Billy Holiday, the Masters and HBO

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Oh No – when i first heard about this I was both excited and worried.  Finally, someone will capture the ephemeral essence of silicon valley – a place that most of my relatives still don’t realize encompasses San Jose (thank you very much), the Peninsula, San Francisco, Oakland and then the surrounding sprawl.

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3 sister-cities but all very distinct

In fact truth be told – San Jose is the hot bed of it all and perhaps the better section of it (although I’m just waiting for someone to re-develop the Oakland skyline – that’s a gold mine) – more affordable (if there is such a thing) place to live.  I’ve lived in NYC, DC, Austin and Boston – in cities and small quaint neighborhoods – there’s no place like here even though it’s very un-assuming at first.  I mean – the native architecture is a little “menh.”

But it is the weather that makes this the northern cousin of the Happiest Place on Earth (Santa Barbara/San Luis Obispo/Paso Robels).  Happy cows make happy cheese – right?

And way back when – before Fairchild and Intel and before the World Wars that turned this area into the fruit cannery for the world – way back this was a virtual paradise – a sleep bedroom community that literally evoked images from the song “Do You Know the Way to San Jose?”

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From paradise to circuit boards and 1s and 0s. ET phone home.

If there is anything anyone knows about San Jose and Silicon Valley is that is a place that’s in what we call “lava formation” much like the tectonic size companies it’s birthed in quick succession from nobodies like Netscape that become superstars like AOL only to fade out – to ongoing giant whales like Microsoft to newcomer Goliath killers like Facebook and a fresh bevy of start-ups in the past few years that remind me of the mid 1990s – when i first came out.  It’s never the same place year to year it seems but there is a fundamental them that makes this place unique and that makes it attract and retain perhaps the highest per capita percentage of the world’s brightest most adventurous and innovative people per square foot.  

The people here are not complacent or stereotypical and I hope HBO stays true to that at least.

I hope HBO does not turn this into Facebook movie in TV series format and try to just focus on the geeky soon-to-be millionaire and the wall street-meets-fanatic engineer-genius aspect of the valley.  I hope they provide a glimpse of many of the unsung heroes – like the product marketers and the strategists and the folks who work to make something out of thin air using tools like email that only existed for less than a decade on applications that just came off the product line.  I hope they show just how future thinking this place is and how the inventions here really are Star Trek worthy.  I hope they also capture the insane “Office Space” like nature of it and the egos that come that are not so much team-player like.  I also hope the show the risk of loss and the under belly that is not too dissimilar to what happens when one risks it all in Vegas.  With every tide of advancement there is a lot of road kill in ideas and dreamers and people and lives along the way.

The speed of change here is daunting and fantastic.  And I find people back east don’t get it and can’t get it.

And, wrongly so – they think every one out here is a Ya-hoo! Or lazy. Or somehow now traditional. At least -that’s been my impression.

And yes – there are many newer cultures here.  Asia represents in spades now unlike just 20 years ago when it was a safe haven for the middle-aged middle-class white male – the IT guy here was the Detroit mechanic of yester year.  He could make a good living with a reasonable education and maybe even strike it modestly rich is he applied himself.  If he bought his home in the 60s all the better.  He saw an percentage increase in home values the likes of which many generations will never see again.  

But I just hope HBO focuses on some other aspect that makes this place great like:

  • the beauty and majesty of the nature all around
  • the laid back but highly intelligent attitude – they very very smartness of the place
  • the huge diversity
  • San Josians don’t honk their cars at all
  • Nature is your other room and nature is friendly
  • we’re not all geeks – there is a lot of imagination and creativity here
  • there is so much more that is cooler than Google or Facebook
  • Silicon Valley includes San Jose, Gilroy, Willow Glen, Oakland, Santa Cruz
  • The great golfing that is available all around here – of course
  • And great stuff like KCSM – the best Jazz station I think in the world.
  • Stuff like that
  • Our locavore – great food and wine.
  • How non-east coast it is and used to be

How it was not originally a world meant for MBAs originally and how the early – 1st generation start-ups had more democratic employee behaviors – no tiers/no levels.  true horizontal.  Today – it’s much less so – I think.

How most people work here NOT for the money but for an idea

How the future generations here will be a model for what’s best in this country

Stuff like that.

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a great local paper

We’ll see – I’ll keep writing about it.  It’s all very exciting.  I think Silicon Valley is poised to become the next Manhattan of our century.

But – first things first – the Masters.  I need to learn myself some history on this.

Also – I completed my first week of 2-day training on the course in preparation for this friday.  I have my golf club card and I’ll report on how I did.  Bottom line – I’m getting there with my new 3-wood and 7 iron.  I’m pleased with my progress.

Not so pleased lately with my chip shot – go figure.

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why is it so hard to figure this out?

 

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