I am writing this Sharpe Byte while sitting at the San Francisco Airport waiting for my flight home after a week of visiting wineries, hiking the backwoods, and staying one step ahead of the ravaging wildfires.

California is a fascinating state. Its economy is the 5th largest in the world having launched most of the technologies now shaping the globe. This is the state where ridiculously high taxes, severe housing shortages & soaring fuel prices – with a gallon of gas costing nearly double that same gallon in Texas –  are just part of the daily routine.

Silicon Valley’s Apple Park in Cupertino, California

It’s a state of massive contradictions drenched in sunshine, agronomical delights, and an army of brilliant people willing to tolerate all its craziness for the sake of working in some of the most cutting-edge tech companies on the face of the earth. Do you want to transform the soon to be trillion dollar gaming industry?  Then join Google’s Stadia development team in Los Angeles or Mountain View, CA. Do you want to end man’s reliance on carbon and put a dagger in the heart of the internal combustion machine? Check out Tesla in Palo Alto. Thinking of helping to build a rocket that will take humanity to Mars or launch tens of thousands of low earth satellites? There is always SpaceX, which is headquartered in Hawthorne, CA. Or, what if you simply want to replace the current monetary system? See Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, now working on the Libra Cryptocurrency.


Berkeley is technically outside the border of the Valley in Oakland, just across the bay from San Francisco, but then who really worries about borders when you are hiring the most brilliant people in the universe to upend the established order at its very binary digit. This is the home of Steve Jobs – who spent every waking moment thinking of ways to take a hammer to the wall https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

The point is non-debatable – the most brilliant companies in the world, coming up with the most techno brilliant ideas redefining how we do everything – are pretty much nestled up next to one another, within 1,854 square miles, and a population of 3 million. Every time I visit the Valley I am immediately taken away by just how many smart people there are riding public transit who code on their MacBooks waiting for their stop. This is a place people come to make a difference, even if the difference they make, causes AOC and most of Washington want to holler.


This place is uber techno smart (and yes – Uber’s HQ is in San Fran) and intent on not just changing the world – but obliterating the old established order cubit by cubit. On the very same afternoon that I’m sipping Cabernet with notes of chocolate, hints of cherry, and Cavendish, Google announces it had achieved quantum supremacy (is the singularity really near???) with its 54 cubit Sycamore processor.

IBM, Google, etc. engaged in a Super Smash Brothers Ultimate Battle Royale


According to Google, its computer can solve in minutes what it would take the most advanced supercomputer in the world 10,000 years to achieve. IBM immediately called bull, claiming their supercomputer could do it in days – and the popular press – I’m talking journals like Quantamagazine – jumped into the middle of the physics melee like it was covering a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate e-fight.  


“I favor wine in a box to overpriced pinot noir – I have kids to get through college.”

First, let me be very clear.  I am hardly a wine snob. I favor wine in a box to overpriced pinot noir – I have kids to get through college.  And second, I don’t for a nanosecond understand how a quantum computer works. Who really does? What I do know is that this debate has huge implications for all mankind And the action is happening in places like Santa Barbara, CA — and not Austin, Houston, Denver …. or Tampa.


We just don’t rate in this debate.
And why you ask should we care?
Because just as Sputnik introduced the space economy – which is now bearing fruit for countless companies dependent upon geospatial technology, quantum computing may well blow the lid off of every conceivable Industry dependent upon algorithmic equations and digital hardware to solve complex problems for the purpose of…well…everything.
Every imaginable product that depends on computers – which today means nearly every product in the world –  from banking to healthcare, iPhones to toothbrushes, batteries to cars, and every part within the vehicle, will be directly impacted.
3D technology, and the nascent AR & VR industry – which will create Kevin Kelley’s “Mirrorworld” explained in this Wired article –  will directly benefit … and it’s being built in California.
You might argue that it does not matter where it’s happening, but I disagree.
Despite Thomas Friedman’s popular & somewhat debunked argument that the world is flat and therefor anyone, anywhere can engage in the new-world-technology order. Place matters. Where you sip your espresso and converse with other brilliant people matters. Where you work matters. And where the talent that builds tomorrow’s technology platforms concentrates matters.  Today that aggregation remains in Silicon Valley – which is why California’s economy is so powerful and its future – despite ridiculously high costs of living, droughts, wildfires and all the rest –  is hot.
This is the place where it pays to work In tech, or perhaps be a firefighter. Can we compete?  Should we even try?   Robert Morris – in his brilliant new book on Thomas Edison wrote that he would sit and contemplate solutions to problems with near endless concentration, thinking he would rather solve great problems than go watch a baseball game. I do happen to love sports, but Edison gave us many of the inventions we take for granted. He changed the world – through enormous focus. And interesting enough – he did it much while living in Florida. So there is hope.
To learn what we and others can do to get in the game – Join me at 39,000 ft for a high flying adventure to America’s most innovative and productive locations in the world.