Boulevard of Broken Dreams

Silicon Alley, Silicon Docks, Silicon Beach, Silicon Canal and many others show just how much creating places like Silicon Valley is desired and yet almost all of them fail. Boulevard of Broken Dreams (2012) by Josh Lerner looks at what is different about the financing and legal rules around Silicon Valley and the limited number of other successful places and attempts to describe them.

The book doesn’t look at why Silicon Valley for reasons that other places can’t readily copy. The US is the world’s largest rich country and has a huge research and industrial base and a very entrepreneurial culture. Not only has the US created Silicon Valley but it’s also created a dynamic fracking industry and many other industries that other countries haven’t readily replicated. Also even within the US many attempts to create something like Silicon Valley have failed.
The book is pretty dry and provides quite a few examples of places that have failed including many US state based initiatives. A long list of things that should be kept in mind for policy makers is also included at the end. For anyone interested in trying to work out why Silicon Valley works so well at what it does and who is looking for a list of pitfalls to avoid the book is worth a look.

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