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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Travelogue - Explains the culture of Silicon Valley
This is a readable and well-reasoned book which describes why so many attempts to replicate the success of Silicon Valley in other locations fail. Often policymakers simply park some venture capitalists next to a research university and expect a new center of innovation. The Rainforest shows that you cannot produce the success unless you understand and replicate the...
Published on February 23, 2012 by Eric Ball

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars What I thInk and feel.
This was a very enjoyable book. I read it to the finish. I think I have to read it again to get some of the concepts.
I hope that I grasp something specific the next time I read it.
It must have been a good book for me to want to read it again.

Your intellectually hungry old dog,

Kenneth
Published 12 months ago by T. Kenneth Kanehara


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Travelogue - Explains the culture of Silicon Valley, February 23, 2012
This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
This is a readable and well-reasoned book which describes why so many attempts to replicate the success of Silicon Valley in other locations fail. Often policymakers simply park some venture capitalists next to a research university and expect a new center of innovation. The Rainforest shows that you cannot produce the success unless you understand and replicate the culture.

Understanding "what goes without saying" is critical to succeeding in any new environment, and the authors make explicit the implicit assumptions that govern behavior among startups, venture capitalists, and large corporates in the Valley. The authors pull from multiple disciplines and integrate a varied set of research and real-world observations to weave an explanation for how and why Silicon Valley works. This makes it an excellent travelogue for those new to the Valley or visiting it - anyone entering startups or venture in California should read it. It also is indispensable for those policymakers and practitioners who want to create innovation ecosystems in other locations in the US and in other countries.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful, February 23, 2012
This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
As a legal practitioner who likes to think he is familiar with the VC industry, I thought the book provided a really unique and compelling insight and analysis of the nature, drivers and future of innovation - things we sort of know are fundamentally important, but that we often just accept without much thought. The book clearly benefits not just from deep first hand industry experience that the authors draw on, but also from their ability to relate much of that, anthropologically and otherwise, to what motivates people and communities to innovate and to other real world examples. There's a ton of books addressing innovation, including with a VC theme, but this one added a fresh perspective, particularly with respect to trying to understand and anticipate future innovation trends and clusters.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's people, not structures, February 23, 2012
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This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
I am an active angel investor in Northwest Energy Angels and I have been impatiently waiting for this book to be published so that I can give copies to everyone I know who is involved in entrepreneurial ecosystems - from charitable foundations who want to encourage economic development to government officials with dispersible funds to entrepreneurs who come to our deal pitch meetings looking for funding. This is the real 4-1-1 - Greg and Victor share with us the real reason entrepreneurial ecosystems can be built and thrive; to work, such systems depend on personal relationships, fairness, the building of trust, and self-policing. Quoting from the book's abstract, "The key factors driving the strength of human innovation ecosystems are: diversity of talents, trust across social barriers, motivations that rise above short-term rationality, and social norms that promote rapid, "promiscuous" collaboration and experimentation among individuals. This is the culture of the Rainforest". This is why Burning Man works, and why Silicon Valley has worked. I recommend prioritizing reading this book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A essential read for policy makers, February 24, 2012
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This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
As someone who has been involved in public policy, venture capital and economic development for over a decade, I only wished this book was available to me when I started. The joke we often used = 'the only place not trying to be Silicon Valley in this world is Silicon Valley itself.' Thats because we focussed only on the tangibles and the first thing we could put a finget to was money as in "Lets have more VC dollars." This is somewhat like 'let them eat cake instead' when the basics have not been thought out.

Victor and Greg have done an incredibly fine job in shaping the content to change this mindset. A chapter in this book "Capital in the Rainforest" points out that mutualism (where both sides benefit) and that V is always bigger than C (as in the entrepreneur matters more than the money). At the heart of this book, the authors are deeply spiritual thought leaders. They say that "making more by owning less" is possible. They essentially debunk the VC approach that early stage means more ownership = higher IRR. They offer elegant and fresh solutions like subsidized capital and 'balancing of interests.'

Strongly recommended for policy makers, economic developers and VCs alike - it will change the way you see startups and your ecosystem. It will make you a responsible member of the forest.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touches the core of innovation--the human element, September 19, 2012
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This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
This book delves into the core of what spawns true innovation--or rather innovative environments--the human element. Innovation is not defined by technology or scientific discoveries or brilliant ideas. It is true that these elements are essential components of the process, but they are far from sufficient. A successful innovation culture requires people, people from all walks of life, all backgrounds and expertises--people are the glue that hold it all together.

This book speaks to changes in culture, in the importance of lowering social barriers and alterations of perspective that are required to bring about the extensive (and often prohibitively difficult) collaboration that is necessary to create self sustaining innovative environments. It challenges ideas that innovation can be "engineered" from the top down and rather presents it as an organic growth, a symbiosis of tacit social contracts. True innovation comes from maximizing serendipity, it cannot be predicted, it cannot be engineered, but its conditions can be fostered. This book will change your perspective on how to enter into collaborative environments, how to interact with diverse parties, and how to change your attitude and behavior to benefit a system (and consequently yourself) that spawns truly revolutionary innovations.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for entrepreneurs and governments, February 23, 2012
This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
It's rare to come across a book that is both entertaining, educational and extremely insightful, but The Rainforest delivers in spades. The authors start with a simple but complex question - how do innovation clusters form - and passionately dissect this issue through extensive interviews, stories, data and real world perspective. In short, it takes a rainforest of smart people who can fertilize great ideas to give life to and sustain an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the pearls of wisdom contained in this book apply not only to individuals interested in innovation and entrepreneurship but also to policymakers from all corners of the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Venture Capital and the Creative Industries Unite, March 9, 2012
This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
As an artist, a musician, The Rainforest fully articulates all of the wisdom those of us in the creative sector intuitively know are essential ingredients to fuel sustainable organic innovation and prosperity. The problem for us has been convincing the rest of the world just how much they matter and our ability to transmit our gifts in these areas in meaning filled way others can appreciate and utilize immediately.

For anyone in the creative sector this book should become your bible. It contains the recipe we need to credibly articulate our value and use it to help others develop new business models to fuel innovation, including our own. Building shared language, trust and iterating together is the language of the arts and Victor and Greg provide a compelling case for why our gifts matter more than ever.

I can't say I ever thought I would believe that two "Extreme VC guys" could write a book that was as an artist a MOST COMPELLING read- but its value to the those of us in the creative sector is profound.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent framework for understanding innovation networks, April 21, 2012
This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
As someone who has been in a two startups that did not make it past initial launches, I found this to be a fascinating book. We felt that we ran out of capital. We were wrong. We never had a strong enough rainforest. We didn't have a deep enough network of trusted resources. This book does a fantastic job of detailing the overall infrastructure needed for innovation and new ventures to prosper. From the seven basic rules (or commandments), to the six key tools, to looking to the study of mushroom infrastructure - anastomosis - as a way of measuring the strength of an innovation network, The Rainforest constantly surprises, enlightens and offers a very rich framework for looking what does and doesn't provide rich environments for new ideas and businesses to flourish.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do you grow an innovation rainforest?, April 25, 2012
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This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
What is an innovation ecosystem? Why certain communities are able to develop it while other fail? And most importantly, particularly these days, how do you build an innovation ecosystem in places where it lacks? The Rainforest, from Greg Horowitt and Victor Hwang, describes perfectly how things in reality are. This great book starts with a very simple point. When building an innovation ecosystem the most important thing is not the `ingredients' but the `recipe'. This is a great book and a very interesting reading about the inner nature of innovation. It will not give you the recipe to build an innovation ecosystem, but the map so that anyone can build its own.

I wrote more on my blog: "how do we grow the Italian rainforest?" [...]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, March 9, 2012
This review is from: The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Paperback)
I found Greg and Victor's book very enjoyable and insightful. I liked the rain forest analogy as well as how they "refreshed" standard theories like Deming and CBT in the context of their work and didn't discount them. They chapter on Capital in the Rain Forest we very enlightening. Overall I think some of the concepts and illustrations are very useful in cross cultural negotiations.
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The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley
The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley by Victor W. Hwang (Paperback - February 21, 2012)
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