Silicon Valley Diary – Part 1

Google Sign Mtn ViewHey everyone, it’s Thea here again reporting to you live from the valley of silicon.

Well, I’ve been here a week already and it’s been a non-stop trip so far. I’ll reckon I’ll need a holiday to recover from my holiday.

I’ll be honest with you, trips to California always sound much more glamorous than they actually are, for me it’s just going home. But home to a place where every other corner practically has a tech company on it and every daily car ride is, invariably, past at least one of the big names we’re all familiar with now, be it Yahoo, Apple, Cisco, Google, IBM etc.

Something in that still remains cool to my inner geek. It’s a little inspiring in some way to be surrounded by these global companies. It’s like the valley is steeped in an entrepreneurial spirit that isn’t quite the same anywhere else I’ve ever been.

Scotland, of course, has had its amazing contributions in terms of inventions (television; telephones; penicillin; antiseptics,…hello), but, arguably, not particularly in its global start ups.

Nope nowhere else on earth is quite like the valley.

ONE FOR THE BOOKS

My first weekend was spent in Santa Cruz at an intensive writing conference – discussing various project ideas with other would-be writers. Additionally, we heard experiences of authors, editors, agents and marketing experts.

Much time was spent going over the new paths for publishing (mainstream press, self publishing, different types of ebooks, etc), as well as the various opportunities used to promote works through different social media channels.

Did you know there are 1000 books a day published by mainstream publishers? Or that 47,000 novels were published in America last year? Or that on Amazon: Kindle books are outselling all print books?

Well, I sure didn’t…

Over all I have to say that writing conference was an experience that managed to be both inspirational and deflating in equal measure.

WE CAN ALL BE JOURNALISTS THESE DAYS

The past two days were spent at Stanford University attending a conference: the Eighth Innovation Journalism – how innovation is affecting the business of journalism – from mobile publishing to collective intelligence.

At NSDesign we’re lovers of technology, trends, and of course social media so this conference, too, was right up my street.

There were students, technologists, journalists, and entrepreneurs from all four corners of the globe discussing the many ways we’re all connecting and changing history through stories. Not a new subject – it’s one we covered recently here on our blog and how journalists are using social media for news gathering.

Never has this all been more apparent than in the major global stories over the past year – from the Iceland Ash Cloud, to Japan’s earthquake and Tsunami, to protests in Egypt, to the floods and tornadoes across America.

These incredible events, coupled with today’s mobile technology (smart phones, handheld video cameras etc), mean that any one of us has an opportunity become a citizen journalist if we’re in the right (or wrong) place at the time of the event.

The whole landscape of news, publishing, and indeed interaction is changing and what can feel like break-neck speeds. It’s certainly been a thought-provoking and interesting time to be alive, has it not?

In part two of my Silicon Valley Diary, I’ll be sharing some of the latest hot sites and exciting apps that people have been talking about here in the valley.

Check back Monday for that, OK?

So until then, I’m Thea, saying “See Ya!” 🙂

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