• Tolerance of failure (ability to recover from bankruptcy and try again, sadder but wiser);
  • Tolerance of disloyalty (capacity to move from company to company without losing status);
  • Risk seeking spirit;
  • Reinvestment in the community (many of the profits went into new local companies);
  • Enthusiasm for change, or nimbleness to adapt to changing circumstances;
  • Promotion on merit; openness to immigrants and women;
  • Obsession with the product (the engineering mentality);
  • Collaboration (mutual assistance and discussion);
  • Variety (a mix of different types of companies in the cluster; if one doesn't make it, another might);
  • ''Anybody can play" attitude (lack of jealousy, because anyone might make it big).

One additional factor was proposed during the Knowledge Assessment discussions in PEI. Many of the successful enterprises that arose in Silicon Valley were described as a marriage of a technology with a medium: information technology with Hollywood. Thus we may add one more to the Economist list:

  • A medium or a message that provides a content link among firms.

Silicon Valley is not to be proposed as a model for Prince Edward Island, but it is instructive to see which factors are indeed present, and to attempt to make the most of them. Silicon Valley is one form of economic ecosystem that breeds certain kinds of companies; others will have different environmental conditions and may be suitable for different types of enterprises. In particular, the indices for Silicon Valley must be scaled down to correspond to the population, and indeed the aspirations, of PEI—Silicon Valley does not have a notable tourist industry nor a majority of long-term residents who wish to preserve their way of life. With this caveat, let us examine the "classic" indicators.

Labor Pool

As an island with a small population, PEI can not pretend to have a large labor pool, but there is a presumed reserve consisting of graduates, who leave the Island for work or advanced study because they find limited opportunities, and the Islanders-away (and others), who would welcome an opportunity to return or settle in the PEI environment. The existing PEI workforce is described as inventive, loyal, and reliable, and wage levels are low in comparison with the rest of North America.

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