Silicon Valley has a solid history of 40 years of innovation, it has the best public and private universities plus numerous colleges; and it has the largest venture capital investment community. But what is it's real secret?
"When I'm asked about this, and I've been asked this for years, I answer this the same: It is the weather. There's a reason why generations of young people who are willing to challenge assumptions and so forth have ended up in the Bay Area, and the weather is not a small part."
That's what Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google told the Wall Street Journal.
I think the weather is a nice cherry-on-a-cake thing to enjoy. But I think people are here for the cake, the layer cake of fine universities, venture capital, and the smartest collection of people on the planet.
I've never had anyone tell me that they are here for the weather. Yes, people do say how nice it is that they don't have to dig their car out of the snow each winter day, as they did in Michigan or elsewhere.
But if the weather is the draw then shouldn't Silicon Valley be concerned about innovation centers springing up in Hawaii or in the Caribbean? Is the secret to innovation as simple as that? I don't believe it.
For starters, San Francisco weather, where I live and where a lot of startups are based, isn't that great. We get four seasons in one day, and three of them aren't anything to write postcards home about. Some districts, like the aptly named Sunset, might not see the sun for months in the summer. Its residents have a pasty white sheen, no matter what their ethnicity.
So we will see Google recruitment posters on campuses promoting the good life: sun, fun, and php? It would seem so.