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The Hollywood for Nerds Needs Its Own Hollywood Sign

So says one Silicon Valleyite.

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Silicon Valley has been called Hollywood for nerds. If one local resident has his way, that comparison could become a whole lot sharper.

“Although San Jose has a rich unique history it lacks a certain "cool" factor,” he writes city resident Hafid Alfonso in this open letter. “Call it taste, branding, or culture it is something one would expect from another large city of its caliber.” So the South Bay, he thinks, needs a landmark. Something to let you know you’ve arrived. To tell people that there is a there here.

So what is his proposal? A Space Needle? A Washington Monument? A Great Wall? No. His idea dwarfs all of those: An enormous Hollywood sign that says “Silicon Valley.”

No, it’s not a plot line on HBO. It’s for real. (Well, it might be a plot line on Silicon Valley next season, but for now it’s real.)

With the help of a pair of San Jose State students, Alfonso has drafted several proposals for what a sign might look like. He proposes that the sign should be 200 feet in length, with each letter 45 feet high. (The Hollywood sign stands 45 feet tall and 350 feet wide.) In keeping with the tech theme, the letters would represent chips and be connected by faux wiring. LEDs would light it up at night in various colors, including those of sports teams like the Niners and Quakes. Alfonso thinks the sign could find a home in the hills to the east of downtown San Jose near Milipitas and be visible from freeways, the downtown, and Levi’s Stadium. Check out the slideshow above for renderings.

Is it likely that the sign will become reality? Alfonso admits that he’s still in the early stages of planning, but that he’s been happy with the response so far. He's hoping to launch a crowd unding campaign in the near future, or to secure funds from big companies, maybe even asking them to sponsor a letter.  

Good luck, dude!

Update 4/30: We spoke to Alfonso, currently student at De Anza College and "aspiring serial entrepreneur", late yesterday. He said that reaction to the proposal has been "mixed," but he remains optimistic. "The Eiffel Tower received a lot of negative attention and now it's synonymous with Paris," he said. One of the problem with Silicon Valley, he thinks, is that it doesn't have a Golden Gate Bridge or a Space Needle. "This is an opportunity for the region to shine brighter," he said. "Even if it doesn't get built, the point is that we need a landmark."


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