From the top of the Coit Tower you have a 360-degree view of San Francisco, with the red of the Golden Gate distinguishing it. We are in North Beach, the Italian district, an integral part of the history of the city. Here is our first meeting: the most significant place for us Italians. A lot of time has passed since that day, our paths have always crossed, trying to bring benefits to our country, with the spirit of giveback typical of these areas. In this column we will open a window on Silicon Valley. Telling you how we live it every day, firsthand. With the intention of letting you breathe the thing that has shaped this land the most: the Silicon Valley Mindset, with all the elements that have formed it over the years.
- Everybody belongs here
A distinctive feature is the diversity of its inhabitants: over 50% speak a language other than English at home, more than 60% of graduates are foreigners. Here, traits from all over the world meet, calls are heard in dozens of different languages: everyone is welcome and are fundamental for this ecosystem.
In Silicon Valley, the network is the main currency. 30,000 startups, more than 150 unicorns, over 70 billion dollars invested every year by half of the investment funds of all the United States, universities such as Stanford and Berkeley, the most important tech firms in the world. All this in a peninsula just over 70 km long, where each element is double-wired to the other and where a solid network allows for a maximum of two degrees of separation from any other contact.
- Fail fast, learn fast
When an idea doesn’t work, it is important to make it fail quickly so as not to burn fuel and energy, learn from what didn’t work and try the next iteration with the correct reinterpretations.
- Competition is good for business
Healthy competition is the backbone of an innovative ecosystem: it helps to grow, to challenge, to compare, to improve. Not only is it important to know your competitors, but it is essential to open a dialogue and maintain a constant relationship with those who are facing the same challenges.
Respect is the foundation of every relationship and interaction. Respect for the rules, along with civic and common sense. Respect for others’ time: everyone in Silicon Valley has 10 minutes to listen to you, even the CEO of a billionaire tech firm, as long as the agreed times are respected. No one arrives late, no one overshoots meeting times.
- Give back and give forward
If every element of the ecosystem is committed to creating a positive impact, in giving before receiving, a virtuous circle of support will be created that will tend over time to constantly raise the level of the whole system.
The mindset of an ecosystem is the most important asset to invest in. But that’s not enough. If you try to make bread using the same ingredients, in Milan or San Francisco, the result will be completely different. The yeast will react differently to the composition of the air. So for Silicon Valley. It is not enough to replicate the same ingredients to obtain the same result: in the last 80 years a unique fertility in the world has been created here.