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Silicon Gold Rush

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Silicon Gold Rush

The Next Generation of High-Tech Stars Rewrites the Rules of Business


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Silicon Valley companies have many things in common: They tolerate chaos, they are deeply inclusive, they are paranoid and — look quick — they are moving very, very fast.

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Editorial Rating



  • Concrete Examples
  • Engaging


In light of the recent declines in tech stocks, you must give author Karen Southwick credit - for the most part she’s profiled companies that are still around, although they’ve taken some hits. Southwick synthesizes her observations of Silicon Valley over the last decade or so. She takes a broad and sustained look at the practices of such companies as Ascend, Audodesk, Ciena, Cisco, Crossworlds, Net Noir, Open Market, Peoplesoft, Yahoo and others. Using an anecdotal, feature-story style, Southwick dissects these firms, covering CEOs’ personal histories, corporate funding and corporate culture - down to dress code and wilderness team-building exercises. Some stories aren’t new (insiders know Yahoo’s culture is wacky) and there are some small inaccuracies (i.e. you could challenge Crossworlds CEO Katrina Garnett’s argument that turnover is still a massive problem). Nonetheless, whether you’re an insider or just an observer seeking an overview of Silicon Valley and its players, getAbstract recommends this accessible, reader-friendly compilation.


Inside Silicon Valley

A broad, sustained look at the practices of Silicon Valley companies such as Ascend, Audodesk, Ciena, Cisco, Crossworlds, Net Noir, Open Market, Peoplesoft, Yahoo and others reveals that various executive styles, corporate cultures and approaches to change and innovation exist.

Each of these firms demonstrates a particular Silicon Valley characteristic. For example, Crossworlds exemplifies the speed at which high-tech industries operate. Apple demonstrates the triumph of the innovator. Hewlett Packard is a prime example of how to build a sustaining, sensible corporate culture. And, as goes Silicon Valley, so goes high tech.

The Ten Commandments

The processes and techniques of the companies profiled here might at some point find their way into mainstream corporate culture. Given that likelihood, the next generation of high-technology companies should follow these Ten Commandments:

  1. Shape your culture and work ethic - A CEO has to inspire people to join a greater cause and manage and nurture the company’s knowledge capital.
  2. Maintain a fresh perspective - Look at your company’s role as transitory and try to become ...

About the Author

Karen Southwick of San Francisco, California, has covered technology and Silicon Valley for more than a decade, working for The San Francisco Chronicle, Upside magazine and Forbes ASAP. She is also the author of High Noon: The Inside Story of Scott McNealy and the Rise of Sun Microsystems.

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