Journal for Business Trek to Silicon Valley

With a few clicks, I booked an Uber car back to my Airbnb apartment within 5 minutes during the peak hour. I chatted with new “pooling” friend who just started his business on event photo cloud sharing. All the way, the Uber car linked up with my Spotify music which creates the private car experience. That is a common snapshot of my daily life in valley. The kind of life is totally disrupted by the technologies which haven’t existed three years ago and are also the reason brings me here.

What surprised you most from the trip and why it is a surprise?

Breathing the local air, I find I am touch by the true passion here. As long as you find it, career will follow you. There is no single definition of success. People at bay area have very different career paths — corporate venture leaders, start-up entrepreneurs, corporate strategist and VC partner. One thing that is commonly shared among them is that they care very much about meaningful value the role they created to others life. The true passion motivates the Pulse Evolution team to deliver last minutes’ recreation of Michael Jackson’s digital human, Michelle Salomon (INSEAD Alumni) to be willing to take a big pay cut off to join a start-up Mobilize, and Sanders Arts (INSEAD Alumni) to break through semiconductor marketing concept in Atmel.

I am fascinated by the dynamics of tech industry. Everything happen at an extraordinary pace here so the biggest piece of luxury people can give to you is about their precious time. I am also surprised by the level of openness, humbleness and great sense of mission from the different groups of people I talked to. The talk with partner from A16Z achieved a real “wow” effect on me. From the 1 hour conversation, Mr. Scott Kupor gave us a comprehensive overview of VC landscape, implementation of “operating service model”, deal structure process, and etc. The spirt of Silicon Valley is all about “Grow the pie rather than the steal the shares”.

Tech is about having both the capability to get shit down and dream big. All the big dreams are built on the belief in what business you are creating. With that, even the tedious jobs can be done with passion. This is my takes from the talk with Daniel Tan (INSEAD Alumni) who currently worked with Unity. As a senior leader in the organization, he surprised me when he said he saw part of his value from printing business cards for the team and translating the legal document. I realize that tech is much more than a glamourous industry with all the fancy words from outsiders, but also a very implementation driven industry requiring “make-things-happen” spirits.

What is the influence of this trip that has an impact on your career choice?

This trip reinforced my career aspiration of tapping into tech industry because I enjoy myself working in a fast-moving raising industry where everything is possible and I can play a role in shaping its trajectory. I am always curious to explore disruptive business models and excited about translating the prototype into business. After mapping out my interests and strengths, I find the role of bridging the gap between startups and corporates will be a good match for me. I am currently actively exploring the career opportunity in business solutions team or corporate venture arm of big technology companies.

I have initiated a few conversations with senior executives managing the recruitment of sales/business operations roles in big tech companies. From what I understand now, this role works as a strategic business advisor in the intersection of consulting and technology to provide data-driven analysis to sales or product team leaders. It will be a sweet spot for me given my past working experience as business analyst in big MNCs and consulting company.

Corporate venture career is also very intriguing to me. Just like what Rick Sheridan (INSEAD alumni) achieve in Flex Lab, this type of role can bring the different startups to the next level of manufacturing and market-engagement. To meet this overarching goal, this role is expected to 1) be equipped with holistic go-to-market view, 2) have enough time and resource to consider how to fit the new products into the right distribution channels and supply chain network to commercialize the ideas in a broad way, 3) scan the competitive landscape and evaluation the acquisition options, 4) conduct the upward/downward communication in an ongoing basis so that he or she will understand when should be the critical time to land the product into the business team and how to get key stakeholder buy in.

What new question opens up as a result of this trip hasn’t got answered?

To have a better understanding the full ecosystem, I think it will be imperative to incorporate the insights from executives from big tech companies and startups founders about their career progression, reflections of various kinds of business models and sharing on industry trends in Silicon Valley.

I am excited by the crowdfunding business, human digitals, content marketing for chip maker and incubation for contract manufacturing company, but I would also love to cover a breadth of more topics to widen the horizon because more often than not we are biased on the fact that we don’t know what we don’t know.

Thirdly, I feel the angle of the speech should be re-twisted for our consumption. For example, the speech given by the Indiegogo fits very well for the potential clients but from the perspective of business school students, I would care less about how to launch a campaign more on Indiegogo’s views on what works/doesn’t work in crowdfunding , perception of business trend on a strategic basis and their lessons learn as a young start-up.

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