Paying It Forward: Silicon Valley's Secret to Success
Silcon Valley is noted for its remarkable innovation, and is often copied by other global cities and regions in attempts to follow in its success. The fact that most other places have failed to ignite significant growth or innovation despite major initiatives, grants, and infrastructure building has shown policy makers that there is more to growing the next Silicon Valley than simple investment. It may be no major surprise that culture is one of the major keys: Besides the raw ingredients of talent, technology, and capital, there are a number of behavioral factors that turn out to be critical to a region creating major innovation. One of these factors is the idea that helping others, even potential competitors, is a good (and even natural) thing to do. In Silicon Valley, this is often called “Paying It Forward”, and it is a major reason for the success of many startups.
In The Early Days:
Fairchild Semiconductor, a pioneer in electronics manufacturing in the 1960s, is widely regarded as the first major Silicon Valley success story. Jon Schroeder was one of the original employees at Fairchild, and relates a very peculiar story of how things worked in Silicon Valley back then:
“We would often be in the lab working and get a call from one of our competitors across town- they would have some kind of problem, and they would ask for help. We would drop what we were doing, load up our equipment in our cars, and drive to their lab and lend a hand. We would work all night if we had to, and fix the problem. We would figure it out and then everybody would head to The Wagon Wheel to get breakfast together. The next day we were all back at work at our respective companies. That was the way it worked back then, we were all in it together.”
“Paying it forward” is an implicit feature of the culture. >>More here