Saturday, July 31, 2004

Robert Browning - A Toccata Of Galuppi's

I feel this is a nice read with some depth to provoke thought.The setting was in Venice.
Oh Galuppi, Baldassaro, this is very sad to find!
I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
But although I give you credit, 'tis with such a heavy mind!

Here you come with your old music, and here's all the good it brings.
What, they lived once thus at Venice, where the merchants were the kings,
Where Saint Mark's is, where the Doges used to wed the sea with rings?

Ay, because the sea's the street there; and 'tis arched by... what you call
... Shylock's bridge with houses on it, where they kept the carnival;
I was never out of England—it's as if I saw it all!

Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm in May?
Balls and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day,
When they made up fresh adventures for the morrow, do you say?

Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red,—
On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bell-flower on its bed,
O'er the breast's superb abundance where a man might base his head?

Well (and it was graceful of them) they'd break talk off and afford
—She, to bite her mask's black velvet, he to finger on his sword,
While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord?

What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths diminished sigh on sigh,
Told them something? Those suspensions, those solutions—"Must we die?"
Those commiserating sevenths—"Life might last! we can but try!"

"Were you happy?"—"Yes."—"And are you still as happy?"—"Yes—and you?"
—"Then, more kisses!"—"Did I stop them, when a million seemed so few?"
Hark—the dominant's persistence till it must be answered to!

So an octave struck the answer. Oh, they praised you, I dare say!
"Brave Galuppi! that was music! good alike at grave and gay!
I can always leave off talking when I hear a master play!"

Then they left you for their pleasure: till in due time, one by one,
Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well undone,
Death stepped tacitly and took them where they never see the sun.

But when I sit down to reason,—think to take my stand nor swerve
While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from nature's close reserve,
In you come with your cold music, till I creep thro' every nerve.

Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house was burned—
"Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice spent what Venice earned!
The soul, doubtless, is immortal—where a soul can be discerned.

"Yours for instance: you know physics, something of geology,
Mathematics are your pastime; souls shall rise in their degree;
Butterflies may dread extinction,—you'll not die, it cannot be!

"As for Venice and its people, merely born to bloom and drop,
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop:
What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

"Dust and ashes!" So you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
Dear dead women, with such hair, too—what's become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown old.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Irene Adler

I quote the beginning of the text ' A Scandal in Bohemia' by Sir A.C.Doyle
"TO SHERLOCK HOLMES she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind. He was, I take it, the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen, but as a lover he would have placed himself in a false position. He never spoke of the softer passions, save with a gibe and a sneer. They were admirable things for the observer–excellent for drawing the veil from men’s motives and actions. But for the trained reasoner to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor which might throw a doubt upon all his mental results. Grit in a sensitive instrument, or a crack in one of his own high-power lenses, would not be more disturbing than a strong emotion in a nature such as his. And yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory."
Interestingly, at the end of the story , Holmes asks the King of Bohemia for the picture of Irene Adler that she has left behind as his only compensation for his efforts. To sum it up in Doyle's words : "And that was how a great scandal threatened to affect the kingdom of Bohemia, and how the best plans of Mr. Sherlock Holmes were beaten by a woman’s wit. He used to make merry over the cleverness of women, but I have not heard him do it of late. And when he speaks of Irene Adler, or when he refers to her photograph, it is always under the honourable title of the woman.

For Holmes always referred her to as ”the woman” (please note the definite article being used)
I somehow felt this when yesterday I was listening to Madonna's lyics in "Like a Prayer"

"When you call my name it's like a little prayer I'm down on my knees, I wanna take you there In the midnight hour I can feel your power Just like a prayer you know I'll take you there "

Now coming to Me,Myself and Irene.I knew of such a senorita who would like to be preceived on the contrary.She would absolutely detest her name being taken as a prayer and abominated the fact that somebody worships her. Her character's leitmotif seemed to me like something on the lines of "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks.(I'm a bitch, I'm a loverI'm a child, I'm a motherI'm a sinner, I'm a saint,I do not feel ashamed).Enough said.I'll get to the point.

All this is to provide evidence to the fact that Love essentially is non-linear in character.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Indian English

John M. Lawler of University of Michigan observes the following anomalies in the grammar of Indian English:

The progressive tense in static verbs: I am understanding it. She is knowing the answer.
Variations in noun number and determiners: He performed many charities. She loves to pull your legs.

Prepositions: pay attention on, discuss about, convey him my greetings

Tag questions: You're going, isn't it? He's here, no?
Word order Who you have come for? They're late always. My all friends are waiting.
Yes and no agreeing to the form of a question, not just its content -- A: You didn't come on the bus? B: Yes, I didn't."

A few words unique to Indian English:
cousin-brother (male cousin)
would-be (fiance/fiancee)
batchmate or batch-mate (Not classmate, but of same age schoolmate)
crore (ten million)
lakh (hundred thousand)
Eve-teasing (harassment of women)
godown (warehouse)
Himalayan blunder (grave mistake)
opticals (eyeglasses)
nose-screw (woman's nose ornament)
scheduled caste (lowest Hindu caste)
prepone (the opposite of 'postpone')
foot over bridge (bridge)
British writer, journalist and wit Malcolm Muggeridge once joked that the last Englishman would be an Indian.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Thomas Malone: Perspective

Thomas Malone is a management professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also the founder and director of the MIT Center for Coordination Science and was one of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century." What follows is a partial transcript of his Supernova presentation:
Let me start by asking you a question that I sometimes ask my classes. How many of you are happy this morning? This looks like a very happy crowd. How many of you are not happy this morning. Two of you. I'm happy to be here this morning. What I'm going to try to explain is why I think decentralization is not just a cool thing for technologists. Decentralization is the next stage in a progression of human organization that?s been going on for thousands of years.

We are now in the early stages in an increase of human freedom in business that may in the long run be as important a change for business as the introduction of democracy was for governments. New technologies allow us to have the economic benefits of large organizations as well as the human benefits of small organizations. The reason that's possible is that technology is reducing the cost of communication to such a level that everyone in even huge organizations can have all the information they need about the big picture to make decisions without waiting for someone above them to tell them what to do. What will change things, though, is not the technology. It's what people want. We need to think more deeply about what we humans really want.

Let me give you a couple of examples. The first example is the Wikipedia, an open content encyclopedia that anyone in the world can look at for free. But anyone in the world can also change it. How could that possibly work? The way it works is that there's a list of recent changes, and frequent contributors are always watching that list. If people think a change is wrong or questionable, they immediately flag that page. Over time, it gets better and better. It's probably not as good as the Encyclopedia Britannica, but it's very, very good. This illustrates the themes of freedom and scale. Freedom because anyone in the world can contribute, but there's also global scale in the pool of people contributors can draw upon.

You may be thinking, what does this strange little encyclopedia that's not a business and doesn't make money have to do with business? Let's look at another example: Ebay. What most people don't know is that 150,000 of its sellers make their full-time living on Ebay. If those people were employees of Ebay, it'd be one of the largest employers and retailers in the world. But they're not employees. They're independent store owners, and they have all the freedom independent store owners have. Coupled with that, they also have global scale.

Why do these examples mean this is going to happen in more places? This is the next logical stage in a very common pattern in the evolution of human organizations. This pattern happened first in the ways humans organized their societies. People made their living hunting and gathering, and they lived in small, decentralized, egalitarian groups called bands. Then we saw the rise of larger and larger human societies ruled by centralized leaders called emperors and kings. Then, 200 years ago, with the American Revolution and the French Revolution, we saw the emergence of democracy.
What explains this change? There are lots of factors involved, but surprisingly, a single factor can explain all three stages: the declining cost of communication. When communication was expensive, the only thing you could do was have small, face-to-face decision making groups. With the development of the first information technology, writing, it became possible to organize people in larger groups. It took another information technology, the printing press, to make the third way of organizing societies feasible.

That's pretty interesting. What's even more interesting is that this pattern is playing out again on a much more rapid time scale in business. For most of history, businesses were organized as small, family, local affairs not too different than the bands of our hunting and gathering ancestors. Then, with the introduction of the telegraph and telephone, it was possible to work on a larger scale. This was the main story in the 20th century, the rise of the kingdoms of the business world. And the Internet now makes it possible to have far more people involved in making decisions. It's now possible to enter the third major stage of how businesses are organized.

Just because it's possible doesn't mean it's desirable. But it turns out that there are a bunch of good things that happen when people make their own decisions. They're more motivated, creative, flexible, and often just plain like it better. Those benefits of decentralized decision making aren't always important. And in some places, where communication is more expensive, we can still see centralization. But the critical qualities of success are exactly those things that come from decentralization. That's why I think we'll see more decentralization in more parts of business.

If that's true, what will it look like? There are three main ways large groups of people can make decentralized decisions: loose hierarchies, democracies, and markets. A loose hierarchy means that there are still bosses, but lots of important decisions get delegated. Consultancies, research universities, and R&D are organized like this. But my favorite example is a company called AES. They give huge amounts of responsibility to low-level employees. They don't have to get approval, but they do have to get advice. And the more important a decision, the higher up you have to go for that advice.

The next way is with democracies. We already use democracies at the very top of most big companies, the board of directors. And most managers use a loose form of democracy when they poll people. But there will be more and more places where we use more formal modes of democracy. There's a company in the Basque region of Spain called the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation. They don't yet make heavy use of information technology, but each person who's been with one of the co-ops for a couple of years becomes a member. As a member, the workers get to elect the equivalent of the board of directors. They have that repeated in 22 industry groups as well as the top of the corporation.

The third major way is with markets. There are basically two main kinds of markets: external and internal. An external market just means outsourcing things that might have been done instead inside the boundaries of a company. This leads to the "e-lance" economy. With internal markets, we can have many of the benefits of decentralization inside the boundaries of a single company. My favorite example of how that might work is with a scenario we ran with Intel about how they could figure out their product scheduling. The basic idea is that they could do that by having an internal futures market in which a manager would sell the rights to have certain products available. As the expectations of plant managers and sales managers change, the prices in this internal futures market could continually adapt.

What does all this mean for business? First, it highlights the importance of having lots of ways of giving individual people at the center of their universes, access to all kinds of information about other people to make business decisions for themselves. But most of all it highlights the possibility of a new layer of design. The next layer up is the organizational layer. And the biggest challenge will be how to design human organizations and business organizations in ways that can take advantage of information technology, give people more information, and give people more freedom and decision making power.

The more we do that, we'll be able to foster more motivation, creativity, flexibility, and happiness.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Booklist on Time

Somewhere Someone had this nice list of books on the subject of time.
Al-Azm, Sadik. Kant's theory of time. Philosophical Library.

Anderson, Poul. Tau zero. [fiction] Doubleday. 1970.

Asimov, Isaac. The end of eternity. [fiction] Doubleday. 1955.

Asimov, Isaac. Pebble in the sky. [fiction] Doubleday. 1950.

Bear, Greg. Eon. [fiction] Tor. 1986.

Belinfante, F. J. Measurements of time reversal in objective
quantum theory. Pergamon. 1975.

Bellamy, Edward. Looking backward. [fiction] Ticknor. 1888.

Benford, Gregory. Timescape. [fiction] Simon & Schuster. 1980.

Bishop, Michael. No enemy but time. [fiction] Pocket Books. 1982.

Cleugh, M. F. Time. Methuen. 1937.

Cornell, James, ed. Bubbles, voids, and bumps in time.
Cambridge University Press. 1992.

Denbigh, Kenneth G. Three concepts of time. Springer-Verlag.

Dick, Phillip. Time out of joint. [fiction] Carroll & Graf. 1959.

Dickson, Gordon. Time storm. [fiction] St. Martins. 1977.

Dunne, John William. An experiment with time. Humanities.

England, George Allan. Darkness and dawn. [fiction] Hyperion. 1975.

Frazer, J. T. The genesis and evolution of time: a critique
of interpretation in physics. University of Massachusetts
Press. 1982.

Freeman, Eugene, and Wilfrid Sellars, eds. Basic issues in the
philosophy of time. Open Court. 1971.

Gerrold, David. The man who folded himself. [fiction] Random. 1973.

Gold, T., ed. The nature of time. Cornell University Press. 1967.

Graves, Robert. Watch the northwind rise. [fiction] Cassell. 1949.

Gribbin, John. Timewarps. Dell. 1980.

Hogan, James. Thrice upon a time. [fiction] Ballantine. 1980.

Hudson, W. H. A crystal age. [fiction] Unwin. 1887.

Jeury, Michael. Chronolysis. [fiction] Macmillan. 1980.

Kaufman. The book of time.

Krudy, E. S., et al., eds. Time: a bibliography. IRL Press. 1976.

Landsberg, P. T., ed. The enigma of time. Heyden. 1982.

Laumer, Keith. The great time machine hoax. [fiction] Ace. 1978.

Leiber, Fritz. The big time. [fiction] Ace. 1961.

Mehlberg, Henry. Time, causality and the quantum theory. Kluwer
Academic. 1980.

Newton-Smith, W. H. The structure of time. Routledge and Kegan
Paul. 1980.

Niven, Larry. A world out of time. [fiction] Holt. 1976.

Norton, Andre. Operation time search. [fiction] Harcourt. 1967.

Norton, Andre. Quest crosstime. [fiction] Viking. 1965.

Park, David. The image of eternity: roots of time in the physical
world. New American Library. 1981.

Patrides, C. A. Aspects of time. University of Toronto Press. 1976.

Powers, Tim. The Anubis gates. [fiction] Ace. 1983.

Reichenbach, Hans, and Maria Reichenbach. The direction of time.
University of California Press. 1972.

Robinson, Spider. Time pressure. [fiction] Ace. 1987.

Saberhagen, Fred. After the fact. [fiction] Baen. 1988.

Saberhagen, Fred. Pyramids. [fiction] Baen. 1987.

Schlesinger, George N. Aspects of time. Hackett. 1980.

Shallis, Michael. On time: an investigation into scientific
knowledge and human experience. Schocken. 1983.

Sheeter, Sean, et al. The origin of large-scale time-symmetry:
the 5D field solution to the classical Wheeler-Feynman
problems with 4D relativistic action-at-a-distance. Process
Press. 1983.

Silverberg, Robert. Up the line. [fiction] Ballantine. 1969.

Taine, John. The time stream. [fiction] Buffalo. 1946.

Toulmin, Stephen, and June Goodfield. The discovery of time.
University of Chicago Press. 1982.

Tucker, Wilson. The year of the quiet sun. [fiction] Ace. 1970.

Twain, Mark. A connecticut yankee in King Arthur's court. [fiction]
Webster. 1889.

Varley, John. Millennium. [fiction] Berkley. 1983.

Vinge, Vernor. Marooned in real time. [fiction] Bluejay. 1986.

Wells, H. G. The time machine. [fiction] Heinemann. 1895.

Wells, H. G. When the sleeper wakes. [fiction] Harper. 1899.

Whitrow, G. J. The natural philosophy of time. Oxford University
Press. 1981.

Williamson, Jack. The legion of time. [fiction] Fantasy. 1952.

Zelazny, Roger. Roadmarks. [fiction] Ultramarine. 1979.

Zelkind, Irving, and Joseph Sprug. Time research: 1172 studies.
Scarecrow. 1974.

Friday, July 02, 2004


I have noticed this usenet message.Given our outsourcing boom I have begin wondering about the relevance of the point UNiversity+Business mentioned out here,Either way it is a good read for anybody who is interested in tech design business
From: (John Mashey)
Newsgroups: comp.arch

It isn't a question of being innovative.... innovation can happen almost
anywhere. The problems are:
getting it financed
getting it staffed and keeping it that way
getting the product out
having enough infrastructure around to make it possible
getting enough initial support for it to survive
surviving mistakes
doing it again and again
making it a continuing business.

If you study technology history, innovation patterns, and general business
texts, one thing that becomes clear is that startups can be made to work
almost anywhere; nevertheless:
a) Anywhere, most startups either go out of business, struggle along,
or get bought out fairly quickly. Relatively few turn into even
a $50M business. Unfortunately, these days, it probably costs
something like $50M investment to start an innovative computer
system company, which is why Venture Capitalists don't do much of
that any more: it's too risky. New software companies cost less to
try. Supercomputers take a *lot* of money and time, hence most
supercomputer startups fail....
b) In any given particular technology area, there turn out to
be geographic locations that have spectacularly better success
than others. This has to do with patterns of innovation, ability
to have people leave one company and start another, ability to hire
the right people locally, existence of a good local market to make
it easy to get going, and existence of the infrastructure you need to
do something without investing huge bunches of money.
What happens is that once one company in an industry gets successful
someplace, there is at least some chance that related industry will
grow around it. At some point, the competitive advantge of such places
gets very difficult to overcome. This is true in many industries, not
just computers, although computers, I suspect, are one of the more
extreme cases.
c) Good current publications to read about such things
include INC, UPSIDE, FORBES, California Business
(or the equivalent elsewhere).

For this specific topic (computer design), the most recent issue of
Computer Architecture News happens to have a breakdown by geography of
the subscribers. One should not overgeneralize from this, but the numbers
do give some hints of what goes on, showing the largest numbers in each
category [US States, other countries]:
4832 Total members
3590 USA (74% of total)
951 CA (20% of total, 26% of US)
307 MA
292 NY
262 TX
156 NJ
155 IL
141 PA
102 VA
83 CO
77 OR
74 MN
74 WA
73 OH
66 MI
66 FL
64 WI
176 Japan
131 Germany
98 S. Korea
94 U.K.
90 Australia
70 France
62 Italy
60 Canada

Note of course that CAN is published in English.
Of course, some of these numbers correlate with total populations,
although Australia's 90 is higher than you'd expect from sheer numbers.

However, it is quite likely that ~500 (~10% of total) live within
an hour's drive (well, maybe not during rush-hour :-) of Sunnyvale.
A one-hour radius gets you to San Francisco, Berkeley, Santa Cruz,
the Peninsula, Livermore & the I680 corridor,and obviously Silicon Valley.
Obviously, the Boston area has a similar concentration
within a 1 hour radius [include southern NH).
A slight difference between Rt128 and S.V. is that 128 is spread out
*around* Boston, where is S.V. is much more densely concentrated, with
companies right up against each other.

Many places have tried to duplicate S.V. with various degrees of success,
and I've often had discussions with people about why it has worked, and why
it doesn't always. Briefly, it turns out that a whole lot of factors need to
exist to create an environment in which startups continually breed.

S.V. historical factors include the following:
1) EXPOSURE: During W.W.II, CA had a lot of aerospace industry; also many
servicemen who'd never seen California went out thru CA ports and decided
CA would be a good place to live. Some of them got paid on the G.I. bill to
go to school after the war, some at Berkeley or Stanford, for example.

2) UNIVERSITY+BUSINESS: Stanford, especially, and especially Frederick
Terman (of few of whose students were Hewlett & Packard) had an enlightened
attitude towards letting faculty capitalize on inventions by licensing them,
or by taking short sabbaticals to start companies, and still be able to
come back. Obvious Stanford spinoffs, where the first version of something
was done there, and folks left and licensed the technology [sometimes for
stock], or left and came back include the obvious Sun, SGI, and MIPS.
Stanford also leased land for R&D facilities; you can see where Silicon
Valley really started and spread from: drive up Page Mill Road in Palo Alto,
where Stanford leased land to HP, IBM, XEROX PARC, etc.
*It is widely understood that 1-2 strong universities are very important for
anchoring a high-tech haven, i.e. MIT/Harvard for 128, Stanford/Berkeley for
S.V., U.T. for Austin, etc. What is often missed is that it's not enough to
just have a good unveristy, the university must have an attitude of working
with business in an appropriate way, or it doesn't take very well.*

3) FINANCING: Venture Capitalists and other sugar daddies.
Startups have to get financed. There are a lot of ways to get this money;
VC's are certainly not the only way. On the other hand, a GOOD VC
(there are good ones, there are bad ones, like anything else) can
really help a potential startup that it chooses to fund (maybe 1 of 100
business plans it looks at?)
a) Advise on improving business plan.
b) Help complete the management team, if not already.
c) Help get more financing from other VC friends.
d) Talk to banks or lawyers.
e) Give advice, help make connections with potential suppliers
and customers.
That is, money may not be the critical factor, but these other things.

This is a pretty tight community: a huge percentage of them have offices
at Sand Hill Road about 5 minutes from here. I once attended a large AEA
dinner in honor or Art Rock and Tommy Davis (two of the premier, and early
VCs here, from which many other VC firms are spinoffs). The attendees were
such that if the building had blown up, a large chunk of the electronics
business would suddenly be missing its senior management. They asked how
many of those present had sometime worked for companies bankrolled by
either of these two, and most people raised their hands.

* Sometimes government support for startups works, sometimes not; when not,
I'd suggest it's not usually lack of money, but of the other support.*

4) BANKS: when you're a startup, and you go to the bank for a short-term
loan, does the bank say:
a) Maybe, where's your funding, and who's your lead VC?
b) Where's your last 5 years' of profit statements?
c) Are you kidding?
In some places in the world, you get b) or c).

5) INFRASTRUCTURE: it helps not to create everything from scratch. By now,
around S.V., there are companies that do *anything* you can imagine connected
with electronics. They'll stuff and test boards [like Solectron, which does
boards for many companies]; bend metal; do contract software; do specialized
testing. Need a very expensive ion-milling machine to patch an early chip
so you can keep debugging? Don't want to buy one? No problem, there's
somebody who'll provide that service.

* This is one of the most commonly overlooked necessities. You MUST get
enough on one industry in a place to induce the needed infrastructure.

5) LAND;FACILITIES; TRANSPORT: it helps to have land to build buildings.
S.V. *used* to have a lot of orchards :-)
A startup needs to get basic facilities cheap, then expand as necessary,
without spending too much money. Around here there are plenty of
buildings you can lease a piece of, then move. Also, you can sometimes
buy furniture, partitions, etc. cheap. MIPS bought some cheap from
Activision; when we moved, we sold them to Ardent; when they moved, they
sold them to sombody else. They could be anywhere by now.

Many places have created "incubators", which are low-overhead setups for
early offices and maybe labs, with shared secretarial support, meeting
rooms, etc, and usually right next to an industrial park with space to
build new buildings as successful startups need more space. These are
all over the place; one nice example is the one near Perth, Australia.
Another way is to renovate some old mills.

As a company grows, transportation can become important. It is very helpful
to be located within 1 hour's drive of a major international airport.
If it takes an hour to get to an airport, and from there you need another
flight to get to a major international airport, life can get painful.
If you have to make 2 flights to get to the M.I.A., life will be really
hard if you ever expect to do serious international stuff.

*Note that software companies are much more easily located all over the
place than hardware companies, as the required infrastructure is much

6) (US special): The US has 70% of the world's lawyers, and high-tech
startups can be a contentious lot. People leave A to start B. A thinks
they took technology with them and wants to sue. It just happens, that
around S.V. a large number of firms are represented by one particular
law firm that always had a habit of being supportive of startups,
and knows how to handle them. [Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati].
If it turns out that A & B both use WSGR, what often happens is that
it's pointed out to them that their regular lawyers can't represent them
due to the conflict of interest, and why do they want to spend their time
in court rather than building things, and can't they find an easier way
to resolve it? Often they do.

7) PEOPLE: you need lots of the right people, not just engineers/scientists,
but business management, finance, marketing, manufacturing, etc. It also
helps to have customers close by, so you don't spend all of your time traveling
just to find the early customers, and the expense of remote support.
The relevant people have various ideas of where they might like to live;
thank goodness not everyone's priorities are the same. On the other
hand, the following are often Good Things: good weather, proximity to city
large enough to have cultural amenities, beaches, mountains, recreation,
nice housing [S.V. so far so good], reasonably-priced housing [S.V. oops].

Company walls around S.V. sometimes have a genealogical history chart that
shows the evolution/spinoff of semiconductor companies,
starting all the way back with Shockley. The systems companies often
trace some lineage to HP.

8) GOVERNMENT: if your tax laws say that if you leave a good job,
work 80-hour weeks, and make something happen, that you might get to be
well-off, you'll get startups. If not, maybe not. If government rules
make it hard to start businesses, they'll be hard to start.

9) ATTITUDES: if the surrounding society thinks that if you try to start
a business and it fails, that you're stigmatized forever as a failure...
you won't get a lot of startups. If the area is permeated with risk-takers
whose reponse to hearing your business went under is "Oh, too bad. What's
your next one going to be?" it's different.
It is sometimes said that the US West Coast is populated by people who
(or whose ancestors who) were continually willing to take the risk of
leaving everything they knew and move West ... until they couldn't go
any further, and here they are. [There are plenty of risk-takers elsewhere,
of course, but there is a grain of truth here, as there are a LOT of people
around here wlling to try something different...]
*This is one of the most important factors, and is often the fundamental
reason that S.V.-clone efforts have failed. You get entrepreneurial folks
everywhere, but some places they're encouraged....and some not*

OK, that's my summary of what it takes. With the current state of the
industry, until the next serious discontinuity in hardware design,
it's going to be very difficult to start technically innovative new
computer systems companies.... For sure, the number of startups with
successful new general-purpose *instruction sets* is likely to be rather low...
Systems integration, networking,
software seem like better bets for startups, although there is always
room for clever folks to figure out how to put together technology
that used to be too expensive, but now isn't to solve somebody's

-john mashey DISCLAIMER:
UUCP: OR {ames,decwrl,prls,pyramid}!mips!mash
DDD: 408-524-7015, 524-8253 or (main number) 408-720-1700
USPS: MIPS Computer Systems M/S 5-03, 950 DeGuigne, Sunnyvale, CA 94086-3650