Carl Guardino, CEO of the the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Carl Guardino, CEO of the the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Photo by Chris Jennewein

When Silicon Valley looks at competing innovation economies across the United States, San Diego is on the list.

“You are our competition. How are we doing against each other?” said Carl Guardino, president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, at a gathering Friday of San Diego and business and political leaders.

Guardino listed Silicon Valley’s emerging competitors as Austin, Los Angeles/Orange County, New York City, San Diego and Seattle, and focused on San Diego at the South County Economic Development Council‘s 25th annual South County Economic Summit.

Compared to Silicon Valley, he said, San Diego has easier commuting, homes only half as costly per square feet but less effective elementary education, though “in education we face real tragedies” in both regions.

Guardino noted that both regions have stepped up to improve traffic through an extra sales tax levy. “We’ve both taxed ourselves for transportation improvements,” he said. “Our voters like San Diego voters are visionary.”

The Silicon Valley group was founded in 1978 by David Packard of Hewlett-Packard and represents more than 390 top employers on issues, programs and campaigns that affect the economic health and quality of life in the tech capital.

Guardino said the group’s approach to issues is based on three principles:

  • Data over dogma
  • Winning over whining
  • Being engaged rather than being enraged

He said he’s always glad to share ideas from Silicon Valley with competing regions because “when we collaborate to complete…we can improve all of our economies.”

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.