How a startup can spend time in Silicon Valley effectively
Almost two years ago I went to Silicon Valley in search of a new level of development, new interesting niches for business and new partners. Also, while in Yekaterinburg, I felt the glass ceiling, which prevented me from developing. In the end, I decided to go to the Valley and wrote about my stay there on the Conquest of California blog . Even then, I did not know that I would encounter the problems that all the new startups and programmers coming here are facing, which I will discuss in this post.
You arrive at the San Francisco airport, rent a car, book a hotel and don’t understand what to do next. From across the ocean it seems that it’s enough to come to the Valley, and ingenious thoughts on business development, self-development, time management and ways to earn a lot of money will overshadow you, but this does not happen. If you already have a project, then you continue to cut it, but it does not fire despite the spell of this wonderful place.
How does most
Most, like me, came to the Valley and begin to knock on all doors in a row. You go to the conference if you find out from someone about meetup.com and eventbrite.com and after a few months you realize that 90% of all hangouts are bullshit. Yes, you can meet creative and interesting guys there, but more often than not they go there precisely because they have not found a decent occupation. What can they advise you? Performances can be interesting, but they can almost always be found on the net. At startup parties they pitch for the sake of pitches, and I have never seen such a pitch end with a serious investment. The whole world says that the Valley is filled with Zuckerbergs and there is one of the largest densities of dollar millionaires in the World, but you drive 101 or 280 highways that lie between San Jose and San Francisco every day, peer into neighboring cars,
If you got to the Valley, you seem to have stepped in the right direction, if you believe the rumors and methods, but is this the right direction for you and how many hundreds more miles to go to understand this? I also very often met people who took this first step to the Valley, and then locked themselves in a beautiful apartment with a pool and sun, which shines 320 days a year, sawing a project that was brought from Russia, but everything flows very sluggishly. In my apartment, while I was traveling to Russia, there were programmers who, like me, came to conquer California, but in fact for a month they didn’t meet anyone, doing their usual Russian affairs. Naturally, they had a very neutral impression of the trip. Anyway, being in the Valley really doesn't mean anything. Many live there for decades,
Causes of the problem
Until 1697, swans were believed to be white only, but the Dutch expedition led by Willem de Vlaminck discovered a black swan population in Western Australia.. According to Taleb, all significant scientific discoveries, historical and political events, achievements of art and culture are Black Swans. Computer, internet, facebook - all these are black swans, which are very easy to talk about retroactively, but which cannot be predicted. For obvious reasons, it is in Silicon Valley that the vast majority of Black Swans are born in the field of startups, which cannot be predicted in advance from the outside. Until you know the rules of the Silicon Valley game or any other ecosystem, you cannot fully play this game, which means you cannot make a high-quality leap, create a mega-project for which you came to Silicon Valley. 99% of the projects that are brought there are either already done or no one needs it. To understand this, you need to be in place, to know which doors to knock on, understand whether you need to knock on them and guess what kind of response you can get. It is also important to be able to get a constant feedback from specialists who have already achieved some significant results in your area in order to adjust the business model in time, change the product, make a pivot. The search for the right doors takes months and even years, as well as understanding the movement of trends and establishing the right acquaintances, and this is a real problem. Plus, our Russian closeness, which often prevents us from interacting with the outside world, is added. The search for the right doors takes months and even years, as well as understanding the movement of trends and establishing the right acquaintances, and this is a real problem. Plus, our Russian closeness, which often prevents us from interacting with the outside world, is added. The search for the right doors takes months and even years, as well as understanding the movement of trends and establishing the right acquaintances, and this is a real problem. Plus, our Russian closeness, which often prevents us from interacting with the outside world, is added.
The true value of the Valley
Silicon Valley is actually very multifaceted and multilayered so that all attempts to repeat its structure were unsuccessful. There are other places like Tel Aviv and Singapore that recreate some of its facets, but only some. It seems to me that its true value or even physical property is an attraction of other values: money, ideas, entrepreneurs, start-ups, foundations, institutions, companies. It is as if a magnet attracts all the blessings of the planet here and one of the most important is People. In the Valley, you can very easily get to know a person from Russia whom you would never reach while you were at home, despite the fact that you can live in one city. In the Valley, this is done at the click of a finger. All speak the same language and are in a state of flux. At the exit after a noisy party, several new partnerships and even projects may arise, the main thing is to be in the right company. The new connections acquired in the Valley are very strong and often move around the world with people, opening up new opportunities for you.
How to effectively spend time in the Valley
Based on the problems described above, I wrote several recommendations that helped me, and in my opinion, can help start-ups and entrepreneurs who come to the Valley, although they, of course, do not cover all aspects of effective time spent in the Valley . These points are:
1. Expansion of the social graph
Establishing the maximum number of connections with successful entrepreneurs who are able to discover insiders, new behaviors, working patterns. An intermediate acquaintance may help to establish interaction with them, because successful entrepreneurs rarely go to public events. You need to somehow get into a closed party and become “your”. By the way, one of the best nearby parties, which attracts many successful Russian- speaking entrepreneurs is SVOD .
2. Excursions to IT companies
Visiting large IT companies such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn with a friend who works there. You can find out a lot of interesting things about the rules of work in the same Google and take something into service. Such information is not publicly available, unlike Google food, which feeds half of the Valley.
3. Individual expert advice. A
lawyer, accountant, investor, financial consultant can be very useful for solving tasks, if they advise you or your group.
4. Contact with novice entrepreneurs
Beginner, but active entrepreneurs can also come in handy in the future. Many of those who played poker and volleyball with us 1-2 years ago in the Valley during this time received millions of investments for projects, someone has finished the accelerator, or is passing it now. The breeding ground of the Valley makes you constantly moving.
5. Visiting incubators and accelerators
There are hundreds of them in the Valley, so you can learn something from each, especially if you find friends who are incubated there.
6. Participation in hackathons
Hackathons allow you to meet new people, validate your idea and, if you're lucky, win a prize. I have a friend who constantly wins a very large number of Hackathons taking place in the Valley. If you follow this area, I think that you also know it.
7. Closed parties Closed parties are
usually much better than public ones. But first you need to go through step 1 to find friends who will invite you there.
8. Organization of own events. Organization of own events is
also very effective. We had one Startup BBQ, second, third. Next, entrepreneurs from all over the Valley began to ask when the following, because such events really help the entrepreneurial jelly to cook, giving birth to new values: someone found an order, someone got a job in an incubator, someone created a new project with a new acquaintance etc.
9. Frequency and dynamics
It’s not enough to go to a hackathon or an IT party once every 3 months, you need to do this periodically by constantly expanding your social graph and updating your understanding of innovations and trends. In this regard, it is better to spend 2 intensive weeks every six months than to stretch these visits for many months.
Unfortunately, 90% of people never move from words and thoughts to actions. Anyone who comes up with a way to deal with this problem will obviously make a lot of money.
If you hooked on any of the above points, and you are planning to be in Silicon Valley soon or later, then join the programwhich we have developed specifically to solve the above problems. This is a two-week intensive, which contains more than 40 private events for entrepreneurs that allow you to immerse yourself in the Valley as quickly as possible, get acquainted with entrepreneurs, investors, visit Google, Facebook, Evernote and other IT companies, chat with teachers from Stanford University and combine informal a party in the Jacuzzi or volleyball on the beach of Santa Cruz with work. This is not a tourist program, but real intensive two working weeks, which for someone will turn into a charge of energy in the coming months, a new vision, and possibly a Black Swan.