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Think like a Silicon Valley CEO

Posted by on Aug 2, 2011 in BLOG | No Comments

Thecommich has had amazing opportunities to sit and talk with some of the most talented, brilliant minds in cinema and business. Last week, a dozen or so stars in the App and Startup universes converged at Biz Tech Day headquarters in San Francisco to talk about their newest projects and their thoughts on the industry.

You’ll have to tune into Biz Tech Day in the coming months to find out more – but there are some commonalities I noticed in speaking to these talented guys and gals. Do you have what it takes to be among their ranks?

PASSION – in her interview, Edith Yeung of Biz Tech Day made a great point when talking about what Chinese businessmen need to know about the US tech market: “These (US) people don’t  care how much money you can make with an idea. They care about how passionate you are about it. They want to see how much you are personally investing in your company.” This if of course not to say that money is not an objective. It just shows that desiring money is not the starting point for disruptive, exciting ideas.

LISTENING TO EXPERIENCE – almost every interviewee in the mobile space was asked how they thought up their app. Invariably the answer went something like  “I was sitting in [location] and [having lunch, talking to a friend, looking for a store] when I thought, wouldn’t it be great if [incredible new idea for an app]”. Unlike our ivory tower notion of intellectuals and other great thinkers, today’s App gurus are sourcing their ideas from real life experiences. They work and go about their day like we do – except, that when they have a “wouldn’t it be great if….” moment, they actually take the time to figure out how that can translate into a usable tool that they can create. If we all thought like this, we’d already probably be riding in flying cars and talking to each other with our minds.

NUANCED THINKING – “Is there a tech bubble?” is one of the most asked questions for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and definitely a hot topic among the ones we interviewed. What’s interesting is the manner in which our interviewees tackled the question. Most had been around for the first big dot com bust, and could make direct comparisons not only with the amount of money being given to new companies (tens of billions in the late Nineties, compared to hundreds of millions today), but also to the type of investor that was raising the funds (non-tech investors then, vs. highly attuned VCs specializing in the tech space today). Digging deeper into an issue and making distinctions that are easily missed in today’s sloganeering, sound bite culture are important to thought leaders. They should be important to the rest of us, as well.

CONSTANT OBSERVATION – Thought leaders take lots of cues from what’s going on in the market place. They look for trends and patterns in what people are watching and buying. They look at what’s in the news. They listen to people commenting on the blogosphere. Every interviewee was asked roughly the same questions – Are we in a tech bubble? What about China? Where is the market going?  No matter what the answer, they backed up their response with a slew of observations on market behavior, economic statistics, and personal experience. Even their gut instincts have facts to back them up. Good observation skills not only keep us informed and opinionated, they make decision making and action that much more timely and effective.

 What other traits do you think belong in this category? Weigh in below!

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