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January 17, 2008

« The Microgeography of Google | Main | Spiky World »

Silicon Valley has changed it`s stripes more than once before. Now with the coming of green technology, it`s doing it again, largely by reusing its existing talent base, according to the Financial Times.

Under the banner of "clean technology," this latest Valley obsession spans a wide range of technologies and industries. These include alternative energy sources such as solar power and ethanol; technologies geared to energy management and conservation; and new materials and industrial processes with varied environmental benefits.

For Silicon Valley's entrepreneurs, and its venture capitalists, the newness of many of these fields explains much of their attraction ... "We're finding these guys are coming out of the woodwork - guys who did civil engineering in college and had to go into software because that's where the jobs were," says Paul Holland, a partner at Foundation Capital, a local venture capital firm.

Yet the brain drain to the clean-tech industry also draws on something other than pure technical expertise. Thanks to the IT boom, the Valley has been central in training a generation of US entrepreneurs. With new markets opening up in adjacent technology fields, it is only natural that those same executives are now making the switch. Mr Cope says: "You can hire experts from [big companies like] ConAgra, but very few of these people can survive in a start-up environment."

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