Travel

Center of technology: Silicon Valley

We are heading down the famous 17-Mile Drive in California.

As we drive along this road, it becomes clear that this is no ordinary place. We see luxurious homes to our right and left, some even boasting private golf courses. Playing golf by the ocean is a special pleasure all its own. Around here, lots of golf courses crowded with players can be found on the coastline.

We see sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks along the shoreline. At first we think it’s just a few, but then we begin to see more and more. There’s a whole colony that lives around here.

Turkish businessman and friend Bahaeddin Nakiboğlu, whom we met with, began feeding some of the gulls on the beach. The birds seem to be literally attacking his hand, making it clear that either they’re extremely hungry or very used to humans, or perhaps both. Around here, weather conditions change rapidly. The rain starts, and it is actually quite beautiful. We pay a visit to Half Moon Bay, to the south of San Francisco, boasting some of the most beautiful nature of the area. There is a serious wind here, and the ocean reflects it with large waves.

And so we arrive at Silicon Valley, the information technology center of the world. It’s the spot where new innovations are tested, innovations that often wind up changing the way the world uses technology. It is important to note that Silicon Valley did not really come about on its own; it is nourished by nearby universities, notably the world-class Stanford and Berkeley.

While Silicon Valley is a spot where some bring about huge successes, it is also a place where some experience tremendous financial and spiritual losses just trying to realize their dreams. It is a land of opportunity. Most big technology names have headquarters located in Silicon Valley. One could call this place the world’s largest innovation center. It is also a very important spot from the angle of the US economy. An idea can turn in a very short time into something worth millions of dollars; one messaging company saw its worth rise quickly to some $19 billion shortly after it was formed. Yes, this region — which pulls in skilled engineers from all over the world — sees so many ideas and inventions come about every single day. With a population of around 3 million people, Silicon Valley’s residents are only 40 percent American-born. The average per capita income is around $75,000 and notably, Silicon Valley on its own has the economic power of all of Finland.

The Google building

Morning traffic begins at dawn


The people of Silicon Valley work hard. There is already serious traffic by 6:45 in the morning. Cafés open at 5 in the morning, which is perhaps not surprising since some business meetings even happen in cafés here.

There is a building on University Avenue in Palo Alto, known as the “lucky building” — number 165 — because it has been home to companies that started off here but quickly became quite successful such as Google.

We pay a visit to the campus of Stanford University, whose tower and general architecture somehow reminds us of Andalusian architecture. There is a large church right in the center of the university grounds. We also pay a visit to Google headquarters. The work atmosphere looks incredibly comfortable and we notice that people from all over the world work here.

Self-driving car 

We get into a self-driving car. These days, lots of work is being done on this innovative way of getting around. There are developments every day and it is quite possible that soon we will see roads filled with this kind of car. Driverless cars are able to perceive moving and non-moving objects all around them thanks to 360-degree constantly rotating cameras located on their roofs. The data sent by this camera to the “brain” of the car is what allows the car to keep moving, slow down or come to a stop, depending on what is around it.

A display of the first calculator

We see the first calculator on display at the computer history museum here. It is so interesting to see how these first rudimentary machines worked. Calculators have a history that stretches back all the way to 1814 and were sometimes quite huge in size in their first incarnations.

On our tour of Silicon Valley, we see Steve Jobs’s first home and the garage where he started his business. The Apple buildings cover a large area and the products we see emerging today from Apple are all the result of the hard work from those first days of the company. We also stop by the final house Steve Jobs had before he died. We notice the apple trees in the gardens around his house.

In the end, suffice to say that Silicon Valley has become known all over the world. It is the birthplace of many of the innovations we use on a daily basis.

Nurdan ARSLAN
Email: 
nurdan@thelondonpost.co.uk

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