When I met with Fadi Bishara, our Founder and CEO, to talk about coming on board as an admin, I knew two things: 1. I loved the web and all things technology and 2. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I knew this was a different world on my first day on the job. I met Fadi in Palo Alto to drive up to Bebo's office, where they were about to have their company wide meeting to discuss the future of the company now that they'd been bought by AOL for $850M. Since that first day, my role has evolved and I've learned a lot, but here are five things that I think have stood out the most in my first year in Silicon Valley:
1. Anyone with a dream can be an entrepreneur.
Regardless of their age or background. People flock to the Valley because it's better to fail here than it is to fail anywhere else. However, those who succeed, tend to do so with radical success. Which is why...
2. All startups are not created equal.
In Guy Kawasaki's book The Art of the Start, he states that great companies do one of three things.
1. Increase the quality of life. (I would file games and entertainment in this category)
2. Right a wrong.
3. Prevent the end of something good.
Without pointing any fingers, I'll say that I have come across far too many startups that either don't do any of the three things mentioned or just copy someone else's idea in a "me too" attempt.
3. Venture Capital, Angel Investors, Incubators, Bootstrapping
This was one of the most foreign concepts to me when I started working with startups. I had a vague understanding of private investing, but here in the Valley there are specific names and companies to learn about and draw connections. I'll admit that I'm still learning and therefore won't go into the differences or definitions, but I will share this: Never try to explain to your grandparents in Indiana that you work with Angel and VC funded startups in the web 2.0 space and expect them to understand a word you just said.
4. Your network is everything.
Living in New York, I met a lot of interesting people, but here in the Valley, each and every one of those people is a potential business connection. Follow up, have coffee, meet for a cocktail and add to your LinkedIn network.
5. As much as we don't want to admit it. Blogs matter, a lot. (And for that matter, so does Twitter.)
Get Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, Michael Arrington or Kevin Rose to mention you and see what happens to your Google Analytics, and then tell me that bloggers don't matter.