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Silicon Valley is a region in the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area in Northern California that serves as a global center for high technology and innovation. It corresponds roughly to the geographical Santa Clara Valley. San Jose is Silicon Valley’s largest city, the third-largest in California, and the tenth-largest in the United States; other major Silicon Valley cities include Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Redwood City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Cupertino. The San Jose Metropolitan Area has the third-highest GDP per capita in the world (after Zurich, Switzerland and Oslo, Norway), according to the Brookings Institution, and, as of June 2021, has the highest percentage of million-dollar (or more) homes in the United States.
The word “silicon” in the name originally referred to the large number of innovators and manufacturers in the region specializing in silicon-based MOS transistors and integrated circuit chips. The area is now home to many of the world’s largest high-tech corporations, including the headquarters of more than 30 businesses in the Fortune 1000, and thousands of startup companies. Silicon Valley also accounts for one-third of all of the venture capital investment in the United States, which has helped it to become a leading hub and startup ecosystem for high-tech innovation. It was in Silicon Valley that the silicon-based integrated circuit, the microprocessor, and the microcomputer, among other technologies, were developed. As of 2013, the region employed about a quarter of a million information technology workers.
As more high-tech companies were established across San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley, and then north towards the Bay Area’s two other major cities, San Francisco and Oakland, the term “Silicon Valley” came to have two definitions: a narrower geographic one, referring to Santa Clara County and southeastern San Mateo County, and a metonymical definition referring to high-tech businesses in the entire Bay Area. The term Silicon Valley is often used as a synecdoche for the American high-technology economic sector. The name also became a global synonym for leading high-tech research and enterprises, and thus inspired similarly named locations, as well as research parks and technology centers with comparable structures all around the world.
Due to the personal connection between people and computer technology, many headquarters of companies in Silicon Valley are a hotspot for tourism.
Some appearances in media, in order by release date:
A View to a Kill—1985 film from the James Bond series. Bond thwarts an elaborate ploy by the film’s antagonist, Max Zorin, to destroy Silicon Valley.
Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires – 1996 documentary
Pirates of Silicon Valley—1999 film about the early days of Apple Computer and Microsoft (though the latter has never been based in Silicon Valley)
Code Monkeys—2007 comedy series
The Social Network—2010 film
Startups Silicon Valley—reality TV series, debuted 2012 on Bravo
Betas—TV series, debuted 2013 on Amazon Video
The Internship—2013 comedy film about working at Google
Silicon Valley—2014 American sitcom from HBO
Halt and Catch Fire—2014 TV series, the last two seasons are primarily set in Silicon Valley
Steve Jobs—2015 film
Watch Dogs 2—2016 video game developed by Ubisoft
Valley of the Boom—2019 docudrama about the 1990s tech boom in Silicon Valley
Devs—2020 TV miniseries
Start-Up—2020 South Korean television series, when three artificial intelligence (A.I.) developers from South Korea are offered positions as engineers for the fictional company, 2STO which is located in Silicon Valley.
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