It was in 1848, that a carpenter by the name of James Marshall spotted gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, Calif. Soon hopeful prospectors flooded the Golden State in search of their fortunes.
Today’s gold rush is, of course, the venture capital discovered in them thar hills; with entrepreneurs flooding the Valley in search of their fortunes. Back then, as is the case now, most of those fortunes were actually made selling picks and shovels to the miners. But that’s another story.
San Francisco became a hub for miners and a small port town of only about 200, in 1846, to 36,000 people by 1852 and 150,000 by 1857.
Being the major west coast port of the day, ships were common and more than mining, agriculture and construction were booming; all back-breaking jobs.
And pants frustratingly tore. Yes, pants.
A young entrepreneur by the name of Strauss noticed the strength of the canvas, sailing ships in the substantial wind of the San Francisco bay and got his hands on some supply.
White sail canvas pants made for dirty pants but a nice deep dark blue color, reminiscent of the sea perhaps, or just the dye that was readily available, hides quite a bit of dust and dirt.
And the rest is history.
Tech doesn’t mean coding and hardware. We’re making a grave mistake in society by perpetuating that notion… fostering an idea that STEM education means teaching our kids to code, for example. I think it’s rather arguable that technology shouldn’t even be a distinction of industry at all. Every industry works with technology. What Silicon Valley does well is the application of semiconductors and data…. They’re hardly good at everything “tech.”
With Levi Strauss Silicon Valley got its start in Fashion Tech thanks to his invention of blue jeans.
Know your strengths, as a founder, as a startup, and as a city. Identify a problem and develop the market for the opportunity where that market makes sense.