Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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


Photo By:

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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