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Title: Cloning Silicon Valley: The Next Generation of High-Tech Hot Spots
Author: David Rosenberg
Publisher: Pearson Education
Copyright: 2002
ISBN: 1-9036-8407-2
Pages: 197
Price: $27.00
Rating: 82%
A hot topic in recent years has been the issue of "clusters" of industries, how they form and how they interact.  While the "dot boom" was followed by the "dot bomb", the march of information technology and its ultimate impact on our society continues on.  As technologies advance and methodologies for capturing the benefits of IT mature, the competition to provide the best IT products and services possible is fierce, and several areas around the world have emerged as serious contenders for a significant slice of the pie.  In Cloning Silicon Valley, David Rosenberg discusses six non-US regions as examples of aspirants to the throne on which "King" Silicon Valley sits.  

Chapters 1-3 provide a general introduction to the important issues surrounding technology clusters.  Rosenberg looks at the impact of having several similar companies in close geographic proximity, prestigious universities, and government patronage.  Whether or not to float an Initial Public Offering, and if yes, on which stock market, is also of major concern.

The author evalutes the regions (Cambridge, England; Helsinki, Finland; Tel Aviv, Israel; Bangalore, India; Singapore; and Tsinchu, Taiwan) using the following categories:

  • History: A discussion of the region's past as it relates to becoming a technology cluster.
  • Geography: The actual physical area making up the cluster and the relevant actors within it.
  • People: A general introduction to the people in the areas with a few specific examples discussed.
  • Society: A broad-brushed survey of the cultural traits of the home countries of the subject regions.  
  • Finance: The availability of and requirements for venture capital from sources within the regions' home country.
  • Government:  The role of the government in assisting/enabling/funding the growth of the indigenous region.  This issue is not addressed under a separate heading in the Singapore chapter, but obviously Singapore's government is tightly coupled with the country's industry.
  • Focus companies:  Profiles of active companies to provide concrete examples to supplement the generally descriptive nature of the rest of the chapter.
  • Ahead:  Where the region appears to be headed in the near future.

The book is definitely worth reading if you're interested in the topic, but the brevity of the sections leaves me wanting much more information.  Admittedly, it could be because I'm a nerd who has become familiar with the rigorous cluster analysis conducted at George Mason University by Roger Stough, Ken Button and Steven Fuller, who combine economics with geographic information systems (GIS) research. 

Even when I consider the book as a general introduction to the topic, I think that at 197 total pages, with three introductory chapters and eight headings for each of the six region profiles, Rosenberg should have given us more depth by increasing page count or by offering fewer profiles.

All in all, Cloning Silicon Valley is worth reading, but you should probably wait for the paperback.

Doug Frye is currently a Ph.D. candidate in George Mason University's School of Public Policy.  His dissertation research focuses on comparing the application of private sector business concepts on e-procurement in the public sector.  He is also collaborating on a monograph addressing the issues confronting a discrete manufacturing company planning to use information technology to coordinate their extended enterprise.