Tripping on tech in The Valley & Hills
After spending a week on a tech trip in The Valley, our Chief of Staff , Maarten, couldn't resist to write down his findings and share them with all of you. Join him on his journey through Silicon Valley and get high on tech yourself.
Last month, I got high. High on tech. One week of roaming around in Austin, Palo Alto & San Francisco was a dream come true. I must say, Silicon Valley lived up to my expectations. Surrounded by like-minded tech enthusiasts like me, we visited thrilling incubators, VC’s, renowned universities and tech giants. And some impressions will remain with me for a lifetime.
Silicon valley is not a place. It’s a mindset.
When you hop off the plane at San Francisco Airport, take off your mask after a 16 hour flight, it becomes imminent immediately. There is something in the air in the bay area. And it’s not just the saline aromas from the Pacific Ocean. It’s the vibe & energy surrounding this mythical tech region.
Many argue that the ‘hardwired’ conditions of The Valley are what separates this region from others in the world. Frankly, they are wrong. Yes, the Valley is a place where many smart people flock together. Yes, there is an abundance of money. But it’s not the above-average-IQ nor the easy access to money that are The Valley’s main ingredient for success. Rather, It’s that shared belief of how to look at the world that makes the real difference.
"As much as our European mindset keeps us in the race, it’s not helping us win it."
Bigger & Bolder
European modesty. It’s a thing. Many European organisations are proudly pitching a 10% growth. However successful that might seem, it’s not the way things get done in The Valley. The only thing that matters there, is how you’ll become the next unicorn. Preferably by tomorrow.
Entrepreneurs and VC’s look at the world through the eyes of abundance, not fear. They have a growth mindset, not a fixed one. They see opportunities, not risks. It is this mindset of spotting big opportunities, when others see only risks, that truly separates this region from others.
If you seek funding for example, it’s a non-negotiable to have your 10X plan ready. This extreme push for tremendous growth also has a side-effect: the ecosystem overvalues “innovation”. This self fulfilling prophecy makes innovation thrive much more here. That’s probably also why Europe is mostly busy with incremental improvements. We just lack boldness.
Paying it forward
Perhaps what struck me most, amongst all the money & energy, was the willingness to meet with others. It was eye opening how reachable CEO’s, founders or VC’s are. Planning a coffee with a founder of a unicorn for some brain picking? You’ve got yourself a meeting the next day.
The same goes for meeting a founder who’s willing to invest in your next start-up. You won’t have to wait months. This “paying it forward” attitude is a very strong fuel that often ignites future success. It might sound trivial, but it’s something to consider when it takes us weeks to plan a 30’ coffee break with someone.
Moving the needle in Europe
You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to see opportunities over risks, to think big, or to help others on their entrepreneurial journey. But it helps. How much I appreciate our European belief on quality and reasoning, I believe there’s something we can learn. If we could just move the needle a little in terms of boldness, willingness, risk-taking and spotting opportunities… I do believe our European tech future would look really bright. Because as much as our European mindset keeps us in the race, it’s not helping us win it.
I can testify how that Silicon Valley mindset is something we at In The Pocket strive for daily. How everyone sees opportunities over risks and does their best to put a dent in the universe. And I do hope that you, after reading this post, may feel inspired to do so too.