what is special about Silicon Valley, why people think of personal computers as Silicon Valley, why people today think of artificial intelligence as Silicon Valley.
I realized that inventing a new technology is important, usually it's more than one person does it, but anyway it's important, but the impact on society is even more important, because you can invent something that will not be used, you are still a great inventor, but it will not be used that's a limitation, but Silicon Valley has always been very good at understanding how a technology can change the society and they are very good at doing this. So somebody invents the computer, it's a very big machine, but then somebody in Silicon Valley has the idea let's put that machine on a desk, and somebody has the idea let's make it really easy to be used by anybody; and somebody invents the internet and then somebody in Silicon Valley thinks this thing can be used to communicate among ordinary people, from friend to friend, father to son; and then somebody invents the mobile phone, and somebody from Finland invents the smart phone for business people, but then somebody in Silicon Valley thinks let's make it really easy to use and then we can use it daily for everything and we make it also an internet device”.
So Silicon has always been very good at understanding what can I do with a new technology, and today it is not so difficult to understand because we have big companies, but if you go back in time, it is interesting that these technologies were invented in other places and other companies in other places where they were bigger and had more money and they could have done what they wanted with this technology, but they didn't think of it. Now it was Silicon Valley that understood how to use that technology to have an impact on society. So that's really interesting.
First of all, let me tell you what the effect is and then I will analyze why Silicon Valley is so good to do it this thing. Okay you call it innovation, I don't care how you call it, but that's the thing we are focusing on: not the invention itself but the fact that a technology can have an impact on society. So let's first see what is the effect, because I don't want to forget and also it's really what makes Silicon Valley so powerful today.
So what is the biggest company in the world today? Very few people can answer the question. The biggest company by revenue is Walmart, and number two is a Chinese company Sinopec, and number three is probably an oil company. Oil companies are now five of the top ten. If you look at the list of the biggest companies in the world by revenue, there is no Silicon Valley. Those companies have something in common: they're boring and nobody cares about them. You never go and ask so what is the future trend of Sinopec or Walmart. Nobody cares. So Silicon Valley actually does not specialize in the number one company by revenue.
Now there's a company in New York I think that every year does a study about the Global Brands. Global Brands are the brands that have an impact all over the world. I don't remember number one, but it's Apple or Google. And then Facebook is top five. There you get the point. If you look at the Global Brands then Silicon Valley is a big presence, but if you look at the list by revenue there's no Silicon Valley. So Silicon Valley specializes in Global Brands.
Now what does it mean in practice? Virtual reality was invented a long time ago anyway. Artificial Intelligence was invented in 1956. Why were we all talking about Virtual Reality two years ago and realized it was a big thing last year. The whole year there were announcements about Virtual Reality. Because Facebook bought Oculus. Why everybody's talking about artificial intelligence, because Google has Alfago. That's what a global brand does.
The global brand decides what the whole world talks about, the global brand decides what you are asking me today, the global brand decides what I lecture when I go to Shanghai and so on. The global brand decides what is popular, what is hot, so a huge advantage. Walmart does not decide what we do tomorrow morning, Apple decides, Google decides, Facebook decides. So that's the effect, the effect is to create a global brand, not the biggest company in the world. Those companies decide the future, that's the effect.
Now back to the source. So Silicon Valley does not specialize in inventing but specialize in what I call innovation. You can call it something else you know: the impact it has on society. Silicon Valley is a place where the technology comes and people look at it and they are creative with that technology. A technology usually gets invented for the government, military, big business, big banks usually. That's why you invent something. You think of some big, you know, applications. When it comes to Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley looks at it, the society looks at it, and tries to think what can I do with it, and a lot of people mean what fun things can I do with it, because very often it's just for fun, you know, to do something that doesn't exist, so you show it to your friends and your friends say oh that's really cool .
Sometimes it's for personal use: oh wow I can use this for myself to do whatever you know. Facebook was for keeping track of your friends and Google was just because there was no good search engine and so on. So Silicon Valley is very good at hijacking technology. I use the word hijack like you hijack an airplane. The airplane is going from here to there and you hijack it to go somewhere else. Technology is going from the inventor towards government towards military towards big corporations. But Silicon Valley hijacks the technology, it says “wow this technology looks interesting to do something else”.