I’m not going to hold you to a surprise ending, I’m going to talk about Silicon Valley and the Bay Area in general.
I do not live there and my opinions are shaped by just one week I flew there. Just for the experience.
Google, Apple, Facebook and every other major tech company has an office here at Silicon Valley (and surprise!, we have visited many of them). I’m visiting Silicon Valley for a week with the Startup Village Collective on an Exposure and Cultural Exchange Program.
I have to say Talent and Funding that we find here, we may not find anywhere around the globe. For now. Big cheers to Stanford and UC Berkeley for making research and immigration happen in the Bay Area. Almost everyone we meet is entrepreneur or an engineer. It is not the devices that they build that promotes or grows technology, it is the spirit these people carry within themselves. This makes the place worthy of the name ‘Mecca of Technology’. Seeing that Intel CEO has an open cabin just like every other employee, or knowing that the floor above was hosting Google CEO is possible only in this Valley.
It is not the area, the planning, the buildings (There are a lot of well designed buildings, so being impressed by them may not be a bad thing at all) that impresses me the most. I have friends that say it is the helping culture that comes to mind when they consider Silicon Valley. But back in India, whenever I have asked for help, I have surely received it. It is just that we have not asked enough questions or for help back home. Suddenly in an unknown area to us, asking for help seems like the natural thing to do. but apart from this, practicing asking for help seems to be something I have to work on. If we can do that, India would be a place with this kind of culture.
Talking about what impresses me about Silicon Valley, it is surely the emphasis they have placed on ‘It is okay to fail’ culture. It shapes Silicon Valley around the fact that this drives innovation and keeps people motivated enough to keep going. Not to forget people who understand the value of networking and peer to peer learning. People here ask a lot of questions and lend an ear to your ideas whenever they find time to do this.
People know and understand that failure is not worst thing that can happen to you.
It’s not really failure unless it you stop.
This is something that is not allowed back in India. Even though our mentors Sanjay Vijayakumar and Vishnu Gopal used to talk about this constantly, watching a whole community of people who live this philosophy is what makes the experience unforgettable. It is no longer just a philosophy, it is a way of life.
…and it’s freaking expensive here. The Housing Bubble has hit the Silicon Valley and it’s here to stay it seems. The housing prices are so high right now, people are taking the Code School 42 course for they get a free dorm with it. I’m not an economist, but I’m guessing this is bad for the economy in the long span. The new restrictions on VISA might even make immigration to United States difficult. As everyone familiar with Silicon Valley has frequently stressed, the diverse culture and global thinking is what made the Information Boom possible in the first place.
Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.
Everyone in Silicon Valley seems to be Men with a Mission. They look different, think different and celebrate different things. But all of them seem to be going somewhere and look extremely lonely. Network and Relationships are not something you build out of entrepreneurship books.
I would love to come here once I’m capable of affording it. But I’m afraid Startups would eventually move out for the cost, the tech companies would choose to build bigger offices somewhere else, and only offices might remain. I’m sure Silicon Valley would bounce back, but like the history has proved, once the Bubble has burst, it takes time and effort to build it back up. So, don’t fail me SV, not now.