|When I was accepted into graduate school at Stanford I didn't have to think twice. Michigan, Georgia Tech, Purdue-they were all immediately forgotten. I'd never even been to California and why I was so certain that this was the place for me to go is a mystery still. Perhaps it is because the myth of California is the myth of America-a divinely beautiful land, full of strength, vitality, and possibility, with natural splendors like Yosemite and a people who lead the nation that leads the world. Even in the mountains of Virginia, where I lived, the myth of California pervades.
Arriving in the Valley in my tiny Honda CRX I marveled at the little differences that I now take for granted. The cars are not Rolls Royces but they are uniformly new and nice--there is a culture of high quality in everything from the manicured lawns to the artsy cinemas. At the time, I couldn't spell entrepreneur much less relate to what one really was. But slowly the culture would break into even my thick head.
I lived on Addisson Street and about four blocks away was the garage where HP started. A block outside announces its significance though I've never seen anyone else reading it. I shared a beer with Jerry Yang and his roommates in his Forest Avenue apartment and heard about the computer stuff that was so distracting him from his thesis; a year before he started Yahoo! I met a woman, who, like me, was in her mid-twenties, though she was a millionaire incongruously early and plotting a year of round-the-world travels.
This place was different! From the cars to the movies to the people it slowly changed who I was and what I thought was possible. And now, I am part of that story, a small part to be sure. It still amazes me how people arrive in Silicon Valley and make a piece of it their own by building a company or developing a technology.
As a venture capitalist, my group makes risky but potentially rewarding, early investments in companies, a tradition that has long gone on here in the Valley. I meet a lot of entrepreneurs, and without exception they are united by a culture in the Valley that pervades a sense of optimism and possibilities. People arrive from all over the world to be part of this culture, Sand Dreams & Silicon Orchards tells the story of how all this came to be.Ian Patrick Sobieski, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Band of Angels Fund, LP
April, 28, 2000