An Idea and a Place: The Silicon Valley Culture
Silicon Valley is home to some of the largest technology corporations in the world. However, it has equally embraced the start-up world, tech and otherwise, as is evident by the thousands of new companies that are launched in the area every year. The region has become the focal point for innovation and has re-written the rules of U.S. capitalism and its impact on the global economy. The culture of Silicon Valley has made the “idea” – the concept of what may transpire – the core of its purpose.
The foundation of this core is the people and Silicon Valley can certainly boast about this. The statistics alone are impressive. With almost 45% of the population having at least a Bachelor’s degree and almost 20% of that population having a graduate or professional degree, the region attracts some of the world’s top talent. The diversity of the population is symbolic of borders being broken and differences being ignored with more than 60% of the workforce in science and engineering fields being born outside of the United States. The end result is a profitable marriage of global thinkers and doers.
Work is done in Silicon Valley through partnerships, collaboration, and teamwork. This is not only true of teams within the same company but also outside of it. A study completed by Accenture aimed to develop a data-based view of the culture in Silicon Valley. Accenture conducted a survey with over 600 full-time IT professionals – out of which roughly half were located in Silicon Valley and the other half dispersed throughout the United States. This study found that more than twice as many professionals, who were based in Silicon Valley in comparison to those outside the region, reported that they actively took part in external collaborations and open-source projects. This is not only known to be an important part of the culture, but is also embraced by company executives. A key to the success of Silicon Valley is the recognition that ideas are developed in teams and this is evident in its culture.
Steve Jobs once said “you’ve got to be willing to fail, and crash and burn”. This is a path to success that is engrained in the Silicon Valley culture. The risk-taking culture is a by-product of the importance placed on getting things done quickly as opposed to flawlessly. Failure is embraced and considered a success of some sort. It can even be thought of as a job qualification for the ideal candidate at many of the corporations. The acceptance of failure in the Silicon Valley culture has allowed the innovative to thrive.
If you are not in the midst of the Silicon Valley culture, you can still absorb it in other ways such as by attending conferences. The region plays host to many events, such as the Silicon Valley Open Doors conference held earlier this year and the Tamil Entrepreneurs Forum taking place this month, and provides an invitation to those who want a taste of its culture. Hearing first hand from entrepreneurs such as Bala Krishnan at Peel Technologies, start-up mentors such as Mukund Mohan of Microsoft Ventures, and early-stage investors such as Prashant Shah of TiE LaunchPad and Krishna Subramanian, the entrepreneurial spirit is further lifted.
No idea or vision is too large in Silicon Valley – a culture that takes a pragmatic approach to finding solutions. This is the place where ideas matter and what more, can be executed.
Whatever your big idea is, rest assured the Valley is ready for it.
Kumaran Nadesan is the Managing Director of Konnect Communications, a global creative agency with a proven track record of developing bespoke, integrated marketing and communications solutions for emerging and established brands. He is also an advisor to several Toronto-based start-ups, including YumPlate and Tamil.Events. Kumaran and his various start-up teams will be attending the Tamil Entrepreneurs Forum in San Jose, California, on July 3, 2015.