of conducting ones life set by the people who first established silicon valley as the technology power house of the country I left San Francisco with a lot of pleasant memories, I think I wouldn't mind returning soon.