An Innovator in California

Sources: California Dreamin‘ on Forbes,

 

Almost a year ago, in February 2016, Ghislaine and I decided to move with our children to the United States.

Instead, we landed in California.

A State with half the population but the same GDP as France, which voted for Hillary, has a spectacular weather – best enjoyed in its gorgeous natural parks – and self driving cars everywhere that will fly as soon as legislation and infrastructre are in place.

If you enjoy a solid mix of sunshine, culture and technology, that can feel like the center of the world. And I sometimes wonder, is mankind’s historical journey a symbolic stretch from the Rift Valley to the Silicon Valley? Have I reached the the Promised Land?

I’m not the first and won’t be the last. It’s a condition, and it has a name: the California Dream.

The California Dream

The Golden State ows its name to the legend of Queen Calafia, ruler of an island paradise inhabited by beautiful Amazon warriors using gold weapons. Enough to inspire Cortes to sail to the West Coast, in the first of many gold rushes which culminated in 1849 and forged the Californian culture.

Nobody made money from gold. But everybody learned the value of failure and iteration. Sounds familiar? It is at the core of farming, drilling for oil, producing movies, flying aircrafts and more recently producing self driving cars and designing artificial intelligence.

But most of all, it is at the core of the innovation culture which has become, wave after wave of dreamers, entrepreneurs, artists and scientists, the greatest wealth accumulated in this region.

And it spawned the California Dream, the psychological motivation to gain fast wealth or fame in a new land. These rushes all heavily rely on immigration and to this day 65% of Silicon Valley’s population with a bachelor’s degree was born in another country.

Including the both of us.

involve population turnover, tight real estate, drastic inequalities, they  and

To me, it feels like the center of the innovation world. Innovation is not a culture or a passion in California, it’s a religion. It has prophets such as Gregory Bateson and Joy Paul Guilford, temples with the Stanford D School and Ideo, and a vast clergy ranging from Elon Musk to (…)

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