A lot of hype is made about Silicon Valley. Legend has it that you can just walk up to people and start talking to them about startups. That bright young entrepreneurs who have never seen you before will go out of their way to help you. That almost anyone, even the guy behind the counter at Burger King, is just biding his time until his startup takes off, and he can start changing the world. Overused, romanticized cliches. Or so we thought. Turns out, actually, it is quite true.
Firstly, what we found to be the Golden Rule in our short stay in Silicon Valley: Don’t pitch. This sounds anathema, but makes sense, when you consider that every single person in the room will probably believe (as you do) that their idea is the most exciting thing since the dawn of man. So common courtesy is to be extremely interested in what the other person is doing, and then, ONLY when asked, explain your own startup. Makes sense, come to think of it.
The second fascinating thing we found is the local currency. The currency seems to be how useful you can be to someone else. If you can be useful, do so. If you have no idea what it’s in it for you, do so. You will then (in an pleasingly non-deterministic manner) be part of the ecosystem, which will give you the greatest return on your tiny investment of calling “that guy who might find this interesting” and handing over your phone for 5 minutes.
Then there is the language. One would assume that web-based distributed supercomputing would be an intimidating starter, but (and by now this seems to be a recurring theme), this is something we should try mentioning next time we ask for a bagel and a ridiculously over-sized coffee. For many people it seems to be the answer to the nagging toothache they have been feeling for slightly too long. For others it is something that solves the problem of someone they have known for years. And for some others it is something “this guy should probably know about”. There is a lot to say about London, Boston, and New York. But one thing is abundantly clear. In Palo Alto, CrowdProcess feels at home.
There are a number of reasons to believe this. Firstly, the spirit itself. CrowdProcess is based on the idea that everyone can contribute to solving massive problems, and that collaborative spirit seems core to Silicon Valley’s way of thinking. More pragmatically, there are a large number of startups who are potential clients. Additionally, a large number of content based startups who are potential providers. Investors’ reported thirst for B2D startups doesn’t hurt.
So now, back in Europe, with a proper portuguese coffee in our cozy Lisbon downtown office, it is hard not to think longingly of the insanity and high paced life back in California. There is no coming back after being there, and it is abundantly clear that it is only a matter of time before at least one of us shall call Palo Alto home, and have CrowdProcess where it belongs. And, if we can figure out how to send coffee and Portuguese fish in the mail, get the best of both worlds.