Silicon Valley’s New Center–Mountain View?

September 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Mountain View is Silicon Valley’s “it” city, according to an article in today’s San Jose Mercury News:

Mountain View emerging as major center of Silicon Valley innovation

This is not really news for those of us who live in Mountain View.  There’s a brightly colored Google sign on every other building around here, it seems.

Santa Clara is smack in the middle of the Silicon Valley geographically, but many of the tech startups for which this valley is famous, including HP and Facebook, have their roots in Palo Alto, which is at the north end of the Silicon Valley. Farther south you’ll find Apple, Cisco, Netflix, Ebay, Twitter, and Adobe.

But ever since I moved to Mountain View six months ago, it feels to me like it’s the Silicon Valley center, and is the place to be, for a number of reasons:

  • It is located at the intersection of the three main Silicon Valley freeways: 101, 85, and 237, so it is geographically centered. It’s super easy to get anywhere else from here.
  •  It has a vibrant yet friendly downtown with lots of affordable shops and restaurants.
  • It has a high percentage of rental properties, and many of the young people who work at Silicon Valley companies live here because it is more affordable than Palo Alto.
  • There are tons of Meetups here, with new ones starting all the time. The Google+ Meetup alone has close to 3,000 members.
  • Google provides free wi-fi to the entire city.
  • And now, according to today’s article, it’s becoming startup central. Somehow, quietly, gradually, over 100 startups have set up shop within one square mile of downtown Mountain View. It’s like some sort of startup invasion!

Since I moved to the Bay Area in 1987, I’ve lived in Sunnyvale, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and now Mountain View. I’ve spent the bulk of my adulthood, and most of my career as a technical editor, working for some of Silicon Valley’s top tech companies, including IBM, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle. In my assessment, Palo Alto is where the money is, but Mountain View is where the young companies are, where the young people who work at those companies are, and where all that Silicon Valley venture capital is being put to work.

I’m going to head down to our local froyo shop, Yoogl, in a few.
I might stop by and get some pictures developed while I’m downtown.
google-style copy store sign
Notice a theme to the sign styles in Mountain View (a.k.a. Googleville)?
Hmmm…since Google seems to be taking over the world these days, and Google’s headquarters are in Mountain View, would it be a stretch to speculate that Mountain View might soon be the center not only of Silicon Valley, but of the world?
Nah…but you never know…

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