On day 4 of our Silicon Valley trip we visited 4 companies and had our closing event which attracted around 150 people. Now back in BCN, let me share my reflection on this day
We started the day with a visit to Cisco. This is one of the visits we decided to repeat from last year as students liked it a lot. At Cisco, we met with Ian Temple who works with the education industry. We discussed the 4 D’s that restrict innovation in education: Denial (that we need to change), Doubt (is the client getting value?), Dissatisfaction ( of students and employees) and Disruption (through processes and technologies). Cisco (in Ian’s area) is focusing on helping education to innovate. What is helping their case is that they focus on really helping institutions innovate their education rather than just “selling hardware”. This was our first example of focus.
Our second example of focus was at WhatsApp. With them, we discussed the origin of the company, the idea and their current progress. We shared user-stories as well. One remarkable moment for me what when one of the students shared something they missed in the app and the founder responded: “That is a good idea, I think we’ll build that”. Hearing this really impacted me. A company that is able to be so successful and still stay focused on the customer is really impressive to me. This was our second example of focus.
Our third visit that day was with Desk and SalesForce. Desk is a startup that was bought by SalesForce. The founder of Desk explained his vision behind their customer services platform. Their vision to “make your customers smile” was impressive. They then focused al their efforts around this vision. At SalesForce we met with Nasi Jazayeri, VP of Chatter. He shared his startup story but also the focus on innovation of SalesForce. Nasi helped build the process of acquiring and integrating companies at SalesForce. They focus on innovation with a large effort. Nasi: “If you grow at 30% a year, you have to innovate”
Finally we had the closing event: The Entrepreneurial Forum. During the forum we had about 150 guests from Silicon Valley, alumni, companies we met and others. We organized a keynote by Andrew Chung called: “Inventing the future” followed by a panel on the interaction between capital and ideas involving numerous entrepreneurs and VCs.
One general theme throughout this day and the entire week is: Focus. All these companies and individuals believe different things. But what they have in common is that they focus on what they believe to be right and then execute relentlessly. Part of Silicon Valley is that it is a “Focus Game”. Now all we have to do here in Europe is find out what we think is right and then focus + execute as well 😉