Silicon Valley is About Networking at its Finest
Silicon Valley is about process and networking at its finest. On the process side, venture capital networks can be used to transform the ordinary. This is really no different from what Thomas Edison did more than a hundred years ago. Edison would pinpoint areas where innovation was possible and percolating, then piece together pre-existing inventions and ideas to push technology forward with a usable device. The light bulb is a perfect example, a device based on previous designs for something everyone was pursuing. Edison just managed to put it all together and take the credit.
That is what many companies are accomplishing, linking existing ideas and products with innovation in design and usage to create a new technology. In such a world, it is not just your idea that matters, but being at the center of the innovation network. While the founders of entrepreneurial companies may have their own good idea, many are now incrementally built on existing ones.
Many of Silicon Valley’s success show that venture capital has the potential to turn the ordinary into multibillion-dollar businesses. This is nothing new, but it may reflect the future as the best venture capital firms move further afield from the Internet, the old V.C. stamping ground.
The future of venture capital and Silicon Valley may be more like Edison’s laboratory, looking for the innovation in ordinary tasks and doing so based on leveraging pre-existing ideas and products. This is a world where the haves are likely to continue their extraordinary run, armed with the tools to succeed. Innovation will come from the princelings of the Silicon Valley hierarchy, as successful entrepreneurs will already have the resources to make these breakthroughs. The bigger lesson is likely to be the more lasting. Silicon Valley’s future may not lie in being enchanted about the newest social networking start-up. It’s more likely to be in the simple and ordinary. It’s about spotting the everyday problems and providing solutions that leverage on venture capital’s networking and operational skills, not to mention its knack for spotting someone else’s good idea. In this situation, Silicon Valley will become less about the dreamers and more about the marketers, the connected and the everyday.