Oh yes, every nation on this earth is trying to clone Silicon Valley. They look out for abandoned government buildings and refurbish them and quickly grant a press conference that we are going to create Silicon Valley. From Germany to Britain, Nigeria to Chile, we want to build Silicon Valley. It is laughable because Silicon Valley is not a dome with an architectural plan that anyone can copy. It is more of an imagination than a reality with no apparent formula on how you can recreate the center of world’s ICT innovation (notice: ICT innovation). There are many things that do not happen in Silicon Valley. If you think the future of biotechnology is there, you are dreaming. They do great things and everyone wants to be part of success. But Silicon Valley is really going to be hard for anyone to clone. Clone what exactly? The limitless source of the best programmers on earth? The VC sources of funds? The tradition that you can fail and wake up as nothing happened?
The British will never be capable of cloning Silicon Valley, at least in the next fifty years, because engineering is not the bosom of the present British man. The Germans will possibly make a version of tech hub, but not in the mold of Silicon Valley. The Mittel Management model of Germany has nothing to do with Silicon Valley – they focus on areas no one cares. They make sophisticated bolts and nuts that help build planes, cars and rockets all over the world. Even the Chinese cannot compete with the Germans in their mechanical purity. The German Silicon Valley will be closer to hubbing the German core engineering and technical competence and not pursuing any flash in American Silicon Valley. You cannot trade the heritage of German Machines for the flash of Facebook and Twitter. A nation of Mercedes Benz quality has got a lot going in the mechatronics engineering side of the world.
Forget the Europeans, move over to Africa. The Nigerian government is planning to clone Silicon Valley in the middle of nowhere in Calabar. It is a resort where people can enjoy nice weather and parley life. That is where we will locate our own. The problem with that thinking is this: the government thinks that what has prevented Nigeria from having Silicon Valley is lack of a nice office in a vacation resort. Now, they are making one. Yet, the main problem has not been solved.
Schools are yet to complete curricula because of strikes. The border is porous that junks are sold all over the country. The stock market analysts have no clue about technology companies and there is no chance than any of the companies have a chance of exiting via IPO. Without the pathway of IPO, you cannot ideally have the original Silicon Valley. Yet, the government goes along singing “software is the future”.
But hold on – when the present government leaves, the next one will not follow through and will pursue other plans. Why? There is no money to be made as nothing concrete is planned. It is all waste of money. The government must forget about Silicon Valley and focus on little things like good education that is well funded that provides research opportunities for students and professors. If they do that, Nigeria will be fine. Our Silicon Valley may not be making apps or software, we can be good in processing our food. We do not need to follow the leads of the Yankees as they will probably beat us up in any direct competition. We need skills to create our own ideal Silicon Valley and stop follow follow. And that will never happen if we cannot independently think on our feet. Albeit, without good education.
Simply, Nigeria forget Silicon Valley and support Aba Mountain, Kano Pyramid, Akure Plains. These are ones we built ourselves and need not change course to pursue areas we are not prepared. Any intervention should be to expand and help the clusters we have in some of the cities through good roads, power, etc and stop wasting money in the nation trying to build software hubs.