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"Silicon Valley" is a metonym for the tech industry generally, with interpretation dependant on context. It's often implied, but occasionally explicitly stated.

See for comparison, "Foggy Bottom" (US State Dept.), "Hollywood" (film industry), "Nashville" (country music), "White House" (US Office of the President, or United States), "Pentagon" (US Department of Defence), "10 Downing Street" (UK / UK Prime Minister), "Westminster" (British Monarchy), "Berlin" (Germany), "Moscow" (Russia), Rome ("The Vatican" / "Catholic Church" / "Pope"), "Vegas" (gambling industry), "Wall Street" (finance), "Madison Avenue" (advertising), "Fleet Street" (British press), "Detroit" (US, sometimes global, auto industry, also R&B music), "Kitchen" (cooking/food generally), "Danish" (pastry), "Napa" (California wine industry).

Cheddar, denim, burgundy, champagne, parmesan, dalmatian, italic, duffel, lyme (disease), chihauhua, torquois, jalapeno, paisley, sherry, port, chantilley, marathon, hamburger, pilsner, balaclava, varnish, limousine and lesbian are all words originating from place names, most with generally generic descriptions (attempts at appellation notwithstanding).


Also Synecdoche:


For Russia they usually say "the Kremlin."

Also I always thought Westminster referred to the parliament, not the crown which would more typically be referred to by Buckingham palace.

Fair points. My goal was examples, not toal accuracy.

And again: the key is that the language usage is metaphorical, rather than literal.

> "Silicon Valley" is a metonym for the tech industry generally

I dispute that. I've never seen it used in that way.

By this time, “Silicon Valley” had become shorthand for an entire industry that was concentrated in Santa Clara County but had outposts in cities like Seattle, where Amazon had set up shop. The “continuing irony,” O’Mara writes, lay in the fact that “some of those most enriched by the new-style military-industrial complex were also some of the tech industry’s most outspoken critics of big government.”


Numerous other examples can be found. The meaning is often implicit, e.g.,

"Silicon Valley Needs Regulation"

This includes my own cohort of Silicon Valley professionals. A recent Stanford study involving nearly 700 “elite technology entrepreneurs”


"Silicon Valley Learns Washington’s Language (and Vice Versa)"

Big Tech’s presence in the capital is unmistakable, and its interests intersect with more and more issues, says David McCabe, a tech policy reporter.

Discussion is of Google and Facebook (both in the geographical Silicon Valley), but also:

All eyes are on Amazon and, more specifically, on its second headquarters in Northern Virginia.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/04/technology/personaltech/s... That is, "Silicon Valley" is "elite technology entrepreneurs".

The notion that the only portion of the tech sector which requires regulation is that bounded within Santa Clara County, or Santa Clara - San Mateo, or the SF-OAK-SJ MSA, is clearly absurd.

Tim Harford at the BBC:

"Silicon Valley stands for cutting-edge technology, bold ideas that change the world."


etc., etc., etc.

It's akin to "Wall St" back in the 2000s. Financial firms rarely were located on literal Wall St. Yet, the firms were referred to as such.

I’ve seen it plenty? As someone well outside of the actual geographical place

I think this is the critical point. I’m also well outside of the geographical place (US Midwest), and hear this term used to apply generically to the tech industry. I’ve had interactions with people from that geographical area who not only don’t do this, but also get a bit irritated and quickly correct anyone who does.

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