Silicon Valley – Silicon Beach
The four days l spent last week at Stanford and the heavy dose of extraordinary wealth on high display from San Jose to San Francisco causes me to believe deeply in the ‘thought-connection’ between Silicon Valley and Silicon Beach.
The hard fact is there is substantial merit to tying charitable activities on the RMS Queen Mary with the larger vision of Silicon Beach. Doing so would widen its appeal (especially to help disadvantaged youngsters) and narrow resistance to “gifting for a ‘floating, for-profit hotel’. Big upsides for everyone.
Also, there’s really no good reason to automatically cede the “ownership” of the appellation “Silicon Beach” to Santa Monica. Besides a few tech lofts and a fair number of 2-5 person start-ups, not much else supports Santa Monica’s claim of being “the epicenter” of technology in Southern California.
Now, here comes the RMS Queen Mary!
Parked at Long Beach is an Ocean Liner that weighs 82,000 tons, is ten stories tall, 350 yards long with more deck space than Yankee Stadium. She has more staterooms and more conference space than most of the largest hotels in the world. We are talking BIG!
The Proposal – A World Class Mash-Up
All of it (as proposed) to be soon “Under Construction” —- to cause jaw-dropping Next Generation Digital Age stuff like 3-D printers, robots and 3-D exhibits streamed in real time from Google-funded museums in London, Paris (and soon) from museums all around the world. Plus globally recognized speakers talking about the largest problems in the world, appearing either virtually in high-definition or physically – take your choice. Plus world-class auctions and world-class award staging. Plus entertainment, fine eateries, bars, weddings, dance and romance – all of it in ways that will enhance existing lease agreements.
Result? The Queen could be/should be the largest, most amazing, most futurist experimental laboratory in the world today. A near-perfect example of a public-private-charitable activity organized to speed good ideas to invention and onto the marketplace. She should be/could be the Gathering Point for dreamers, schemers, power brokers and Movers and Shakers from all over the planet.
What does it take to make this happen? A 180-day Memorandum of Agreement between Long Beach and the RMS Queen Mary Foundation. One that comes without a dime from the City or the Operators who lease the Queen now. The Foundation would put on board a veteran business/ technology executive vetted by highly respected Foundation leaders with a decade-long ‘on-board’ management history.
While the basis of the MOU could be drafted on the back of an envelope, it would incorporate two key obligations: (a) To bring the Queen Mary into the Digital Age and (b) for the on-board employee to act as the ‘Owner’s Representative’ for the City. (See Tasks/Responsibilities here)
At minimum, the City gets “eyes and ears” for its multi-million dollar Property. At maximum, Long Beach gains from the same stuff that spawned Silicon Valley. It’s no small thing – this idea called “Silicon Beach”.