Why is Silicon Valley still the place

I heard so many times that Silicon Valley is not any more the place where to be or where to go, that when I read again the emails I had recently with a student, I asked to let me publish some of his words.


April 2 – Dear Hervé,
I just wanted to update you on my achievements so far in the Silicon Valley. First of all, this place is amazing! It is the first time in my life where I feel so accepted. The events and style of those events is just incredible. This is so much fun!
I met so many inspiring people there. I spent the weekend getting to know the people I am living with. I guess I did not tell you exactly that I live in an entrepreneurs’ house. It’s like a long term hostel for entrepreneurs and by entrepreneurs. I am so inspired by all of the stories!
I also visited a European institution on Thursday. And talking just between you and me I was really disappointed. People were very nice on the surface, but did not help me very much. Just the night before we were talking with some entrepreneurs that a lot of entrepreneurial problems arise in Europe because of lack of cooperation and common goals between the governments.

April 8 – Hervé,
I definitely want to return to Silicon Valley later. Another update of nearly a week’s progress: I visited another amazing conference! Feel so inspired. I also visited one Meetup on the topic of big data. It was really good. I also had an opportunity to participate in an event organized by the Scottish government – it was a very high level event. This is what I love about the Silicon Valley – I would have to try very hard to get into something like that in Europe.

April 18
I really love this place! 🙂 […] I can also give a short summary of what I did during my 3rd week here. I am so proud of the fact that I have visited Google twice! It’s an amazing place! I have also driven past some famous Silicon Valley giants like Cisco, Intel, IBM, Oracle (I loved the Oracle style!). I also went to the place of Shockley Semiconductors and Fairchild Semiconductors.
I went to some events at Plug and Play – very nice place. People have good connections there. Visited an event at Rocketspace accelerator. Completely different atmosphere. Attended another event by IESE (European business school) at Runway accelerator. Saw some Germans, liked the style. Had another event at SRI. Such a protected space, looks like the military future is in there. The event was about robotics – I felt stupid there because I know nothing about robots, but learnt a lot of stuff.
Lastly, as I have mentioned earlier – had the chance to meet […]. I love his speeches. However, it was a bit disappointing because the material was not really new. He just spoke about the same stuff which is on youtube. In general, I just love my time here. I have almost no time to respond to emails (as you can see), but I meet so many people and visit so many places!

May 6
Regarding the last two weeks of my stay – boy were they crazy. I have visited a lot of events. I have met some Europeans who live in San Francisco area. Actually it was a bit disappointing because they were not really entrepreneurial, more like benefiting from the local atmosphere.
I have been to another pitching session in San Francisco – totally secured my opinion that everyone has a chance to pitch and so many people use the opportunity even though the technologies are not really exceptional. I have spent the Easter at Stanford. There was the demo day and final pitches from participants of E-Bootcamp. Stanford left a very good impression – the quality of pitches and organization is different from the rest of Silicon Valley. The next week I went to Entrepreneurial thought leaders event at Stanford – an interview with Morris Chang. Very nice idea to have such events.
To shortly summarize my trip to the Valley it was truly a revolutionizing experience! I have learnt and saw so much. I feel like I have done another semester at EPFL! I think that entrepreneurship around the globe is very different. It is always possible to make something different than Silicon Valley and tailor it to the local atmosphere but in many cases some traits of the culture need to be changed. And that is probably the hardest thing to change. It requires much more than money injections. I am very happy about my choice to go to SV and I think this has made a huge impact to me as a future entrepreneur.

A few years ago, I had participated to a roundtable in Grenoble. I was trying to explain my views about the differences between here, Europe, and there, SV. It was criticized a lot for that “biased, one-sided view” of things when a young entrepreneur reacted. She had just come back from a trip to SV and it was a first time there. “I met more people and learnt more things in 10 days than I would have in in 6 months in Grenoble.” This was in 2011. I believe it is still true in 2014. I still believe SV is the place where to be or at least to go if you want to accelerate your learning about innovation and high-tech entrepreneurship.

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