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Unformatted text preview: We thank John Freeman, AnnaLee Saxenian, and David Vogel for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article and Adrian Bangerter and Chip Heath for sharing their questionnaire on the Mozart effect. Many research assistants helped with this project and the authors are especially grateful to Ara Cho. The authors thank California Management Review for funding a 2004-2005 doctoral student fellowship for Chris Rider. CALIFORNIA MANAGEMENT REVIEW VOL. 48, NO. 1 FALL 2005 6 A Garage and an Idea: W HAT M ORE D OES AN E NTREPRENEUR N EED ? Pino G. Audia Christopher I. Rider S ilicon Valley started with a garage (or so the story goes). In a small garage in Palo Alto, California, in 1938-1939, William Hewlett and David Packard experimented with numerous electronic devices, including a prototype for an audio oscillator. That oscillator eventu- ally enabled the pair of entrepreneurs to launch Hewlett-Packard (HP), one of the largest high-tech companies in the world today. Over the next 50 years, numerous technology companies—including Apple, Cisco, and Intel—would be founded in Silicon Valley, the world’s foremost high-tech region. In 1989, the garage at 367 Addison Avenue was designated California Historic Landmark Number 976 and a plaque declaring “Birthplace of Silicon Valley” was placed at the front of the garage. The HP garage is the most celebrated example of a popular belief in the United States—that it is common for entrepreneurs to start companies in garages (hereafter, “the garage belief”). Indeed, U.S. business history offers numerous stories of successful entrepreneurs (e.g., Walt Disney, Steve Jobs) whose garages served as early workshops for the products and services that eventually launched prominent U.S. businesses. However, the garage signifies more than just a commonly perceived locus of entrepreneurship. Rather it is a symbol that conjures up some common images of entrepreneurship, including the inspira- tional generation of innovative ideas, old-fashioned hard work and American ingenuity, bootstrapping resources to chase a dream, a rejection of the status quo, and the freedom of working for oneself. This article explores the realities of the entrepreneurial garage by address- ing three main questions. First, how popular is the garage belief? Second, how accurate is the garage belief (and what other stories might be more accurate than the garage)? Third, why is the garage belief popular and why does it persist? For many “garage entrepreneurs,” the garage (or basement or dorm room or kitchen) is primarily a temporary logistical arrangement and not a prerequi- site for entrepreneurship. Moreover, the garage is not nearly as common to entrepreneurship as is commonly believed. The garage entrepreneur is a con- temporary legend that obtains its staying power not from its accuracy but, rather, from its ability to tap common emotions in the portion of the American public that is interested in entrepreneurship (i.e.,public that is interested in entrepreneurship (i....
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- Spring '08