Archive for the ‘Silicon Valley Sightings’ Category


Silicon Valley Sightings: The Tech Museum of Innovation

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A few weeks ago, I revisited The Museum of Technology in downtown San Jose, the ‘blue fruit in an orange box’ (see google street map) building sticks out amid the glass corporate buildings and grand hotels. A great landmark for a city centered in innovation. This museum boasts many interactive exhibits, a showcasing of past and previous technology, shows, and even an imax screen for those seeking an enveloping experience of sight and sound. Don’t take my word for it, find out what others say on Yelp reviews.

I had a fun time exploring the exhibit talking about the internet: reviewing some history, catching up on some trivia, and learning about netiquette and abbreviations you should know. (see below)

A bit of trivia for you, the museum is on the site (or close to it) where San Jose’s old Chinatown used to be, but is no more. Also of interest, I used to work at the Fairmont while in college helping with the audio visual work for large conferences. Playing with audio equipment, large projectors, and running around in the catwalks was a lot of fun (and great food for employees).


Acceptable NetiquetteAbberviations you should know (AYSK)Picture or Video 070Tech Museum of Innovation
Ball in motionHallway to body worlds exhibitTech MuseumTech Museum


(Silicon Valley Sightings is an ongoing PhotoBlog that captures the intersection of Tech Culture in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area, check out the archives (which now showcase some tech areas in Asia). All photos by Jeremiah Owyang)

Silicon Valley Sightings: The Yahoo! Billboard

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Silicon Valley Sightings

Yahoo! has a very prominent billboard on highway 80 in San Francisco, (streetview map) right before you cross over the bay bridge (close to the freeway collapse of the Loma Prieta earthquake). When I go to tech events in the city, I almost always see this sign, it’s been there for quite a few years. Reminiscent of a 60s interstate sign you’d see before getting to Las Vegas, the current special to “Resolve to LOL more” plays well to the geeks like myself.

Interestingly enough, billboard pricing is much like internet advertising, both measure traffic, yes one measures cars and the other server requests.

(Silicon Valley Sightings is an ongoing PhotoBlog that captures the intersection of Tech Culture in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area, check out the archives (which now showcase some tech areas in Asia). All photos by Jeremiah Owyang)

InnoCentre: HongKong’s Government Sponsored Incubator

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Amanda of JiJiJa tours me around InnoCentre
Amanda Greets me at Innocentre

Innocentre Atrium
The Atrium features products and designs

Innocentre Cafeteria
Communal Cafeteria

Innocentre Atrium
Grand Atrium

This is another special Silicon Valley Sightings Asia Edition, view the archives.

I had the absolute pleasure to take a tour of Hong Kong’s InnoCentre (on the Kowloon side) from Amanda Lau, head of Marketing of JiJiJa. This is just days after my tour of Cyberport on Hong Kong Island.

InnoCentre is a government sponsored incubator that promotes emerging companies by providing office space, business amenities like meeting rooms, copier rooms, and even funding –without taking any equity. There’s few VCs in Silicon Valley that can boast that type of model.

For startups, even the little things matter, from impressing clients in a real meeting room (rather than meeting at starbucks) or having a real work space, as you know there are few garages in China, so the garage startup is virtually non-existent.

“He said, “we promote applied R&D through funding schemes, infrastructure support, collaboration with Mainland and overseas research institutes. We also endeavor to grow an innovation culture in the community. Most recently, we launched five new R&D centers, in which the Government will invest over US$256.41 million (HK$2 billion). And we will roll out Science Park Phase 2 starting 2007.” -reports HK Economic Trade Office

There were several floors to this amazing building, which also housed product design companies (University of HK was just a few steps away) and had gallery areas to show off new products. For companies that met their three year goals in the program, they were elligable for funding, to launch their company further. As I understand it, a company has to apply to get this special kind of grant, and a few of the companies I met were happy to be there.

While there are some startup incubators around (I think Francine Hardaway would know) in the United States, I’ve never heard of a government sponsored one with so many benefits.

I met with Amanda, who showed me her product Jijija (Which means chatter in Chinese). They help ecommerce and social networks or even media websites become more efficient by providing behavioral based recommendations. This is a viable model as gestures (unspoken actions) can often be more powerful than what users say they will do. Don’t be fooled by their Chinese website, they plan to head globally, although I have the master list of others in their space.

I also checked out ReSpread an do it yourself email marketing tool that has interesting CRM features, for the email marketer, this is an interesting asset for the small and medium sized company.

I spent times with the founders of another company, who wished to remain stealth, they provided me with amazing insight about the Chinese web culture as it applies to the web, you’re seeing that output in other posts.

Innocentre AtriumInnocentre EnterpriseInnocentre CopyroomInnocentre meeting roomInnocentre CafeteriaInnocentre CafeteriaInnocentre AtriumJiJiJa team (and mascot)Picture 1102Picture 1104

Hong Kong’s Cyberport: “Hong Kong’s IT Flagship”

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CyberPort (Outblaze offices on floor 11)

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(See Google Map)

This is a special “Asian” edition of Silicon Valley Sightings, a photoblog series I’ve been doing for a few months.

Cyberport, a $3.89 billion futuristic high-tech campus is a mixed use facility that has housing, a shopping mall, and four major towers for tech companies. It’s located on the southern area of Hong Kong Island, right on the water, nestled between green dramatic jade hills. It’s home to companies such as Cisco Systems, CMGI, Hewlett-Packard, Hikari Tsushin, Hua Wei, IBM, Legend (now Lenovo), Microsoft, OutBlaze, Oracle Corporation, Silicon Graphics, Softbank, Sybase and Yahoo!.

Cyberport is being developed on a 24-hectare site at Telegraph Bay on Hong Kong Island in Hong Kong. The project aims to build a community interconnected by state-of-the-art broadband network consisting of four office buildings, a five-star hotel, a retail entertainment complex and about 2,800 deluxe residential homes, leading to an interactive environment that will be home to a strategic cluster of about 100 companies and 10,000 professionals in the IT and creative industries” –WikiPedia

There are shared media resources (in case you need rendering power from dozens of blade servers) a motion capture facility if you’re going to build games, library and resource center, the official website has more details. There’s a mall for entertainment, there’s restaurants, and a state of the art movie theater that’s frequented on the weekends by the family crowd.

It’s not quite a utopia, as critics of Cyberport have debated the role of the development group, and the actual number of tennents and usage of the campus, success hasn’t yet been declared. “Meanwhile, Cyberport – Hong Kong’s “IT flagship” and Hong Kong Disneyland have been disappointing. The former has little in the way of innovation and exists essentially as another property development rent spinner, not a real IT hub.” reports Asia Sentinel.

Best of all, it’s a 15 minute boat ride to Lamma island, a resort like rural get away with restaurants, beaches and hiking, my friends at Outblaze took me there for lunch, see photos.

Below: Pictures from the Cyberport campus


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Silicon Valley Sightings: The Stanford Palo Alto Dish

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A very visible landmark of Palo Alto from 280 is the large satellite dish, which locals refer to as “The Dish”, the official site The Stanford University Dish. There’s a hiking trail around it, that takes about one hour to do the loop (3.5 miles). It’s been written up by many locals as a great walk (see yelp), which I’ve been known to hike on weekend mornings.

“Stanford foothills, Junipero Serra Boulevard and Stanford Avenue (be careful where you park, there’s lots of restricted parking nearby)
Often called the Dish Walk (because of a satellite receiving dish crowning the mountain), this network of paths and trails around the Stanford foothills west of Junipero Serra Blvd. offers numerous hillside trail runs and hikes. With sweeping views of Skyline Ridge as well as Palo Alto all the way down to the bay, this park is a favorite among locals.” (Palo Alto guide)

The hills surrounding the dish were recently torched this past summer, PodTech video crew ran out and filmed it, it’s across the street from Headquarters.

Who’s seen walking the dish? Blogger Guru Shel Israel and Giovanni Rodriguez!


PodTech’s coverage of the Palo Alto hills fire

Jr dish!View of Stanford campusAfter the fire


(Silicon Valley Sightings is an ongoing PhotoBlog that captures the intersection of Tech Culture in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area, check out the archives. All photos by Jeremiah Owyang)

Silicon Valley Sightings: Oracle’s Emerald Towers “The DataBase”

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Oracle HQ

(Above: The architecture of the Oracle towers cleverly resemble a “Data Base Stack”)

I was in Redwood Shores this last week meeting Singapore’s US Country Director to discuss the web industry in Asia. On the way over, I stopped by their gorgeous headquarters in Redwood Shores to take a few pictures (Map) or check out the 3D streetview. It houses thousands of talented employees, and is known to cause traffic jams on the nearby freeway 101.

Yes, the architecture of the company looks like it’s signature product, the Oracle Database, the “stack” is what you will often see in web application or network architecture documents, they look like a series of ‘hockey pucks’ stacked on top of each other, see examples. This campus can be seen from the major artery freeway 101 from miles away, and was even the set for the movie by Robin Williams Bicentennial man.

I’ve always been impressed with their campus, it’s the former location of Marine World USA (history of Redwood Shores), and they still have a salt water pond, affectionately known as “Larry’s Lake” after the CEO and founder, Larry Ellison (his Japanese “Castle” down the freeway was on the market for $25 million, includes one a kind driveway). I’m told there are still manta rays in the lake, but I’ve never seen one, perhaps it’s only visible from high up in the towers. You can learn more about Larry’s colorful past, he’s quite the Silicon Valley cowboy.

Redwood Shores used to be the marsh and salt farm of the bay area, it was filled in decades ago, and is home to gorgeous homes on the water, and many beautiful corporate campuses. The average home price? Often over one million dollars, median family income is $200,000. Many of the homes have docks connected to their backyard where owners can have boats, and travel about –much like the canals of Venice.

Oracle’s empire has spread past the towers, they now expand to other buildings across the street, and have recently expanded to Pleasanton, with the acquisition of PeopleSoft in June 2005. At one point in my career, I almost worked at Oracle, I was interviewing to the web director of some of their websites. I’ve got a lot of friends who live in the area, or worked at Oracle, it’s really a gorgeous area.


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If you know any interesting trivia about Oracle or it’s campus, be sure to leave a comment.

(Silicon Valley Sightings is an ongoing PhotoBlog that captures the intersection of Tech Culture in the San Francisco Silicon Valley Bay Area, check out the archives. All photos by Jeremiah Owyang)