Archive for October 1st, 2010

Social Network Movie Cements Silicon Valley Dominance Again

October 1, 2010

Sean told story after story about life in Silicon Valley, parties at Stanford…friends who’d become billionaires.” Line from The Social Network movie.

The past few months has created a lot of discussion around WHERE is the best place to start a company. Silicon Valley, and specifically Palo Alto has been the Mecca of the startup world for the past 50 years as the birthplace for companies like HP, Facebook, VMWare and others. But other communities specifically across the US have rallied for respect and equal billing.

Chris Dixon generally presents a solid argument for why NYC is a major contender, and Brad Feld seems to be on a constant recruiting pitch for the thriving Boulder tech community – a place I’ve never been to but would love to visit (someone please invite me).

Despite the rise in these new communities, The Social Network movie reaffirms Silicon Valley, and specifically Palo Alto as the startup capital of the world. It will create a new breed of entrepeneurs that will flood the valley in the coming years who otherwise would not have.

For those of you that haven’t seen it (SPOILER ALERT! Mark Zuckerberg dies at the end of the movie!) the movie is centered around the young Facebook founder and his utter disregard (true or not) for basically anyone and everyone that stands in his way. This is repeated in the movie with 10 different people; except one. Sean Parker (played by Justin Timberlake) was the one person able to impress Zuck from the moment they first met. As also reported in “The Facebook Effect“, this interaction and conversation about building a massive company in Silicon Valley led Zuck to pack up and move operations out to Palo Alto for the summer. Of course the rest is history and they never left after that .

Some recent trends may put Silicon Valley in a difficult place. The CEO of Silicon Valley Joint Venture Russ Hancock is particularly negative on the current projections of where Silicon Valley is headed. He argues many ‘innovation metrics’ are down including venture capital, fewer patents, and influx of foreign talent.

If this movie has a fraction of the success it’s been predicted to have, entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges around the county will reflect on the path that Facebook took and will flock to SV in greater numbers with the mantra of “That’s how Facebook did it.”

Many are already aware of the unique opportunities of this area and will come here regardless. But this movie, if successful (looking good so far) will span a new breed of entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

My CEO’s Buzz Words Are Better Than Yours

October 1, 2010

After reading Yahoo! CEO Carol Bartz internal email tonight, my resolution to refuse to magnetic pull to use buzz words is stronger than ever. Buzz words in corporate America are like the friend that shows up to your parties, in spite of everyone attending agreeing beforehand he wasn’t invited. Buzz words tear down trust. Buzz words reduce credibility. Buzz words are great for job interviews and impressing your girlfriend’s father, but not running companies.

Carol Bartz generally seems to have a no nonsense attitude (which I really appreciate), but not this time. Here are a couple of the gems from the email:

“We’re taking this opportunity to double down on these efforts.” Translation: “Everyone has been slacking off the last few days. Get back to work.”

“Hilary’s successor will be maniacally focused on growing our top line in the region.” Translation: “We’ve got no one to replace her and I’m kind of scared.”

“So everyone stay calm–we have a good plan in place.” Translation: “I’m as panicked as you are. Start beefing up your LinkedIn profile.”

“In fact, I’m more fired up than ever and can roll with the punches. Translation: “This is the lowest point in my career.”


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