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What a week in Silicon Valley

Written by, Tom McDonald - Exsel Group

It’s such a hard life!

I’ve had to come to California this week for a research mission to Silicon Valley and the glorious San Francisco. This is my first time in the west coast of the USA and I must admit this place has blown me away. I guess I came with some preconceptions of what Silicon Valley was going to be about; all private jets, big cars and billionaires with deep pockets and even bigger personalities. I don’t think I could have been further from the truth.

The area is an abundance of Entrepreneurship but for every billion dollar idea there is 1000 struggling Entrepreneurs searching and striving to build their concept and brand to take to market. However what makes this place unique to any other place I have ever been is the support system. These technology billionaires are doing all they can to support “their” areas next generation of Entrepreneurs. Buzz words such as “collaboration” “network” and “mentor” aren’t just banded about here, they are followed through. There is a real culture of working together. A huge passion for the sharing of ideas for the better of the area and the economy.

I must admit their financing pool is beyond the realms of my simple understanding and like nothing I have ever seen before. Is this method of financing a bit dangerous, even over risky……perhaps but does it have massive potential to effect business attitude worldwide, absolutely.

My research was to look for the next generation of technology products that we could look to bring to the Scottish Market and our customers to better their business and the relationships with their customers. I have found some fantastic products, but more on that another time. I can’t give all my secrets in one blog. But more than technology I have now had a real education on collaboration and culture, where I thought we were ahead as a business I realise we have a long way to travel and even more so as a country.

Spending time in this amazing area starts to get you thinking big, our next generation of entrepreneurs have so much to learn from this way of working. Could a close relationship between our Entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley  breed a new culture of growth in Scotland? And could we collaborate internationally so that both ecosystems learn best practise from each other?

I am coming home with not just some brilliant ideas on new technology solutions, but a whole new attitude on collaboration and working. In just a few short days I don’t only have new contacts but new friends in San Francisco who are willing to help and collaborate with me. A massive thanks to Bruce at WeAreTheFuture and Scottish Enterprise for enabling me to come on this trip. I now understand his passion for the area and if the San Francisco culture can break into Scotland, something I know Bruce is passionate about making happen. I think we will see tremendous growth and a new era of Entrepreneurship and success.

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