10/5/2012 11:13:00 AM
The Business Review: A tipping point where Tech Valley is becoming a global cluster
The Business Review
Letters to the Editor
To the editor:
I thoroughly enjoyed your editorial on Tech Valley and the importance of clustering (“Is Andrew Cuomo a threat to Tech Valley?” Sept. 14-20). As a site selection professional I am fully aware of what drives companies in their location decisions. While in attendance at a meeting at Semicon West in 2011 this fact was fully driven home during a discussion on 450mm research. The panel, made up of the top semiconductor executives in the world, was asked where the direction of chip manufacturing was being decided. The CEO of Intel, the most respected chip company in the world, said firmly “Albany.”
Politicians think in terms of towns, counties and states. The tech industry, however, has always looked at things in terms of regions or clusters. These centers of gravity, built ultimately on the supply of bright people, became the fertile soil around which technology companies sprouted. Drive an hour south of Silicon Valley and that fact becomes crystal clear, with town signs saying “Welcome to Podunk CA population 14.” When you study the natural physical development of these places, you see firms that cluster like a beehive. Apparently Podunk didn’t have the universities and quality of life those innovators wanted.