Wow. Has the world come a long way!
From a time where we all used to live, exist and die within a five-kilometre radius, there are some incredibly intelligent people disruptively thinking about the way we move, communicate, eat, learn, spend – you name it!
I was lucky to meet with and spend quality time asking questions to these world business leading organisations, and none of them disappointed.
From the CEO of Intuit, Sasan Goodarzi, who has a point that organisations should stop falling in love with their products, and more so with solving their customer’s problems.
To the problems that Uber is solving with their foresight on the way we move with flying vehicles and automated cars – our lives are never going to be the same. It’s all happening. Even the way we eat. Uber Eats is now far more profitable than Uber rides.
One thing that did take me by surprise is the company valuations.
They’re at a record high as organisations and investors scramble to make their coveted billion dollar unicorns (this is the term used to describe private companies valued at $1 billion or more. As stated by the Fortune website, “The billion-dollar technology startup was once the stuff of myth. Today they’re seemingly everywhere, backed by a bull market and a new generation of disruptive technology”). My feeling is that many of these organisations are way overvalued, and I’m wondering – Is Silicon Valley living in a bubble?
Another big thing you don’t hear much of in the press is the poverty in Silicon Valley. I relate it very much to the Hollywood scene, where aspiring actors flock in with a twinkle in their eye and dreams in their heart, only to be quickly discarded by the machine. Across Santa Clara, Palo Alto, all over the region really, you’ll find seas of motorhomes and RV’s, where mothers and fathers live together, desperate for work – their Valley dreams in tatters. Others are groups of 3 or 4 developers living together, plucking tasks off Airtasker or Freelancer, in the hope that ‘next call will be the big one. It’s not unusual for talented full stack devs to earn over USD 350K per annum, plus other incentives (that does represent the 1% though).
The feeling I got at most companies was similar regarding talent.
You are competing at the highest level in the world, and there’s no room for average.
Think of it like the Olympics. If you can’t sprint or swim under the timeframe, you’re cut from the team. It’s the same with the products you create, and they have to stand out. In the US alone, there are something like 5000 different types of mouse traps on the market. Two are successful.
So what’s the flavour of the month? Well, it depends where you go, but everyone is talking AI, Blockchain and Quantum Computing. Also, you should see the applications.
More of the large organisations are now working with partners, some with companies like us, here at eCreators, through a method of tethered autonomy. These partnerships allow smaller, talented businesses to do what they’re good at, with the added resource assistance of a more massive machine – indeed eCreators assist smaller organisations in a similar capacity.
Silicon Valley is making some big bets, but there’s also a stack of small bets on cool tech. Organisations are spending more time in the incubation and feasibility stages than ever before. You can no longer come to Silicon Valley with just an idea – you have to show something’s working (wait for our next little surprise!).
So was the visit worthwhile?
Oh yes, I can’t wait to get back. The energy and excitement in the valley are incredibly intoxicating… and the talent… just incredible.
Find out more in my next article.