Friday, October 19, 2012

Silicon Valley

Along with my EO Vancouver Chapter of 82 Entrepreneurs, we hit Silicon Valley for a whirlwind tour of some of the most exciting and influential companies in the Valley. As I write this, I'm thinking of you the reader who may not be so excited as I was in seeing these businesses, so I'll keep it short but please allow my enthusiasm to shine through. To me, Silicon Valley is the Disneyland of tech business entrepreneurs like me.

We had some very memorable visits to the Apple Campus, Google, Microsoft, ZenDesk, Kiva and SalesForce. Even during social time at the hotel we had fantastic speakers like the founder of California Closets and founder of Grasshopper.

My main takeaway from Silicon Valley was how they all approached business - it seemed fearless, ready to make mistakes fast, learn, adjust and then accelerate some more. Oh, and find really smart hard working people. Everything happened in Dog Years the COO of ZenDesk explained. (He already built MySQL to a $100mm business then sold it for $1b in under 5 years).
Second takeaway was although culture at the big companies like Google is legendary for all the cool stuff they offer employees, it's not that much different than what we already do at Costless, and in some ways I think we do it better, at least for us. So afterwards I was much less intimidated that these big legends of the valley had some sort of secret fairy dust we couldn't duplicate. It was like pulling back the curtain in the Wizard of Oz - ah ha, yup, OK... Now that I see how it all works and it's not magic, it's just persistence, vision and hard work - and we can do that in spades.