Silicon Valley Inspirations

  • by , Featured Contributor, November 12, 2015
I’ve spent the week in San Francisco and Silicon Valley — the first time in years that I’ve spent so much time here.

Why am I here? First, this was a big week for Bay area industry conferences, from brain-stretching at Techonomy, to the Advertising Research Foundation’s tech company bus tour that concluded at Twitter, to the ARF West conference at Facebook and Levi’s, to today’s LUMA’s first Digital Marketing Summit, DMS West. Add to that a number of client meetings in San Francisco and time spent on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, and I’ve had a full -- and very enriching -- Silicon Valley week.

No matter how much time I spend in the Bay area, it never ceases to amaze me how special this place is. Companies, leaders and colleagues think and act differently here than they do anywhere else. And, as much as other parts of the globe try to copy and catch up to the Silicon Valley “way,” folks out here keep pushing themselves further and faster. Here’s s what I mean:



Belief in the applied power of technology. Not much to say here. Technology is the core DNA in Silicon Valley. People believe in it. They understand how powerful it can be. They don’t question it. They just keep innovating it and applying it.

Vision. Folks in the Valley are more strident than most when it comes to having a point of view — and they aren’t afraid to share those points of view, argue them, and, when necessary, adjust them when necessary. They aren’t passive when it comes to core beliefs.

Focus. Since writing software code requires binary decision-making, establishing and maintaining focus is part of the standard operating procedure of the Valley. There’s not as much general wandering here as you find in other business environs. Folks think a lot about what they need to do to create success and then commit to doing it — and also commit to not doing things that don’t fit their vision and strategy.

Impatience with status quo. The Valley does not assume that just because something is done a certain way today, that’s always the correct method. In fact, the fact that something -- or someone -- is part of the status quo actually makes it/them more suspect as being wrong. This is not a place that worships tradition or hierarchy.

Not afraid of failure. People here try new things. If they fail, they ask themselves the hard questions. If they can’t find a way to make it work, they move on. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. They don’t beat themselves up over things that don’t work. They learn from it, and attack the next thing with vigor. Failures are badges of honor here.

Talent. There isn’t any place in the world with more talented technologists making more things happen than the Valley. What’s incredible is that more great talent keeps moving here.  New York City, where I live, also keeps attracting more and more talented people — but when it comes to applied technologists, the Valley is special and is still getting better.

So I guess I sound like a Silicon Valley fan boy. That’s not my intention. I’m a big believer that in business every day, you either get better or you get worse. Nothing stays the same. I’m amazed that Silicon Valley keeps getting better. It’s something special to watch and learn from and be inspired by. I am. What about you?

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