Is San Diego the next tech hub?
Could it be even better?
The rise of Silicon Valley can be seen as one masterful convergence.
If Stanford University was the gas fueling the tech industry, its alumni were
the ones pushing the pedal—and they were doing so right next to campus.
The stories are those of the quintessential tech startup: William Hewlett and David Packard—the eponymous duo behind
HP—were Stanford graduates who began in a Palo Alto garage;
Jerry Yang and David Filo founded Yahoo! after graduating; and
Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed Google’s page rank algorithm as graduate students. It was the silicon in transistors that
made the name, and ever since, the valley in question has been a
stronghold for both established companies and every eager tech
upstart hoping to break into an already crowded space.
San Diego doesn’t necessarily have much silicon to speak of,
but start comparing notes and the question begs to be asked.
UC San Diego is fast feeding the talent in technology industries,
Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla has encouraged faculty and alumni to go forth and make innovative businesses, and companies
like Qualcomm and Cymer, Inc. lend a firm footing for the region’s next generation.
So, could San Diego be the next Silicon Valley? Or is it in
another league altogether?
lOCATiOn, lOCATiOn, lOCATiOn
Paul Martini, CEO and co-founder of iboss Cybersecurity with
his brother Peter, made recent headlines by canceling the company’s planned move to Austin, Texas—another up-and-coming
city for tech talent. Rather than move iboss, which builds and
markets hardware and cloud-based technology to enhance network security against cyberattack, the brothers made the conscious decision to grow their business in San Diego. For Martini,
the choice was largely based on recruiting new employees—they
plan to more than double their current workforce, and San Diego
provided more than enough talent to anchor the company.
But there was another factor as well, one made plain by the
company’s purchase of the recently vacated Science Applications
International Corporation (SAIC) data center in La Jolla, overlooking Interstate 5 and, not coincidentally, Martini’s alma mater.
“More important for us was being strategically positioned next
to UC San Diego,” Martini says. “Look at the way UCSD is such
a research-oriented university. It causes students to be very creative as well as analytical. It’s teaching how to be more progressive in the way [students] think about solving a problem. In our
space, dealing with cyber warfare, you’re basically a researcher
every single day.”
B Y AN THON Y KING