People everywhere keep trying to ¬duplicate the success of Silicon Valley as an incubator for innovation and wealth. Victor W. Hwang, a Los Altos Hills, Calif., venture capitalist, has been studying what makes the Valley succeed and so many of its imitators fail, and he’s convinced he has found the answer. Not only that, but he’s putting his ideas to the test, trying to foster new versions of the place around the world. How? It’s about how people work together.
“Instead of thinking of Silicon Valley as this exceptional place,” he says, “think of it as a result of the world’s biggest experiment—the opening of the American West. Take people running away from the rest of the world, strangers with diverse experience and talent, and what happens? What emerges is a body of culture and invisible rules, and a mechanism for trusting strangers.” We think of the Wild West as a lawless place, but it was the opposite, Hwang says. And the same goes for Silicon Valley. Both relied on people from vastly different backgrounds and places, driven by passion, coming together to build environments of unusual trust and mutual support.
At age 40, a product of Harvard College and the University of Chicago Law School, Hwang has spent five years as the managing director of T2 Venture Capital, where he has been involved with numerous startups. Trust in Silicon Valley “happens in a million microtransactions,” he says. “It’s sort of understood. In other places they’d think you’re a fool. An entrepreneur in the Midwest will ask you to sign a nondisclosure agreement before he’ll say what he’s doing. In the Valley he’ll blab, he’s so excited. That N.D.A. is a waste.”
Hmm. Doesn’t sound like the sort of argument you hear in multibillion-dollar tech-related patent disputes. But Hwang argues that to develop networks of innovation, you must build “tribes of trust.” His set of rules he has entrepreneurs and investors and others sign: 1) Thou shalt break rules and dream. 2) Thou shalt open doors and listen. 3) Thou shalt trust and be trusted. 4) Thou shalt experiment and iterate together. 5) Thou shalt seek fairness, not advantage. 6) Thou shalt err, fail and persist. 7) Thou shalt pay it forward.
“On the Palestinian West Bank we’ve helped shape the work of 15 to 20 startup companies,
in a fairly isolated place,” he says. “In Bogotá my partner, Greg Horowitt, helped organize a convening point for the ¬entire startup industry.”
Where else should we look for future Valleys? The best places are refugee economies, where people have had to start from scratch. That’s why Israel has become so innovative, Hwang says: “Israel’s an interesting dichotomy, a zero-sum culture of tough negotiators but with a startup community based on collaboration and trust. The kibbutz was the foundational culture.”
Which American businesses get this right? Pixar. “They were so afraid of ¬becoming big and successful, they designed everything around a culture of continuing nascent creative talent. Also a lot of ad agencies. They have had to systematize the process of creativity.”
Hwang and Horowitt just published a book, The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Regenwald, 2012). The title reflects their belief that you have to see the Valley and the relationships it requires as a living environment, not an economic system. But isn’t a rain forest a place of brutality and lawlessness? “When we were in a natural state we all lived in highly trusting communities,” Hwang insists. “This actually reflects how human nature was at its inception.”
In their debut business title, two venture capitalists offer an insightful, forward-thinking assessment of what makes
Silicon Valley tick.
If Silicon Valley can be held up as a living, breathing example of American ingenuity, why haven’t we been able to recreate it elsewhere? Hwang and Horowitt suggest that Silicon Valley is an innovation ecosystem they liken to a rainforest—hence, the book’s title. Thinking of Silicon Valley as a living biological system “helps innovators ‘tinker’ together in the same way that atoms ‘tinker’ together in natural biological systems ... [to] discover more valuable recipes for combining and recombining ideas, talent, and capital together.” The authors proceed to offer an engaging, highly creative analysis of the workings of a “rainforest,” using Silicon Valley as the prototype. They present 14 compelling “Rainforest Axioms,” for example, “Axiom #2: Rainforests are built from the bottom up, where irrational behavior reigns,” along with the “Rules of the Rainforest,” “Rule #4: Thou shalt experiment and iterate together.” The authors also explain how to build and measure a rainforest. The text is enhanced by well-designed graphic illustrations and explanatory charts. Hwang and Horowitt write with authority and wit, carefully backing up their theory with substantive examples. Readers get the feeling that the authors have unveiled a very big, important concept, one that could serve as the basis for intentionally, methodically developing other “rainforests” similar to Silicon Valley. However, they acknowledge that following the Valley’s winning formula is challenging, suggesting that “The Rainforest concept does not come naturally to many leaders” and that it requires “a new active capitalism” to create a rainforest. While Silicon Valley may not be entirely unique, replicating its ecosystem is no easy task.
1.The Asia Rules must satisfy ICPC spirits and priority:
a. Geographic balance for the entire Asia – Balance is not by
b. For the Asia site performance/growth 1 - Number of unique universities
c. For the Asia site performance/growth 2 - Number of unique teams
d. Special award teams (0-3 teams) by Asia Director each year.
(Team receiving this award must be ranked 15 or better in an Asia
Regional site and the home university must have made substantial contribution
to Asia Regional contests.)
Steering Committee and Contest Advisory Council.
see detail guidelines in Specific 2012 Asis Rules.) Contest
Councils have no executive, supervising or management authority over contest
site steering committee. Contest Councils have advisory, assisting, and
coordinating responsibilities to committee and recommendation duty to Asia
Director for host nomination in all levels.Contest steering committee is semi-autonomous and is reporting to Asia
3.Members of ICPC
voting members of Asia Council consists of one vote from each Asia contest site
steering committee and one vote from each approved Asia contest sub-council.
The Asia Council meets once per year during the World Finals RCD symposium.
(Next meeting: June 30, 2013 at St. Petersburg, Russia.)
will be only sub-contest(s) under each Asia Regional Site Contest from 2012. (Before
2012, there were sub-site contests under each Asia Regional Site Contest and
they will not exist for 2012 and after.)
registration must be entered thru sub-contests. Teams are promoted (copied)
from sub-contests to Asia Regional On-site Contest by contest steering
committee. No direct registration is
allowed to Asia Regional on-site contests.
for site participation initial scores will only count teams accepted and
solving at least one problem in the sub-contests and in Asia Regional On-site
contests. The 70-25-5 formula will be applied to the site initial score calculation:Total number of distinct universities 70%; total number of distinct teams beyondthe first team 25%; total number of teams in
the provincial and national (non-Asia
host) contests 5%. The site initial participation score will be the sum of
reduction factors due to double registration:
reduction factor example:
the percentage of students with double registration is 80% in China, for
example, then the site reduction factor will be 0.6 = (0.2 + 0.2+ 0.8) / 2. The
final site participation score is the result of initial score multiplied by the
contest participant can register at most two sub-contests in Asia and his/her
team may be promoted to at most two Asia Regionals.
Finals Teams Allocation Formula for Asia 2012:
1.Contest Site Basic Slot Shares – historical
of WF slots allocated to Asia).
a. Add the number of WF
teams from the last two years within each administrative sub-region to obtain
the preliminary scores for each administrative sub-region.
b. The preliminary administrative
sub-region scores are distributed to each site proportional to the site participation
scores to obtain the basic site scores.
c. The site basic scores
are then normalized to 40% of the WF slots to obtain the Basic site slot
2.Contest Site Bonus Slot Shares (60% of WF
a.The bonus score for each
site is obtained by adding:
The current year site performance
(site participation score) – 40%;
the growth of the site or
area (increase site participation from last year) - 40%; and the innovation of contest
site plus the need of the Asia growth -20%.
b.Each site bonus score is
normalized to 60% of WF slots to obtain bonus site
c. The slot share for each site is the sum of
Basic and Bonus slot shares.
d. The teams advanced in
each site are decided by applying 0.3 – 0.6 - 1.0 formula within each administrative sub-region
until slot shares of all sites in the administration sub-region are exhausted.
(Asia Director may elect different formula other than that of 0.3-0.6-1.0when the situation demands.) The formula of
0.3 – 0.6 – 1.0 indicates 0.3 for foreign team and 0.6 for repeated domestic
team to encourage international participation and to take care of the double
slots (0-3 slots)
Discretional slots by Asia Director are for the growth of ICPC
Asia, for the contribution by a host university to Asia contests, and for the
special award. (Teams receiving these slots must be ranked 15 or better in a
offered by a steering committee
A contest site steering committee may offer slot to a team from
administrative sub-region with a criteria approved by Asia
III.Absence in WF by an advancing team
the team’s obligation to do everything to attend World Finals once the team has
accepted the WF invitation. If the advancing team can not participate the WF
for any reasons including visa issue, examination schedule conflict, financial
student job status, the team must inform ICPC
headquarter or Asia Director at least two months before the WF. Failing to do
so, the team’s home university will be penalized that the university will be
prohibited from sending team to WF for the next two years. This allows Asia
Director to have enough time to obtain a replacement team. (No team member
replacement can be accepted.) It is very important for all team members to take
care of the passport, visa, school issue, job situation, and travel problem as
early as possible.
2013 International Collegiate Programming Contest Finals
Call for Problems
The ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest is seeking programming problems for the Contest Finals. Contest Finals Judges will be selected from among those who contribute problems. Each contributor must submit at least two problems, each consisting of
* a problem statement
* an estimate of the difficulty of the problem
* a brief description of the algorithm used in the solution
* a solution in C/C++ or Java
* a comprehensive (but not necessarily exhaustive) annotated test data set
All problems must be submitted by Tuesday, September 4, 2012.
This date is firm and cannot be extended.
I will send an acknowledgement when I receive a submittal. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within a week, please contact me again.
The "Guide for Judges and Problem Contributors" is attached. Please read this document carefully.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.
PS: Please forward this to anyone who is interested.