IESE Meets The Valley day 3: Gaming faces, the no assholes rule and PeHyMo

I am writing this while in the bus back from San Francisco Santa Clara. We still have a dinner and our evening to go. We visited several companies today: Electronic Arts, Nexenta, Eventbrite and L’Atelier US from BNP Paribas


In the morning we started with Electronic Arts where we put our gaming faces on. This gaming company has been producing games for a long time. I’ve enjoyed many of their games and so there was a lot of nostalgia. However the gaming industry is changing and so Electronic Arts is trying to follow.


David and I next to the "games wall" at EA

David and I next to the “games wall” at EA

We had lunch at Nexenta which is a “cloud storage” company. Nexenta uses open source technology to provide clients with a solution to store data. I was amazed at how disruptive open source can be. It turns out that by using open source Nexenta can reduce the price by 70% or more. It was also interesting to hear how Nexenta has grown their business, going from an idea to the international operation that they currently have. Nexenta was a “typical” example of a Silicon Valley company: some technically talented people doing amazing, disruptive things and growing very rapidly.

Bill Roth showing a "cloud" to some IESE students

Bill Roth showing a “cloud” to some IESE students


The afternoon showed us another “typical” example of a startup: Eventbrite. Eventbrite has almost doubled their personal in less than a year and they are looking to grow by another third this year. They have made their culture non-negotiable while growing. The two founders still meet with every person that is hired. They sum it up in the “No assholes rule”. While they recruit they look for the capability to do the job. However when they have their deciding meeting, and the people involved cannot imagine sitting next to the employee, the person is not hired. I have the feeling, having visited some smaller companies now, that this could be a larger trend; people just passionate about what they are doing with the desire to create great solutions.


We ended our day with L’Atelier US, an innovator of BNP Paribas. They are trying to identify the future trends in the Valley and help educate Europe about these trends. Their CEO: Sergi Herrero gave us a very clear overview of The Valley. However he mentioned that he updates this overview every 3 months or even more often. The trend used to be SOLOMO: Social Local Mobile. However with the new technologies being developed it will be more PeHyMo or: Personal, Hyper Local and Mobile.


Tomorrow we have another series of great visits planned, our most packed day yet. The number of impressions and things I see keeps increasing. Every evening I feel more like I would love to work and live here. It is just contagious to be around so many people that are passionate about what they are doing.