The Silicon Valley Mindset

Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, is a unique melting pot for innovation – it’s a special mixture here: being a successful technology location for over 50 years, it attracts even more tech-industry. There is money from investors, know-how from several universities, especially Stanford University, that do research, and eager talents from all over the world that come here. And there is a spirit of being innovative, of trying things, without fear of failure.

Also, the San Francisco bay area is an outstanding region not only within the U.S. but also within California: being more liberal, with the beat movement in the 1950ies and the hippie movement in the 1960ies that have their roots here. Today we got a first big picture of what makes this place special today.


What drives the Valley?

There are some key factors that make the valley what it is today: There is an urge to solve problems and “to make the world a better place”, as some founders would put it. Take Uber: it started with a simple business idea and then revolutionized a whole branch with a complete new business model. What strikes when watching the young, mostly male founders here, is that obviously everyone is welcome. In Silicon Valley, those who are foreign born make up 36,8% of the total population. In the whole U.S. it is 13,1% (data from 2013).

Go big and have no fear of failure

Persistence is also a dominant value here; if one idea isn´t successful, try another one. When Twitter first launched as ODEO, it was a failure, only after a restart success came.
The aim for going big drives to excellence. There are the “unicorns”, those tech start-ups worth a billion dollars or more, and there are more than 80 of them. Of course, there are also many who couldn´t make it. Informal communication and networking matter a lot here, many companies have café areas to foster exchange and sharing of ideas in an easy, informal working atmosphere. This is accompanied by a spirit of trying things without fear of failure, without being ashamed of it, or even “fail at least once a day”.

Nothing is a mistake. There´s no win and no fail.
There is only make.

All this together makes Silicon Valley more of a mindset than a place. So in the next days we will dive deeper into what keeps this place and its people going.

Author: Monika Meier