One of the perils of living in Silicon Valley is the way it encourages us to develop a fixed mindset. Our vocabulary uses the language of traits. Someone is a “Rockstar Engineer,” or an “A Player.” Companies like Google scrutinize candidates’ resumes, discarding those who didn’t attend the right universities. Even successful entrepreneurs aren’t exempt. … Continue reading I Am Not My Talent
I’m torn about what to write about IfOnly, a new service I ran across last night: http://www.ifonly.com/ IfOnly is an incredibly cool service. It allows you to purchase unique experiences like a group swim clinic for up to 10 of your friends with Olympic champion and TV broadcaster Summer Sanders–a mere $8,000. I immediately looked … Continue reading The Silicon Valley Luxury Trap
Keith Rabois touched off a mini-Twitter firestorm the other day when he posted a tweet saying, “I don’t know of a single successful CEO or entrepreneur who blogs regularly.” http://bit.ly/1b0gv4V Sadly, as I often note, 140 characters isn’t enough for a nuanced response, which this topic deserves. Here are my (often conflicting) thoughts about whether … Continue reading Should entrepreneurs blog?
Everywhere one looks, Silicon Valley seems ascendant. Tech companies like Apple and Google are among the world’s most valuable and admired, while tech titans like Larry and Sergey, and Mark and Sheryl are given the first-name-only treatment of offline celebrities. Silicon Valley has even stuck its nose into broader society, helped by the fact that … Continue reading Will Success Ruin Silicon Valley?
Confidence is widely seen as a positive virtue. We like people who are confident, especially here in America, especially here in Silicon Valley. (Some might even call us arrogant) Yet in my own experience, confidence doesn’t always win you points with me. Confidence is a dual-edged sword–it can cut both ways. The key is credibility. … Continue reading Confidence Is Only Valuable When Accompanied By Credibility
Silicon Valley worships the intellect. How many times have you read entrepreneurs bragging about hiring rockstar programmers? How many times have you heard investors describe their entrepreneurs as geniuses? For that matter, how many times have you heard investors or entrepreneurs describe *themselves* as geniuses? Intelligence does matter, and not just for coding. Being able … Continue reading The Underrated Power of Warmth
I read Nathan Heller’s latest New Yorker piece, “Bay Watched,” with great interest: http://nyr.kr/17s8pwi Heller writes about the “new” entrepreneurial culture of San Francisco, incorporating interviews with friends like Ben Casnocha, Tyler Willis, Hunter Walk, and more. Heller, who grew up in San Francisco, returns to his home town to examine the results of the … Continue reading San Francisco’s New (Old) Entrepreneurial Culture
On Sunday, I weighed in on the Twitter board controversy: http://bit.ly/1adJT3P My argument then was that there is a dangerous tendency on the part of Silicon Valley’s power players to think that those who have achieved less than they (read: everyone) don’t have the right to criticize them. Then I read an editorial by Pando … Continue reading Stop Shooting The Messenger, Silicon Valley
The contretemps of the day comes courtesy of TechCrunch, where Professor Vivek Wadhwa has published a guest post addressing a Twitter debate he had with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (now how’s that for meta?): http://tcrn.ch/GD0570 The controversy began with a quote that Wadhwa provided to the New York Times for a story on sexism in … Continue reading The Hidden Assumptions That Neuter Criticism in Silicon Valley
As Los Angeles native, I can’t help but see parallels between my home town’s industry (movies) and my adopted home’s (startups). Today’s parallel concerns the problem with having too much money. In Hollywood, studios love to work with successful directors. When a director produces a critical and commercial smash, a studio or production company is … Continue reading Carte Blanche and the Creativity of Constraint