On "How to Be Silicon Valley", Part 2

Me outside Fry’s Electronics in Silicon Valley, circa 2000.

Time is short today, so I’m going to be brief with this “Silicon Valley” post…

Nearly a hundred comments so far: Paul Graham’s using the site as the comments section for his How to Be Silicon Valley essay, and he’s getting comments aplenty.

Ethan considers Canadian cities with a notable tech presence in the comments of this blog.

Memer suggests that “the one major missing piece (besides, potentially, cost of living) is the [lack of] perception of Toronto as a hip, liberal place to be.” I think this can and will happen — consider that in the 1950’s, you’d get arrested for playing a pick-up game of football on a Sunday. Nobody said a having a WASP heritage didn’t have a down-side.

An anonymous commenter says “I might be out of the loop, but I’m not really currently aware of any contending or ramping up Toronto start-ups that are generating buzz.” Of course, if this were the case, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion. What we do have are most, if not all, of the elements in place. In terms of the evolution of life on earth, we’ve got the “chemical soup” and there are thunderclaps nearby.

And finally, ideas we can steal from other Canadian cities with a strong tech presence in order to make Toronto a better tech hub:

  • Vancouver: London Drugs (late-night drug stores that are practically grocery stores and computer stores) and late-night coffee places.
  • Montreal: Night life, cafe culture and perhaps a little architecture.
  • Edmonton: Never been there, so I have no idea. I do know that they can put away a lot of beer.

6 replies on “On "How to Be Silicon Valley", Part 2”

Instead of a strategy of trying to have Toronto “acknowledged globally as one of the 5 most innovative, creative and productive locations in the world for ICT… ” ICT Toronto could actually do things that make it one and let the good news travel on its own. I hear this new fangled internet thing is pretty good at doing that sort of thing.

In this article Montreal beat Toronto out as the choice for new investment companies by providing incentives and tax relief as well as counting on its unique culture. Toronto can’t and shouldn’t try to compete against the latter, but it certainly could get caught up on the first two.

If you compare the City of Toronto’s own key industry cluster profiles for the Film & Television and ICT you can see that the ICT cluster profile doesn’t even have an incentives section. I’ll leave the argument for others that it doesn’t have a cluster development strategy one either.


There really is nothing to steal in Edmonton. I’ve lived there for 18 months and the only good thing I can say about the City of Edmonton is that you can get away from it… Really, that’s the only good thing about it.

At least you didn’t say beautiful 🙂

I always found it funny when people were telling me about the beautiful river vallery, personally I didn’t find it that beautiful, though it was nice to run along the river valley rather than running along Whyte etc.

Hey Joey, I was at Frys Electronics too a couple of days ago. Great place, and it’s big with lots of electronics and gadgets. A gadgets dream come true!

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