Having just visited my old stomping ground of San Francisco, its good to reflect on what’s going on in the tech universe.
Many things are brewing in Silicon Valley these days… questions over recent IPO valuations, the tech sector’s impact on the American economy and if the Valley is capable of maintaining its ranking as the tech innovation hub of the world.
Many of us are familiar with the iconic tech titans born and raised in the Valley – and if you need some reminding, check out the Computer History Museum the next time you’re passing through. But many of these giants of innovation are suffering due to the global economy with almost daily reminders in the press that share prices are dropping, earnings estimates are missed, and layoffs are on the horizon. This formula does not typically bode well for the spirit – nor the means needed – for quality R&D.
There are certainly still new companies cropping up in all sectors – from financial services to telco to healthcare. But as investment dollars more frequently move overseas, and Asian companies either innovate a go to market strategy or offer cheaper alternatives at similar quality, this next generation of tech hotbeds are sure to give rise to some healthy competition for the Valley. Even places closer to home such as New York are reportedly are going to give the Valley a run for its money. The old guard will need to compete as never before.
So is Australia in the running?
Many say the secret sauce of Silicon Valley was the confluence of top schools that produced top engineering talent, a healthy and at times robust economy, a slew of venture capital firms and funding from the Defence Department.
In Australia, there’s considerable disposable income, good universities and a government with a surplus. And there’s certainly enough mining millionaires who could be enticed to diversify. Australia has seen a fair share of tech companies reach international success, and it continues to produce home-grown successful garage startups. So, Australia, what’s holding you back, mate?