I’ve had the good fortune to have one of my managers in town from overseas. As a Silicon Valley veteran, he “got” the culture and odd approaches that sometimes happen here. The combination of very smart people and an environment where people want to try new ideas and approaches, is a very good place to locate a business unit and get some of the best talent in the world. There is a certain kind of mentality developed when hunger and drive live within a person, and are combined with a “yes” thinking community. As work progresses, it’s no cakewalk to get a startup up and running, but the work is most often for a love of what one is doing, tolerance for risk, and a deep belief in the value of the product or service itself. A culture that actively supports and encourages this kind of thinking multiplies the outcome even more, and it all comes back to their mentality. So, Silicon Valley is not merely a place, it is more critically, a State of Mind.
With that in my head, while sitting in a coffee shop in Mountain View, I was reading a newspaper and came across a description of exactly the Silicon Valley mindset that I’m discussing. Written in 1902!
“Combined with the dogged persistency with which the head of this firm has built up this great business step by step, we must concede the high degree of native intuition our subject has shown. To possess the faculty of knowing an opportunity when one sees it is a great thing. Merely plugging along accomplishes nothing unless directed by intelligent effort-and then it becomes a world-beater.”