Got a Weekend? 36 Hours in Silicon Valley

Working with people who live, breathe and would sacrifice a first-born child (or maybe a small pet) to Silicon Valley but living in San Francisco, I never really think of Silicon Valley as a “destination place” to spend a weekend. The New York Times travel section, though, disagrees. They devoted one of their popular “36 Hours in…” columns to “the Valley” as its tech rockstars, gurus and ninjas call it and give it a sense of there’s more to do there than just work.

For instance, there’s some restaurants that could easily make a go of it further north in more foodie-centric San Francisco or Napa, a boutique or two to help one think beyond khaki and t-shirts, bars where you might bump into a VC or three, relaxed enough to hear your pitch, hiking and my favorite, Airship Ventures, which will take you up in zeppelin for an aerial view of Apple and Google headquarters, as well as Oracle CEO Larry’s Ellison’s 23-acre Japanese-style compound. (Read more)

Photo courtesy of Airship Ventures.

Australia Retains First Woman PM, Julia Gillard to Lead with a Minority Government in Place

“After 17 days of political limbo, Australia formed a new government Tuesday with Labour [sic] Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the helm. But the parliamentary vote that allowed Ms. Gillard to form a minority government was by the slimmest of majorities and she will have to work hard to prevent it from collapsing, analysts say.

Ms. Gillard’s coalition became prime minister with 76 seats in the 150-member lower house after three independent MPs and one from the Green Party threw their weight behind Labor. The conservative Coalition, led by Tony Abbott, has 74 seats, including one held by a fourth independent.

But this is not a coalition government. Instead, the independents have only committed themselves to supporting the minority government on finance bills and no-confidence motions. That means that Gillard, who deposed her predecessor Kevin Rudd in June, will have to court individual legislators every time she wants to pass legislation. As this is the first minority government in 70 years, that is something Australia’s leaders are not used to doing.” (Read more)

Source: Christian Science Monitor, “Australia’s Julia Gillard Forms New Government on Shaky Ground”.

Is San Francisco the New Epicenter of Silicon Valley?

For years it’s been an open secret – young entrepreneurs and tech-savvy folks who work for the big Silicon Valley conglomerates have been living in San Francisco while commuting to Silicon Valley. After all, does anyone really relocate to northern California to live in Mountain View?

Now it appears that many of these people also did not move to the Bay Area to commute. They’ve started companies in San Francisco proper – not 30 or 40 miles south on the 101 freeway in Palo Alto or San Jose, traditional epicenters of what’s typically considered Silicon Valley.

According to the San Francisco Sunday Examiner, San Francisco has been “beating out South Bay cities for venture capital, boosting key sectors and creating a hotbed of growing firms.” Software companies, social media, gaming, green tech and biotech are leading the pack of industry sectors attracting the VC dollars.

Good news for the entire innovative tech industry in the Bay Area (which includes Silicon Valley and San Francisco): “investors poured nearly $3 billion into Bay Area companies in the past three months – a 100 percent increase from the first quarter.” More than $283 million went to companies located in San Francisco. (Read more)

Photo by KazzaDrask Media. Taken with an iPhone. 

Australia’s First Woman PM Hangs in There

When I arrived in Australia at the beginning of August the country was in the throes of a federal election for prime minister. The campaign had all the stuff of a sensational American slugfest for the nation’s top spot, including a left-leaning single woman who lived with her hairdresser boyfriend vs. a conservative in the George W. Bush mold, a Catholic who talked about family values and sending unwanted immigrants back to where they came from.

Julia Gillard vs. Tony Abbott, Labor vs. Liberal. To debate or not to debate. Should tomato sauce be free with your meat pie? Red budgie smugglers. Rooty Hill. Mark Latham ambushing each candidate for a 60 Minutes ratings scheme. Greens and Independents and the “above the line” option.

I took it all in on the evening news and talk shows – and watched as Australians dutifully went to the polls on August 21 to cast their compulsory votes. From that I thought, Americans could learn a thing or two.

But then, as the returns came in, I got the feeling I had been here before. There was not going to be a decision in this race on election night. Neither party was winning the needed majority of parliament seats to put it in the driver’s seat for the next 3 years. Just like in America in 2000, when the decision came down to counting hanging chads, the word “hang” hung over this election in an eerily similar way. By the next morning it was clear – Australia had a “hung” parliament. (“Well-hung parliament” went around the Twitterverse a time or two, until it was determined that it wasn’t really funny.)

What Australia has going on two weeks later is its first female “caretaker” prime minister, Ms. Gillard, who negotiates daily with four Independents who could sway either way to side with her and Labor or Mr. Abbott (who also negotiates daily) and the Coalition. As of this evening, the 73-73 tie, has swung in favor to Labor, with one of the four Independents now backing Gillard, bringing the tally to 74-73. No one wins until one side has 76 supporters – but with three rural Independents still trying to decide who to back, a 75-75 is entirely possible.

And then what? More should be known next week.

Source: The Ottowa Citizen.

VIDEO: You’re Not Still Writing Resumes, Are You?

Need a job? Try something like this. It was sent in response to an ad for a Project/Product Manager position at Pollenizer, an Australian company that helps web-based businesses grow and flourish.

Ok. So maybe this approach won’t help you land that senior banking executive position…yet. But creative approaches using social media tools to promote your business have been with us for a couple of years now. When your business is you, shouldn’t the same rules apply? Furthermore, a recent Pew study finds that social media is not just for “kids”. Chances are very good that the 50-year-old doing the hiring knows a thing or two about YouTube.

Hat tip to Delimiter for sharing this story.