Blogging from Silicon Valley: Make Yourself Known

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The Telfer Executive MBA, Class of 2017 kicked off the Silicon Valley experience last week with a visit to the Consulate General of Canada office and the Salesforce headquarters office.

(Provided photo)

By Adan Elsaadi and Mario Fowler

The Consul General provided insight on the entrepreneurial and innovative culture of Silicon Valley, a culture that is hungry to recruit new talent. At the forefront of this recruitment is the C100, a business association comprised of Canadian venture vapitalist (VCs) and successful Canadian entrepreneurs who work to recruit Canadian talent.

The key takeaway from our visit to the Consulate General is that the average Canadian startup looking to raise $1 million to $5 million in capital is too small for Silicon Valley venture capitalists.  In addition, entrepreneurs interested in joining the Silicon Valley ecosystem should spend a minimum of one year there exploring opportunities and learning about the culture. C100 delivers SV 101, a training course for potential startups to help them understand the Silicon Valley culture and ecosystem.  

Our Salesforce visit started in their lobby with a digital wall presenting a virtual waterfall along the backside of the lobby splashing virtual water around the elevator entrances. The visual display wasn't the only thing that caught our attention, as a DJ was also spinning tunes for those coming to and from headquarters.  We learned that a DJ spins every Monday in the lobby in order to kick-off the week and energize Salesforce employees.

The Salesforce team had prepared an engaging and informative presentation for our group, followed by an empathy mapping/group exercise that provided us with context about Salesforce products and services line.  Aligning with the Salesforce culture of promoting a high energy environment, we had the liberty of doing a team rock-paper- scissors "re-energizing" exercise.

The key message of our day coming from the Consul General: Make yourself known!

This article is part of a series on the University of Ottawa's Telfer School of Management Executive MBA annual class trip to the Silicon Valley. The trip is part of the EMBA curriculum on "Innovation and Entrepreneurship."

Organizations: University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management Executive MBA

Geographic location: Silicon Valley

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