10 Lessons From Silicon Valley (Part 2)

Accountability Purpose Transformation


Key Point: If most of us are paying attention, we are acutely mindful of how digital technology and mobility will disrupt the way we live and work. This is why I’ve shared the “10 Hard Knock Silicon Valley Lessons,” by Jeetu Patel, the SVP of Strategy for Box. The previous five were outlined in our last blog. Now, let’s examine the final five:  

  1. Don’t Ignore the Marginal User:

While we may have users that we interact with most often (returning customers or internal users), there is much to learn from those at the margin. Pay attention to why and how you interact with them. Creative mechanisms involve looking to this group for breakthrough ideas. 

  1.  Define the Core Organizational Unit:

The essence behind this idea is to be very intentional about which roles in your organization or group are indispensable. Everything is built around that core. Are you part of a core group? Why? Why not?

  1. Hunger and Curiosity Trump All Else:

These are the two BIG attributes SV companies want above all others. “Hunger” involves that fierce grit and relentless commitment to advancing, while “Curiosity” includes the importance of having a growth mindset that never stops asking “why?”

  1. Half-Life Reduces Dramatically in the Digital Age:

SV believes everything is reinvented or reimagined every three to five years. Yup, that includes us. We have to be micro-changing and improving daily. (I’ve noted this before). In our remaining lifetime (unless we hide under a rock), this is about as “slow” as it will ever be. When you think about this…Well, wow! How exciting!

  1. Purpose Matters:

We have to have an emotional attachment to what we are personally investing in. So, both our personal and organizational purpose really matters. This is not a fluffy idea. Even the investors looking for a “10x” return on their money know that.

Character Moves:

  1. Reflect on the SV 10 listed below:  

1. Pick the Right Problems to Solve.

2. Think 10x.

3. Build Experiences People Love.

4. Obsess About the Market/Product Fit.

5. Remember that Retention Drives Growth.

6. Don’t Ignore the Marginal User.

7. Define the Core Organizational Unit.

8. Hunger and Curiosity Trump All Else.

9. Half-Life Reduces Dramatically in the Digital Age.

10. Purpose Matters.

Pick one or two to act on in a way that would make a difference in your work and/or life.

10 SV Lessons in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: As a Millennial, I think all these concepts are understandable, applicable and great. I guess the magic question that remains unanswered is if we’re doing these steps correctly. Like, did I pick the right problems? Do people love the experiences I’m building? I suppose everyone has the handbook, it’s just up to us to put it together properly. If only there was an app for that… Hey, maybe someone in SV is working on one right now.

– Garrett Rubis

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis