Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Following the tyger.

Serendipity always happens when you least expect it.

After my visits to Singapore and Shenzhen two weeks ago, I spent last week in Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo. I'm back in California now, and had planned to write a follow-on to my earlier post, wrapping up my visits from the second week of my trip. Several other people have saved me the trouble, though.

Tim O'Reilly led the way with a post on South Korea. That post actually digests a long article in Business 2.0. The B2.0 article is excellent, but Tim's coverage is worth reading on its own.

The key observation here -- and I saw this in Tokyo just as clearly as in Seoul -- is that a strong governmental commitment to ubiquitous, reliable broadband has been very good for social services and businesses in Japan and Korea. With the platform that the network provides, both governments and companies can build and deliver interesting and valuable services. In Japan, the general feeling is that networks and mobility are ways to improve the quality of life. That's a sentiment that you don't hear articulated in quite that way in most of the US.

Paul Graham also posted two relevant, and very interesting, articles that showed up among my feeds while I was on the road.

One of them, How to Be Silicon Valley, explains the combination of factors that conspired to produce the Valley in California beginning in the 1950s and 1960s. Countries and states interested in duplicating that success can learn a lot from the lessons that Paul presents.

Paul's second article is called Why Startups Condense in America. It lists some of the important public policy and also attitudinal reasons that the US has been so successful at creating and building new businesses. This is a very interesting piece, and ends with some thoughts on the ways that the US can continue to foster the policies and attitudes that matter most.

Plenty of good reading here for tygers.


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