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June 11, 2014 | Tom Ballard

Gore suggests “Graphene Gulch” name to identify Nashville


By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

There was an interesting give and take between PandoDaily’s Sarah Lacy and former Vice President Al Gore at the beginning of their conversation that began Tuesday morning’s program at “Southland.”

“I think we ought to launch Silicon Gulch,” Gore said, drawing the reference to the “Gulch” from a nearby area in Downtown Nashville that has become a lively area for restaurants, night clubs, apartments, and condos.

“My problem is the word Silicon,” Lacy said. “You want to be your own thing.”

So, Gore suggested another word – “graphene” – a material discovered a decade ago that is capturing a good deal of attention in the technology world.

“Graphene, among other things, is the leading technology pathway to continuing Moore’s Law,” the former Vice President said. “Graphene is causing a lot of excitement. Graphene Gulch might be better.”

Local entrepreneur Vig Sherrill is pursuing graphene with a passion.

Other technology points that Gore made included:

  • “This is a revolution,” he said of cleantech. “What we are seeing is a massive shift to a widely distributed model,” moving away from the model developed by Thomas Edison. “Investments that were made early in stimulating (cleantech) will significantly impact society.”
  • “Google is a tremendous company,” he said. At one time, he was Chair of the corporate advisory board. There’s was, however, one slight twist on the story. It seems that he was the only member!
  • Gore has a long association with Apple, starting during Steve Jobs first tenure. “I was a young Congressman,” the former Vice President recalled. He was a sponsor, not the lead sponsor, of what he called the “Apple Bill,” legislation designed to overturn an existing law that made it difficult for the computer maker to donate laptops to schools.
  • “You grow the most when you go through the most painful and difficult experiences,” Gore said. This was obviously sage advice to the entrepreneurs in the room.

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