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Can the UK Create Something To Rival Silicon Valley?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the why-not-favorable-conditions-everywhere? dept.

Businesses 395

An anonymous reader writes "Hoping to bring together ambition, creativity and energy in one place, the UK government hopes to grow East London so that we can benefit from the same sort of success that has been seen in California; jobs, tax revenue, highly skilled workers and takeovers. If it works, the country would massively benefit, with something to rival other established industries."

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395 comments

No (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180297)

I meant Nawww!

Re:No (3, Funny)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180669)

No, because UK doesn't have Al Gore.

Re:No (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180855)

No, because UK doesn't have Al Gore.

No but they have Tony Blair, and he's teflon coated, Al Gore only has hairspray and makeup.

Americanisms (2, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180301)

I don't want to be pedantic but in the UK it would be called Silicon Football, not Valley.

Re:Americanisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180451)

Fine. How about Silicon Squire? You limeys have a lot to learn from America if you want to be the next 'Silicon Valley'.

Re:Americanisms (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180795)

more like sillycun

GMail fail... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180305)

1% full
Using 0.2 GB of your 10 GB

Huh?????

its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (0)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180313)

california has them, other states not so much

get your government to pass HUGE tax credits and other corporate welfare and watch it happen

Re:its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (4, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180609)

Also, no non-compete contracts.

If there are enforced non-compete contracts then there will be no community of individuals to hire to create a "Silicon Valley".

Re:its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (1)

hackula (2596247) | about a year and a half ago | (#41181009)

Do people in the UK regularly sign non-competes? They exist in the US, of course, but I do not know a single person that would ever actually sign one (unless they will pay you full salary while you are off the market).

Re:its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180689)

Of course, that also means that in the end, yes, you have a lot of high tech industry around, but it eventually costs you more in subsidiaries and kickbacks than you get in tax revenue.

Hint: Cali is broke.

Re:its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (4, Insightful)

jmauro (32523) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180825)

California is broke because of Prop 13. It basically cut out from under it the main funding mechanism for the state government property taxes and then put severe limitations on how the state could raise funds through other mechanisms by making any tax increase in other categories like sales tax or income tax too difficult to enact. As such the previous high-tax/high-service government that Californians enjoyed became unstainable.

Additionally, due to the initiative system the state has almost no control over it's finances. Something like 70% of the budget is mandated spending by initiatives, with a large portion of the remaining 30% either things you have to spend money on like police, or required via Federal funds. It's why to pass a budget every year they always need to resort to some tricks. And with the requirement that they need 2/3rds majority to pass any budget, instead of 50%+1 like every other state in the union, means the minority party has no interest to negotiate.

Re:its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180829)

Idiot. CA is not broke because of tax breaks given to business. Do you actually believe this? Show me some proof genius. Facts, references, do you understand? You cannot.

They are broke due to out of control spending. Just like the rest of the country only they are in the lead.

Re:its called HUGE tax breaks for R&D (3, Informative)

Xenkar (580240) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180917)

I thought California is broke because people can vote for propositions while simultaneously voting against any measures to fund said propositions. The general fund isn't an unlimited source of free money.

Can they? (0, Troll)

Herkum01 (592704) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180329)

Can England gather together a bunch of self righteous, self absorbed a**holes that will hop from one company to another hoping to strike it obscenely rich?

I guess would you really want too?

Re:Can they? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180505)

Can England gather together a bunch of self righteous, self absorbed a**holes that will hop from one company to another hoping to strike it obscenely rich?

Were you asleep in civics class when they discussed the British East India Company?

Re:Can they? (3, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180707)

You don't need civics class for that now. You can learn all about it with Johnny Depp in their wonderfully instructive series Pirates of the Caribbean.

Re:Can they? (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180903)

I guess I must have missed something.

So you are saying that the British East India Company was a conglomeration of private businesses with employees constantly jumping ship from one private business to the next?

That sounds closer to Lloyds of London rather than the British East India Company.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lloyd's_of_London [wikipedia.org]

Re:Can they? (2)

cream wobbly (1102689) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180973)

It was called "Humanities" and no, they didn't discuss it.

They did discuss the birth of railways, which similarly, did not happen in London. What was glossed over was the fact that railways only really got global attention and were thus able to spread to other countries very quickly due to the death of a politician during the Rainhill Trials.

If microcomputers were big and heavy in the 80s, maybe Thatcher could have stood in the way of one. It would have prevented her from ruining the business climate for British semiconductor companies attempting to compete with the French and the Americans.

Besides, I can't help thinking that London would only attempt to compete with Silicon Glen if Englandandwales supports Scotland's devolution.

Re:Can they? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180511)

We already have a financial centre, so what do you think?

Re:Can they? (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180817)

I think that Silicon Valley and innovation these days mostly means software development and services on the Internet, and not so much hardware devices and operating system.

I also wonder why technologically minded people would want to move to a place and innovate when you get arrested for a tweet. Now before +Troll, think about it for a second. Most people responsible for innovation these days don't like regulations constraining the Internet, and certainly not regulations and laws that get users thrown in jail.

The UK truly is a pit of shit right now as far the Internet, freedom, privacy, freedom of speech, etc. is concerned. Not exactly attractive to most of the talent in the rest of the world. If you are already there you are just making the best of it.

Re:Can they? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180939)

You can get arrested for statements you make on the Internet in the U.S. Just post a death threat about Obama or post a bomb threat while using your real name and see how fast to takes for the Secret Service and/or police to come viist you.

Re:Can they? (1)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180649)

that will hop from one company to another hoping to strike it obscenely rich?

Depends on how liberally their Restraint of Trade clauses are interpreted.

Re:Can they? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180719)

Aren't these bastards currently 'round the corner in Ireland where the same was tried a while ago? And as we all know, Ireland is the financial center of Europe with vast amounts of capital surplus.

Assange (5, Insightful)

bradclarke77 (1900464) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180351)

A good start would be not offering to arrest and deport people who broke no law in your country.

Re:Assange (1, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180783)

Not sure why this is being labeled as offtopic, it is a legitimate concern.

Re:Assange (1, Offtopic)

hackula (2596247) | about a year and a half ago | (#41181043)

This is legitimate like not going to San Fran to avoid seal attacks is legitimate.

Old joke. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180353)

The UK doesn't have any PC manufactures.. ..Because they have not yet found a way to make PCs leak oil.

No. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180355)

Look at what happened with the Raspberry Pi, import taxes pretty much sunk any possibility of building it in the UK.

Re:No. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180839)

"Silicon Valley", especially the sort of latter-day web 2.0 Social bullshit that people seem interested in these days, isn't exactly a manufacturing-heavy operation...

But actually living in London is a challenge (5, Interesting)

Quakeulf (2650167) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180357)

I am one of those people who came to the UK to jump form a successful startup (Playfish) to another successful startup (Plumbee), but my main problem is finding a place to stay that works out. I want a place that is: - Close to the office - Got decent standards - Is affordable - I can have for a long term In London I can only choose two from that list. Then there are extremely greedy landlords and sleazy estate agents that will only want to fool you of your money in a not so well regulated business. This is practically making it impossible for me to be able to save up money and continue to do my job here, and is the main reason for me wanting to move away from London as soon as possible and leave this wreck of a housing market behind.

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180463)

That's interesting.That's interesting.

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180475)

Sounds exactly like San Francisco, but at least there's the Tenancy Deposit Scheme in London.

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (4, Informative)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180529)

As expensive as the Bay Area is relative to the rest of the country, it still pales in comparison to nice areas of London.

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180751)

Yeah, London is pretty ridiculous, there aren't many cities in the world where you must be a millionaire just to own any sort of property.
Even a one bed apartment in London costs £750k (~$1m).

You need to be either really wealthy to afford rent/mortgage or really poor and on benefits. Anyone in between (the 80% in the middle) is screwed.

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180633)

London? Who wants to live in London? It's a fucking dump!

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180747)

Yes, but it beats spending 2 hours a day in the subway traveling to and from work.

If you don't like the tubes, you may as well use your car and travel 4 hours per day...

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180889)

I want a place that is: - Close to the office - Got decent standards - Is affordable - I can have for a long term In London I can only choose two from that list.

Oh please! That problem is as ancient as civilization has been recorded. You simply want what everyone else wants. It doesn't matter if it's Rome, Shanghai, Houston, NewYork, Paris...etc. It's fits right along with Cheaper-Faster-Better. You can only pick two.

Re:But actually living in London is a challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180915)

Sounds identical to NYC. Sure, you can find a place that's greater than 250 square feet and less than $2,000 per month - but you'll have to commute 45 minutes or more each way. Your rent will still be ridiculous, and your apartment still tiny and infested with roaches and mice. It just won't be quite as expensive or tiny as it would be if you actually lived close to work.

A new wild west (3, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180393)

What we actually need is a new "wild west". A place where there are no artificial restrictions like patents, lawyers and what not so that innovation can flourish.

Re:A new wild west (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180437)

You mean like china, where all of those problems can disappear for a big enough wad of cash.

Re:A new wild west (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180563)

What we actually need is a new "wild west"

That's called Asia. The place to which western capital is evacuating.

All East London needs is an Environmentalist Free Zone and enough tax breaks and I suppose a few tentative foundries might appear. I'm not holding my breath.

Not being from the UK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180395)

Not being from the UK, I'm given to understand that the regulations on employment and tax structure is much less favorable to starting up a business there than it is in the United States. (Whether that, especially the former, is a good thing is an open question.) Even with the support and incentives mentioned in the blog posting, it's hard to see how they would create a SV like environment without that. Would anyone from the UK care to chime in?

Re:Not being from the UK (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180655)

Not being from the UK, I'm given to understand that the regulations on employment and tax structure is much less favorable to starting up a business there than it is in the United States. (Whether that, especially the former, is a good thing is an open question.) Even with the support and incentives mentioned in the blog posting, it's hard to see how they would create a SV like environment without that. Would anyone from the UK care to chime in?

Well one thing UK employers don't have to worry about is the health care of their employees. They don't have to deal with the endless mountain of paperwork going back and forth between patients and health insurance companies like they do in America.

It depends (0)

DickBreath (207180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180403)

How much innovation hindering intellectual property (eg Eye Pee) does the UK have?

Software patents? Business method patents? Patents on rectangles with round corners?

Stillborn (4, Insightful)

udachny (2454394) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180409)

the UK government hopes to grow East London so that we can benefit from the same sort of success that has been seen in California;

- DOA, just like Russian version of Silicon Valley (Skolkovo).

That is unless the government in UK is planning to get rid of regulations, taxes, labour laws and inflation of-course.

Re:Stillborn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180697)

I think every other state in the US has at one point or another tried to 'make another silicon valley'. Most fail. Some have managed to create small 'business centers' but that is about it.

It was a strange combination of 'hackers' (makers now), large businesses who had tons of talent, a good dose of luck, money, opportunity, and at the time lax laws. Remove any one of those and the whole thing will not start.

In my opinion the 'hacker' part played a large part in starting to make it into what it is now. As it was the pool of initial talent that wanted it to succeed. However remove any of the other ingredients and it does not work. Many other parts of the country people were doing similar things. Yet very few had anything that was close. Eventually it became *the* place to be as everyone else gravitated to it.

You know what will kill it? High property values and taxes. As you can not start a business if you can not even afford the garage you park your car in, unless you get very lucky and have a good opportunity. As when you are starting out you have basically 0.

The only other place I know of off the top of my head that has a chance of pulling off another silicon valley is maybe Austin.

Re:Stillborn (3, Insightful)

cyphercell (843398) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180815)

You forgot Berkley which contributed both Unix and of course LSD.

Re:Stillborn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180891)

Berkley which contributed ... LSD.

Is this the *REAL* BSD I've been missing out on all of these years???

Why not in Cambridge? (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180413)

Why not try to do it in Cambridge? It's already a major technology cluster, better invest there than to try to recreate something from scratch...

Re:Why not in Cambridge? (2, Informative)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180659)

That wouldn't displace enough poor people.

Re:Why not in Cambridge? (4, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41181031)

Nottingham has tried it several times already.

Highfields Science Park began as, and is still, a niche research facility owned and administered by the University of Nottingham. Its original commercial intent was as a supportive facility for tech startups.
The Lace Market quarter was renovated and equipped with facilities aimed at Dotcom startups. Failed. Most of the units now sit unused and unoccupied, and almost entirely owned by New College Nottingham and now used mainly for storage.
The Howitt Building was renovated much as the Lace Market was, as a springboard for tech companies. Has never had more than 25% occupancy. Owned and run as a secured building by the City Council, with the accompanying extortionate office rents.
The Island Business Park is currently occupied by the BBC, Experian, Capital One and the NHS. Little else, more than half the site is still undeveloped.

We're talking about the place where electron microscopes, CAT scanners, and several more of the most amazing medtech breakthroughs in history have been made. *Nobody* is interested in setting up shop there except Boots, Capital One, Experian and Games Workshop?? Makes me wonder why...

Re:Why not in Cambridge? (3, Insightful)

mickwd (196449) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180831)

Indeed. The area around Cambridge has also been known as "Silicon Fen".

Or what about somewhere like Manchester - a big city with an important place in the history of computing, a large, well-regarded university, and a large pool of experienced, well-qualified people?

But no, once again it seems to be London that gets the attention.

This seems to be old... (1)

iONiUM (530420) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180453)

The first sentence of that article is "With the Olympics about to get underway"...

Why is such an old article coming up?

Re:This seems to be old... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180651)

2012 Summer Paralympics

Really? (4, Insightful)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180459)

"same sort of success that has been seen in California; jobs, tax revenue, highly skilled workers and takeovers."

What is the author smoking. California currently has $380 billion in devt [usdebtclock.org] and a 10.8% unemployment rate [google.com] . I would call that far from being successful.

If I were the UK, I would not want to model anything after California

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180599)

I dunno. If the goal is to 'balance' a budget on the back of the rich, expecting a 30% year-over-year growth in personal income tax (look it up in the budget projections), while using gimmicks such as borrowing against next years tax receipts by increasing this years personal income tax withholdings, then I say GO FOR IT!

Re:Really? (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180611)

If I were the UK, I would not want to model anything after California.

Anything modeled after California is known to cause cancer in the State of California. But only slightly more seriously, there's a subtle distinction between comparing what happened in California with what happened to California. The company with the largest market capitalization of any on earth is located there. Ten years ago, The Company Which Must Not Be Named was barely a blip on anyone's radar. There are many success stories to come out of Silicon Valley, and understandably, many business-minded folks would like to replicate that success.

Unfortunately, they're suffering from a massive case of survivor bias [wikipedia.org] . It's true that silicon valley has birthed some of the largest, most successful tech firms out there. It's also true that the valley is littered with the corpses of failure. During the dot com bust, companies were erecting fences to keep creditors from repossessing the cars out of company lots. Silicon Valley's success story should be likened to another California success story: The California gold rush [wikipedia.org] . You can't discuss success without also discussing the odds of failure.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180631)

What is the author smoking. California currently has $380 billion in devt and a 10.8% unemployment rate. I would call that far from being successful.

Back in its hayday it was successful.

Yes, nowadays, not so much, but people like to remember its more successful time and ignore, and some people actively defend, California's current economic woes.

Re:Really? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180737)

If I were the UK, I would not want to model anything after California

Come on. Maybe the weather. Or the food.

Re:Really? (1)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180767)

Touche.... The weather in the Central Coast area would be great to replicate. Not so much the Central Valley, LA, or the desert.

Re:Really? (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180847)

It also has a GDP [wikipedia.org] nearly that of the UK, despite having 25 million less inhabitants. To compare, the UK is £1,278.2 billion in debt [wikipedia.org] with an unemployment rate of 8%. Tech is also a growth industry which the UK needs since it is now too dependent on financial services, a sector that hasn't been doing especially well. That said I don't think this scheme will succeed but you can see why they would want it to.

Is Silicon Valley Worth Imitating? (3, Interesting)

dorpus (636554) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180545)

The vast majority of SV ventures have been expensive failures. It's essentially a welfare economy subsidized by venture capitalists who prey on the ignorance of non-technical investors. The rare ventures that succeed tend to move out of SV. The vast majority of SV workers never get rich; they move elsewhere when they are past age 30 and are no longer welcome. SV puts out its hype about the virtues of "hard work", "two men in a garage", and "no government" -- though in reality, it's about knowing the right people, being in the right place at the right time, and making most of their money from government contracts. Most scientific advances happen outside of SV, and most successful high-tech businesses are based outside of SV. I would say that SV is just a mysique created by the banking industry.

The future of high-tech leans toward medicine. SV is not strong in medicine; they just have bubbly biotech start-ups that typically disappear within a year. The successful high-tech business of the future will depend more on interactions with non-IT people, but SV's homogeneous population places it at a disadvantage there. SV does not have large numbers of health care professionals, industrial technicians, or other types who would provide valuable input.

They did it already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180555)

They did this [wikipedia.org] a long time ago.

What? Fictional places don't count? Are you suggesting Silicon Valley isn't fictional???

Stop at "gov't" (1)

whitelabrat (469237) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180579)

Government? Really? Mmmmm. No.

Re:Stop at "gov't" (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180691)

Government? Really? Mmmmm. No.

Care to expand on that?

Re:Stop at "gov't" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180913)

Expanding is the government's job, not his.

Re:Stop at "gov't" (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180935)

Government? Really? Mmmmm. No.

I, for one, certainly remember the part where Silicon Valley's habit of sucking at the trough of massive defense spending and an excellent state university system doomed it to soviet-style stagnation and decay...

Uk has better workers rights (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180589)

So they can't pull the 80 hour work weeks or useing temps as full time long term in place of employees.

It's called "The City" (2)

Tester (591) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180627)

Different places have different specialties.. And when a place attracts lots of people who know something, it becomes a pole for that thing, generates high salaries in that field, and make life very expensive for everyone else. Silicon Valley, Bangalore, etc do high tech. New York, London, Hong Kong do banking. You can't have all of them. And I doubt a small-ish country like the UK can have many of them. The US can afford to have New York and Silicon Valley because they're very very far appart. The City is just too close to East London (or even Cambridge) to make them separate markets, meaning that old humid houses are still terribly expensive and no one in their right minds would want to move there unless they are made tons and tons of money.

It's a pointless question. (3, Insightful)

7-Vodka (195504) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180665)

It's a pointless question. Let me explain:

Theoretically, the UK could try to accomplish this. The main barrier preventing any type of industry from flourishing in the UK is the obscenely high effective tax rate on human activity. (please give this typical figures, maybe in percentage if you're more familiar Brits)

The UK could then make an attempt to relieve a certain location and industry of these high taxation burdens to have the locus flourish.

The problem is that while this is a good move and should be applauded, simply cutting taxation on human activity without cutting the corresponding government spending doesn't solve much. The spending has to be paid for somehow, whether that is immediately by confiscating funds from other people and locations or somewhat delayed by building deficits and inflating the fiat money supply and thereby causing the mis-allocation of resources and bigger busts and recessions or depressions, people will continue to pay the piper.

The only sure way to encourage industry to flourish is to cut regulation and cut government taxation and spending. Remember, most government taxation is appropriating funds from a more effective use determined by the market, and instead putting them to less effective use as determined by bureaucrats.

Re:It's a pointless question. (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180909)

...cut regulation and cut government taxation and spending

Then you can have Silicon Road Warrior:
"Greetings from The Humungus! The Lord Humungus! The Warrior of the Wasteland! The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla!"

Short answer = no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180701)

People with options like living in nice places.

The weather in the UK is awful more often than not.

This alone would be enough to keep most people away.

And the nanny state tendencies of the wonderfully fascist UK
government ought to take care of most of the rest.

The UK is a shithole. They are now losers riding on their former reputation,
fast becoming a model for how to create a police state in the English speaking world.

But the sun has most definitely set, permanently, on the British Empire.

The boat sailed... (4, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180711)

The boat sailed on a Silicon Valley workalike about 25 years ago. What with all the tech patents, software patents, business model patents, and patent trolls sewing up innovation unless you're already IBM, Microsoft, or Apple, you won't be able to innovate and defend anything What are they thinking, incubate and develop the next Facebook? The next PayPal? TechLawyers.com?

Re:The boat sailed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180861)

As someone pointed out in one of the Apple-hate threads the other day... the patent lawsuits are far from new, it's just the first that many of you have ever seen them. Just like with young voters, they feel that the administration they live under today is either the best or the worst. Most of it is just the fact that it's the only administration they know and depending on how their lives are going determines on how they view the government.

HOW ABOUT SOME GENERAL DENISTRY FIRST !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180717)

A toothless grin makes your Brits seems awfully LOW-TECH so first things first !!

LOL. Good luck with that. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180745)

Only in America is the market free enough to sustain innovation at the level of an Apple or a Microsoft. Socialistic countries like the UK simply cannot work efficiently to produce anything of any real value. The UK lost its car industry, the UK lost the computer industry, the UK lost EVERYTHING to socialism. That is yet another reason to vote for Mitt Romney, because we do not want to become a shit hole the way socialist europe has.

Romney/Ryan 2012. Take back America.

Forgot one key ingredient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180749)

Ambition, creativity and energy are great, but without copious amounts of financing it's all pretty worthless.

Re:Forgot one key ingredient (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41181053)

The UK certainly does have that. Not necessarily a good thing; but the City proper is home to more financial shenanigans than virtually anywhere else...

Many things coming together (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180763)

A lot of things have to come together to create a 'Silicon Valley'. 1. You need a university center of excellence (like Stanford University) that actively promotes the high technology business. They have (or at least had) leases on land in the Santa Clara Valley, and offered good rates to fledgeling technology companies. 2. You have to have an entrepreneurial spirit: this isn't some 'I just graduated from business school, now I want my million dollars' boob, you need someone who has an idea or a set of ideas, are willing to put in time and effort developing those ideas, and create things that people want. Some of that spirit comes from being highly creative, almost artsy, and that's a trillion light years from any business school 'follow the leader' types. 3. You need financial backing from people who can see things in the long term. All countries have banks, but most have banks that turn tail and run at the first sign of trouble. They don't want to backstop people for the long term. They are good at providing money when the company doesn't need very much (when the sun is shining they offer umbrellas), but then it turns cloudy or starts to rain, they want their money (umbrella) back. Many other countries have centres of excellence with an entrepreneurial spirit, but a crappy banking/financial system where there is no long term outlook. Companies in these countries fail, because the financial backing is lacking.

No! (Sqore:3.1415926, Right On, Bro!) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180781)

Both India and Russia tried the same and we see how that turned out...

CAPTCHA = geisha (Yes!)

No. They can't. (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180793)

To quote Paul Graham (http://www.paulgraham.com/maybe.html and http://www.paulgraham.com/siliconvalley.html [paulgraham.com] )

You need to find someone to pick the right start-ups. Those people are rare, and unlikely to work for a city.

You need a pro-privacy, pro-free speach atmosphere, something that UK seriously lacks. (Cameras, libel laws, etc)

You need a good source of well educated people interested in science, not business.

You need a good place to live. Something that will attract smart people to live there besides the money. The UK is not sunny California.

Re:No. They can't. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41181083)

When I think of the UK, I think of the rightful heirs of the Roman Empire. They can not only build a worldwide bureaucracy but staff it enthusiastically, and have administrators who improve on it month after month by coming up with more and better regulations.

The Brits invented golf. They didn't invent common law, but it sure seems that they did.

Silicon Valley has a very different mindset though. It's disruptive in nature.

Come for the tech, stay for the dreck (5, Funny)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180801)

so that we can benefit from the same sort of success that has been seen in California

Yes, and for free, if you order now, you will also receive:
*Crushingly high real estate prices
*Monstrously overcrowded prisons
*Bankrupt schools

BUT WAIT! THERES MORE! Be one of the first 100 callers and receive, as our special gift to you:
*Shortages of electricity and water!
*Political leadership totally devoid of morality, consistency, or backbone!

But seriously, California is a "hotbed" for ONE single reason: The weather is nice pretty much all year long. Anyone who lives there and tries to sell you on something else is lying to themselves. People go for the nice weather, and they put up with the constant bullshit because hey, it like never snows, unless you live in the mountains, which are only like 2 hours' drive away from the beaches... So why not live there? Right? And once you get enough smart people in one place (they are bound to turn up when you have 30 million people to start with) things just sort of take shape.

So, UK, you want your own Silicon Valley? Get a warm-weather generator, a couple of nice schools, a semi-pristine coastline, then fill it over the top with people, and wait 50 years. You will probably get something like that, or hey maybe you will end up with something like Haiti. Could go either way.

Make the taxes there 50-90% less than The US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180883)

Get rid of any major startup fees for corporations, reduce taxes significantly, and provide the world's fastest, unmetered, uncensored network in the world. I think that alone would be enough to convince everyone in silicon valley, or rather it would if only England wasn't full of self-righteous ---holes.

Just move on to Berlin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180899)

cheaper living costs, good infrastructure, less commute time, and better beer

Clueless politicians (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year and a half ago | (#41180905)

Clueless politicians sometimes have these ideas which, on the surface at lease, seem like a good idea.

Unfortunately, they have no earthly idea how to implement these ideas; and indeed, the very political nature of their jobs and way of thinking precludes them from doing so.

To draw an analogy, it's like trying to grow a forest by transplanting seedlings, without considering issues like soil quality, moisture, or environment.

Businesses are started by innovation, and grow in an environment of infrastructure.

What is the infrastructure in London like? Is there easy and direct access to roads, or is there draconian limits on driving in the city. Is there universal access to high-speed internet, or are there restrictions on what you can do with your net connection?

How easy is it to register a new business? Are there tax breaks for established businesses which newly-started businesses don't get? Do existing businesses get political favors that the local pizza-shop doesn't have access to?

Does the society have a general feeling of tolerance for radical ideas? Do they allow people to air radical ideas in the political forum? Do the laws enforce restrictions on publishing truthful facts (such as libel/slander)?

Does the society allow free exchange of ideas and reworking and improvement of the ideas of others (as the fashion industry does), or do they promote draconian restrictions? (Note the size of the fashion industry which has no protections, versus the size of the music/movie industry which is very strict.)

Does London allow people to go about freely and conduct affairs which do not harm others, or are people always monitored, afraid, "looking over their shoulders"?

Is high-level crime punished at the same level as low-level? IOW, can rich business owners get away with serious crimes with impunity? (Wasn't some rich business owner accused of tampering with a police investigation awhile back? Did anyone go to jail for that?)

This sounds ever-so-much like a fuzzy "feel good" idea that sounds nice on paper, which will be used as an excuse to funnel tax money from the people to existing businesses. "If you set up here for a tax break, we'll get more in tax revenue from the workers than the tax break costs".

As a contrast, look at Hong Kong pre-2000 (before it became part of China), and India pre-2000. Hong Kong had no resources and no people, but was a major world power. India had lots of people and lots of resources but was a 3rd world nation. To start a business in Hong Kong you pay a small fee and register... you're done. In America, it's a little more but largely painless.

In India, it took Kentucky Fried Chicken 7 years to get "permission" to start selling food in India.

Environment matters. Innovation and infrastructure is what counts.

No. It's a quirk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180977)

A unique set of circumstances led to the creation of Silicon Valley. You could take this as far back as Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush. That's stretching it a bit though. You can more directly tie it to the natural accumulation of defense plants near a major port. After WW2, the defense industry was ther working on electronics. The modern era arguably begins with the Traiterous Eight [wikipedia.org] . Once the culture was established, people went there because... it was there. It's self sustaining.

That doesn't mean things can't change. It just means that it's not easy. Also, there isn't room for too many of these things. Sadly, we could lose it. That would be one more sign of the decline of American's empire. The previous empire taking the crown is not expected.

Now let's add on the fact that the world in general may have reached some kind of technological peak (peak oil, no more cheap energy) and the world focus isn't on Si Valley type stuff anyway.

Trying to recreate Si Valley is like trying recreate Woodstock. You just get a cheap knock-off, not a real happening.

Don't get me wrong. It's fine to have tech centers and music festivals. More power to 'em; but you can't create TechStock intentionally.

Right idea, wrong location (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41180981)

If you want a "silicon valley" in the UK, don't target East London. Extend what you have and go for Reading [pronounce "REDDING"], which as it happens is already nicknamed "The silicon valley of the UK". Comfortably, Reading is already the home of many small unknown companies such as Oracle, Nvidia, Microsoft and Symantec.

Did anybody 'create' Silicon Valley? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41181017)

The problem with trying to create something like this, is I'm not sure that Silicon Valley was 'created' per se.

It seems like it happened because you had a couple of companies (HP for example) who set up shop there, and then other stuff grew around it. I'm not sure you could just go out and say "OK, we'll put a center of innovation and technology here".

It sort of has to grow organically I should think.

I used to work with someone who grew up in what is now Silicon Valley. He said at the time, it was a very not fancy suburb of San Francisco, but that over the years it changed into what it is now, with the crazy real estate prices and everything else to go with it.

It just seems like more of a historical accident than something you can plan for. Sure, you can try to entice people to go there, and possibly even give some perks for doing it. But that doesn't seem like it is going to give you all that much chance of success.

Cities occasionally decide they want to become hubs of this kind of stuff, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're going to achieve this.

The White Heat of Technology (3, Informative)

cardpuncher (713057) | about a year and a half ago | (#41181085)

It's a recurrent theme in British politics. Look up Harold Wilson's 1963 "White Heat of Technology" speech and the creation of the Ministry of Technology.

Britain within living memory has been a technology leader in aviation, nuclear, computing, Those were largely developments that came out of the war and declined in the face of a dependence on government money for investment (and in the latter case, an unwillingness to admit even to the existence of the technology).

Private investors aren't interested in long-term investments - the "investment banking" industry has become big largely because it's eschewed actual growth-producing investment for complex financial instruments which are essentially a form of privatised taxation.

There is still a lot of high-tech industry (take Rolls Royce aero engines for example), but it survives and grows pretty much in spite of the business environment. It's no accident that Britain's now successful, productive and growing car industry is owned and financed from Japan, Germany and India.

It may be possible to grow IT-based industries in London, but they won't be owned in London and nor will any IP associated with them. And I'm afraid the government is sufficiently clueless about technology that it might actually feel it needs to encourage businesses like those cited by the article ( Instagram, Skype and Groupon) whereas there is probably a lot to be said for actively discouraging them.

Plus, this seems to be all about exempting businesses from paying their normal dues. I'm all in favour of foreigners spending money in London. I'm not in favour of the government giving it back with interest to encourage them.

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