If there is an epicenter for the folklore around people starting multi billion dollar companies out of their garage, Silicon Valley would surely be it.
The garage where Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett founded the Hewlett-Packard Company (HP as it’s known today) has long been Silicon Valley’s number one startup garage. Now, 26 years after it officially became a California historical landmark, there’s a new garage aiming to take a shot at the title.
In 1976, Steve Jobs started Apple Computer in the bedroom of his childhood home in Los Altos (which is still under the care of his sister Patty) and in startup land fashion, the garage was used to assemble the first Apple I circuit boards. The home and garage really haven’t changed much from the days that Jobs lived in this unassuming neighborhood. However, one big difference is that it is now one of the top technology pilgrimage sites in the Valley and probably the entire world.
Located at the center of Stanford University, the Stanford Memorial Church was built by Jane Stanford as a memorial to her husband Leland. Dedicated in 1903, the church was one of the earlier non-denominational churches on the West coast of the United States and survived through two major earthquakes in 1906 and 1989.
There is nothing quite like watching your favorite band play live at an amazing concert venue or music festival. However, sometimes you just can’t get to the show – especially if it’s sold out. That’s where David Carrico, co-founder of startup EVNTLIVE, comes in. David’s vision is to make concerts available “anywhere, anytime.” by offering an on-demand, streaming service that will let you watch shows on your laptop, tablet/iPad, or phone.
Why a service like this doesn’t exist already boggles the mind until you understand the complex web of copyrights that is the music industry. While the the live performance market is dominated by offline players with analog business models, EVNTLIVE still has to do the hard work of secure streaming rights from the artists, music labels, and venues.
Luckily that is work worth doing as concert and event promotion is a multi billion dollar industry that is ripe for disruption by someone with the right technology and industry know-how. Someone like David.
It’s easy to lose track of time in Startup Land due to the fact that we only have two seasons: “warm” and “less warm”. However, we do have some obvious visual clues (leaves falling, colored lights, fleece, etc.) as well as a few seasonal markers.
My new favorite is the opening ceremony for the Mavericks Invitational surf competition. Every Fall 24 big wave surfers are invited to the legendary break near Half Moon Bay. The opening ceremony, which took place this past Friday, marks the beginning of the Mavericks season (November to January). Why is there a “season” for Mavericks you ask? The conditions have to be just right for the big waves to materialize, otherwise there is no contest. Since Mother Nature is hard to predict, the call only goes out to the invited surfers with just a few days notice.
Jeff Clark, contest director and Mavericks pioneer, refers to opening ceremony as a “gathering of the tribe” – a time for family, friends, kids and the local community to come out to the beach and meet surfers (something you can no longer do during the actual contest).
After mingling with the crowd, the competitors all line up for photos and are handed Hawaiian ti leaves. Speeches are given. Then the ceremony concludes with the surfers paddling out into the ocean where they form a floating prayer circle to commemorate the event, show respect to fellow surfers and their safety, and pay tribute to those who have died.
When most people think of Silicon Valley they usually think one of three things: technology giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook, robot controlled factories churning out Tesla electric cars, or garages filled with entrepreneurs. While those conceptions continue to dominate headlines, some new cultural ventures might just put Startup Land on “the map” in new ways.
One such venture is C2SV (Create. Converge. Silicon Valley) – a new technology and music festival that took place last week in San Jose.
C2SV was three full days of technology and live music performances – a winning format that organizers smartly borrowed from other popular festivals such as SXSW (which literally takes over Austin Texas for weeks each year). Highlights from C2SV included a fireside chat with technologist John McAfee (his first public interview since escaping Belize), a discussion with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak about finding the next Steve Jobs, and a performance by rock legend Iggy and The Stooges.
I’m glad to see a combined tech/music festival finally make it to Silicon Valley. I mean, why should Austin have all the fun?
Conferences have become a way of life for companies in high growth industries. The faster the growth the more conferences there seem to be. Startups and big companies both love a good conference. Think about it. Where else can you easily meet a whole bunch of new investors, customers, and partners over the course of a day or two?
Of course attending conferences can get old after a while but it sure as heck beats wearing a sandwich board on Sand Hill Road.
Maybe why it’s so hard to get a hotel room in Startup Land these days.
Actor George Takei (Commander Sulu from the television series Star Trek) was in Startup Land late last year visiting the current “batch” of companies at 500 Startups headquarters in Mountain View. Sadly, I missed the inspirational talk he gave but love how he autographed his wall poster.