Lessons From Silicon Valley (Part One)

Accountability Transformation


Key Point: Imagination that transitions into a valuable and scalable customer experience has become the hallmark of remarkable Silicon Valley (SV) ventures. So many big ideas and failures happen in that unique part of the world. So, what does that imply for you and me? To some extent, if we choose to, we can ignore it and simply participate when valley spawned ideas (like Uber or Airbnb) come to market. Or, we can do that AND work to apply the “hard knock lessons” Silicon Valley has to offer to our own personal circumstances. To make the lessons personal is a bit of a mind-stretch, but worth exploring. At our best, we are relentless inventors and creators.

The following is from a great presentation by Jeetu Patel, the SVP of Strategy for Redwood City, Calif.’s high-flying content management platform company: Box. Here are the first five of 10 “Hard Knock SV Lessons” he shared. (The next five will appear in my Friday blog):

  1. Pick the Right Problems to Solve:

Where are you investing your time? Are you working on things anyone deeply cares about? If not, why?

  1. Think 10x:

Will what you do be simply incrementally, or fundamentally transform a current experience? Think 10 times better! That gets everyone’s attention.

  1. Build Experiences People Love:

What ever you do, people should love engaging with the experience. This thinking applies to both customer and non-customer processes.

  1. Obsess About the Market/Product Fit (arguably the hottest concept in SV):

If you stopped delivering your product or service, would people strongly feel they lost something and fight to get it back?

  1. Remember that Retention Drives Growth:

People that want to keep coming back for more is the best driver for growth! The lack of sufficient attention to this principle drives me crazy!! When people willingly return for what you offer, then you know you’re driving growth. If you constantly are searching to find new people to love what you do, you and your offering will eventually fizzle out.

Although most of us are not in SV, creating new value offerings and looking for venture investment, applying a framework that is a litmus test of the Venture Capital community can make our organizations and us better.

Character Moves:

  1. Think about the First Five. We all can be value creators, or even disrupters. Consider how you can be more of a scientist or chef that puts already proven ingredients together in unique ways.
  1. Whatever you experience as best in the market place should ideally be the baseline experiences for your workplace. Become the best observer of the greatest and lousiest customer experiences you run into and challenge yourself by applying the learning to your job, workgroup or company!

SV Lessons in the Triangle (Part One),


One Millennial View: Can’t wait to comment on the final five SV lessons. In SV terminology, consider my response not quite ready to go to market yet.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis