Mon11242014

News

LA council votes to delay community center update

LA council votes to delay community center update


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council voted to delay adoption of a community center conceptual design plan last week. The plan includes elements from a design charette held earlier this fall, left.

The Los Altos City Council last...

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Schools

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms

Scientists bring experiments into MV classrooms


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
During a Science is Learning geology lesson, Theuerkauf Elementary School students learn about igneous rocks by observing how sugar changes form when heated.

Hundreds of local elementary students perform experiments w...

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Community

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'

Local actors star in PYT's 'Oklahoma!'


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
PYT’s “Oklahoma!” features, from left, David Peters of Mountain View, Jenna Levere of Los Altos and Kai Wessel of Mountain View.

Time is running out to catch Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Oklahoma!”...

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Sports

Eagles advance

Eagles advance


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High’s Carmen Annevelink, left, and Kristen Liu put up a block against Mountain View. Annevelink totaled 20 kills.

Mountain View High’s out-of-the-gate energy could last for only so long against rival and he...

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Comment

Coping with addictions: Haugh About That?

Preparing to deal with my lifelong addiction, I stood in front of the mirror ready to confess the shame I’d been hiding. The first step to healing, I reminded myself, is to admit something is wrong.

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Special Sections

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One

NASA, Google agreement preserves Hangar One


Bruce Barton/Town Crier
Hangar One, pictured here last January, will be restored under an agreement between Google and NASA.

NASA and Google Inc. forged an agreement last week that allows Google to lease a portion of NASA’s historic Moffett Fede...

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Business

State Street science center closing Nov. 30

State Street science center closing Nov. 30


Ellie Van Houtte/
Helix at 316 State St. is closing after the completion of a one-year grant from Passerelle Investment Co. The science center became a popular destination because of its various exhibits. Town Crier

A popular downtown destination...

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Books

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree

Children's author signs books at Linden Tree


Author Tiffany Papageorge is scheduled to sign copies of new her book 11 a.m. Dec. 6 at Linden Tree Books, 265 State St., Los Altos.

Papageorge’s “My Yellow Balloon” (Minoan Moon, 2014) is a Mom’s Choice “Gold” winner. In the book, the Los Gat...

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People

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

JAMES WINDELL SMITH

January 11, 1939 – November 6, 2014
Resident of Mountain View

James Windell Smith, a 40 year resident of Los Altos, passed away from complications after a post-surgery stroke November 6th, 2014 in Los Gatos, California.

Born on January 11, 1939 on...

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Travel

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine

Olive Sonoma: There's more to the quaint town than wine


Eren Göknar/ Special to the Town Crier
While many day-trippers may think that Sonoma is all about the grapes, the region boasts other delights. Try a biplane ride over the patchwork landscape.

Sonoma, a scenic two-hour drive from Los Altos, boa...

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Stepping Out

LA Stage Company opens 'Fairway'

The Los Altos Stage Company production of Ken Ludwig’s new comedy “The Fox on the Fairway” is slated to run Thursday through Dec. 14 at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

A tribute to the English farces of the 1930s and 1940s, “Fox” is a romp that p...

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Spiritual Life

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am

Author of Jewish historical novel slated at Congregation Beth Am


The Beth Am Women have scheduled “A Conversation with Author Maggie Anton” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 at Congregation Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills.

Anton, winner of the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, will discu...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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LAH resident shares ‘Secrets of Silicon Valley’ in new book


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Sometimes it takes an outsider to accurately describe and shed light on the environment you live in or assume that you know extremely well.

Such is the case with “Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn from the Innovation Capital of the World” (Palgrave McMillan, 2013), Los Altos Hills entrepreneur Deborah Perry Piscione’s exploration of the unique culture of the epicenter of high-tech.

I have lived in Silicon Valley for 30 years, but there were plenty of things I learned from the book.

To be fair, many people, places and events described in the book are familiar, but Perry Piscione has done her homework well. After relocating to the area from the East Coast with her husband and two small children in 2006, she was surprised to discover a very different environment and culture from the one she left behind. Working in Washington, D.C., for example, Perry Piscione noted that “you need to be schooled in the art of war. … I knew no other way – until I moved to the innovation capital of the world.”

The author contends that 10 primary ingredients combine to make Silicon Valley so innovative. She devotes chapters to each of the components, among them: Stanford University, a population of highly motivated people (many of whom are highly educated immigrants), a continual cycle of innovation, the unique qualities of entrepreneurs here, a very different concept of the traditional business model and a different breed of investors.

Then there are softer, less-tangible factors, including services such as the prevalence of startup-friendly law and design firms, high-quality but casual dining establishments, a pleasant lifestyle and the advantages of being raised in such a milieu.

What may be new to readers are some of the anecdotes and details behind the big players. I didn’t know, for example, that Larry Page of Google fame first shopped the concept of applying ranking to Internet searches to a senior associate at Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing – and failed to spark much interest from other local search engine companies. Nor was I aware of the backstory of RPX, a company founded in 2008 to pool resources and proactively buy patents before they could be purchased by nonpracticing entities – often called “patent trolls” – who “exist for the sole purpose of enforcing patents against operating companies,” according to Perry Piscione.

“Secrets of Silicon Valley” also includes a smattering of fun stories about local residents who have experienced success such as Sandra Kurtzig, founder of ASK Computer Systems, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity.

And there are tales of service providers willing to do business a little differently, including Egon Zehnder International, a head-hunting firm that has placed numerous Silicon Valley women on corporate boards, and Y Combinator, a technology incubator in Mountain View that provides startups with mentorship, advice, introductions and, in many cases, seed funding.

Perry Piscione addresses if and how the success of Silicon Valley could be replicated in other states or countries. She notes that several places are poised to pose some real competition, including Israel, China and Chile.

Anyone with an interest in reading about the roots of Silicon Valley’s success should enjoy the book, including those who live in the area and those who may want to re-create it elsewhere. History buffs will enjoy the richness of detail, as will those who participate in nonfiction book clubs.

Longtime Mountain View resident Leslie Ashmore belongs to two book clubs.

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