Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Silicon Valley Experience

I've had several insights after one month in San Francisco. The most striking part of Silicon Valley is its spirit. Originally from Belarus, I've visited and lived in many countries, including Switzerland and Spain. I've met with many different people doing business, but here it is completely different. Everybody here is an entrepreneur - either building their own startup or helping their friends to build one. Try to imagine: every person you meet is inspired and motivated by great ideas, and most importantly, is willing to help share their experiences and connections. It’s like a strong wind helping you climb a mountain. And that can be easily explained: a high concentration of hi-tech companies leads to a high amount of talented people living and working in close proximity. Every day there are many interesting events, parties, hackathons or even TV shows which help to spread startup ideas and extend your connections.

Alex and Keith Teare
It's also much easier to get new insights about your business strategy or product placement while sharing different ideas with smart and experienced people.

Generally, you can pitch your idea or product to almost every person. For example, we acquired several new users while printing a big MapsWithMe poster in one of the photocopy shops. Another memorable story is how I pitched to a taxi driver who has friends in investment banks.

Investors. They are different in comparison with Europe. Local folks and VCs are more interested in potentially billion dollar businesses than in stable and profitable companies. Everybody is looking for simple idea which can change the World.

David Weekly, great Hacker and adviser
As a result, if you're living and working here you can predict the future with better probability. Why? Because you "feel" what is the current vector of the whole high-tech industry. For example, we got a mentorship session with Keith Teare, co-founder of TechCrunch, who is working now on his new startup, Just.me, which can change the future of social networks. Greg Kidd, an early investor in Twitter, advisor to Square and our mentor in Startup Monthly business accelerator is another good example.

Yuri Rabinovich and Vadim Slavin are our guides to Silicon Valley

This trip is a great and valuable experience for MapsWithMe team, thanks to our lithuanian colleaguesmentors and friends. And special thanks to Enterprise Lithuania for helping us to get here!