I am sitting the airport waiting to board flights back to Australia and have just concluded a three-day trip to the Valley.
Tens of meetings and three days later, I feel exhausted but enriched by what I have learned. While I cant go into the specifics of our meetings but I want to share cultural lessons I have learned.
1. Collaborating and sharing Ideas openly
Ideas are worth nothing - if you cant execute them. Everyone here shares their ideas openly. They are optimistic that their idea will make them a billion dollars but they are not scared of sharing it. They know that ideas are worth nothing if you don't execute. The openness helps with problem solving and collaboration. After all, when you are trying to solve big problems, trying to do it alone makes little sense.
2. Giving generously and sharing connections
One meeting leads to another, and there is a strong and instant follow up on actions. Prior to the trip, I had a fairly booked calendar of meetings. But once the first meeting started it lead to the next and then the next. Very quickly, I could not even find time to scratch myself. Another thing, I found was people in the Valley are very good at following up. When they say let me connect you to "such and such" person they really mean it. And it happens quickly, many times we had not even reached the car to drive to the next meeting and our next meeting was already set. This leads to a culture of everyone knows everyone and the extent of collaboration is simply hard to comprehend.
3. Culture of Disruption and wanting to change the world
People in the valley think big and want to change the world. Back in Australia, we think much more about incremental innovation than disruptive, but here in the valley, disruption is the name of the game. And it makes sense, if you don't think big you won't achieve big. When you are there to disrupt, you will fail many many times. That is well accepted here, it is actually a key part of the resume for anyone successful.
In Australia, we cant and don't need to replicate the valley but there are so many lessons starting with learning from their culture.
Let's all of us do our bit and help with this cultural change, our country's future and the jobs of the future are at stake here.