We felt like we were in the Nirvana of pure risk-taking, money falling from heavenly angels, and fast-paced and exciting business adventures. With relentless preparation and eagerness for this trip, we came to learn about the Holy Grail of entrepreneurship.
To succeed in the Valley, it is very important to not only be good technically, but also to develop extraordinary social skills. Network, network, network! All the time and every time. You never know who you will meet and how they could be there for you one day when most needed.
When talking to strangers at a bar, a cafe, or even at a bus stop, you could be talking to a next successful company founder in the Valley. People here are candid about their ideas, they will tell you as it is, and expose their endeavours before launching them. This allows them to get valuable feedback, validation from peers, and even better ideas, such as a continuous free market survey.
Failing-fast, a stepping stone concept embraced by so many start-ups, has provided entrepreneurs with a framework for the acceptance of ideas, the authentic self, and the sharpening of survival networking. These abilities are further validated and exemplified by centennial and transformational businesses, such as IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, LinkedIn, and many more clearly achieving unimaginable success.
Working hard and playing harder is a common theme but at what costs to you? Sacrifices, efforts, and hard work are prices that you will have to pay to compete with the best. This is truly a battle of the smartest.
Some of us took the liberty to attend unplanned activities, like career fairs, going to the beach, shopping, and attending industry trade shows. Each of these activities have provided invaluable lessons and insights into the entrepreneurial world. From bargaining for better deals, gathering market intelligence, and seeing the ocean and its limitless opportunities, we were humbled and encouraged to succeed in our own journey.
Above all, we have learned to improve our relationship building and leadership skills. From classmates we learned to know and appreciate each other and our talents, while becoming a stronger EMBA 2011-2013 cohort. Our next Everest will be to replicate this Silicon Valley ecosystem in Ottawa, with a passion to contribute back to our families and communities. Through lasting friendships and memories, this Silicon Valley trip will forever be remembered in our hearts.
-By Rodrigo Delgado and Thanh Nguyen
This article is the fourth in a series on the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management Executive MBA class trip to the Silicon Valley. The trip is part of the EMBA curriculum on "Innovation and Entrepreneurship."