Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last Day in Silicon Valley

The last day of our adventures in Silicon Valley was an interesting day as well. We went to PARC and learned about research then headed off to facebook and later to meet with Robert Scoble. It was interesting to compare research for knowledge and research for profit and innovation. It was hard to know that we were leaving in the morning to return to the cold weather and leave the experience. However, it was nice to know that home was waiting on the other side.

Through this experience I learned a lot about what it is to be an entrepreuner and live in the fast paced technological world that is Silicon Valley. It brought many interesting questions about what I am going to do with my life and how this experience has changed my perspective on life. I am really glad I had the experience and met with a lot of wonderful people from Luther and the valley and it will be interesting to see what happens in the future.

Growing Up

On Wednesday we had lunch with Ani Vallabhaneni and one of his friends. They are both working on small start-ups (one only has three people). It was interesting to talk to people beginning companies and getting their companies to grow. Plus, Ani used to work with a Luther Grad, another bonus. We met for lunch at a Turkish restaurant and it was really good. Plus, an $8 lunch with a sandwich (or any entree for that matter) and a soup or salad is great for a college students budget. It was really delicious and I even tried a Turkish drink made with yougart. It was good, but pretty salty.

Then we headed to Forrester Research and met with Jeremiah Owyang. We even made it on his blog post! He talked to us about personal branding and how we should display ourselves on the internet. No longer is the internet a place to hide from, but a place to make your voice heard. He talked about personal and professsional blogging and how what you say online will come out, so it better be a representation of yourself that you want people to see. Overall, it was very useful to us as we begin to enter the blogosphere.

Inauguration Day

We actually watched the inauguration of Obama with Ann Winblad, the venture capitalist. After the inauguration we talked with Ann, who funded our professors start-up company. She talked about what it is like to be a venture capitalist and what they look for when interviewing start-ups. Most people in silicon valley have the same opinion --> a recession is the best time to start a company. Although I'm not planning on starting a company in the near future, I learned alot about how to start a company if I am ever in that position.

After our visit with Hummer Winblad, it was time to visit an actual startup...Revision 3. It was interesting to see the set and get a tour of the studio. Plus, we got to meet the founder! Then we met Dave Mathews, the creator of Boxee.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Since Monday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we had no appointments in the morning. It was nice to spend the day shopping and relaxing around the hotel. Then we met with Steve Larson from Krugle. He gave us some great insights on interviewing for companies and knowing when a job is right for you and when it is not. Overall it was a very interesting poolside chat.

A weekend in the valley

After spending the week learning all about the culture of Silicon Valley, it was time to experience some of the culture for ourselves, tourist culture to be exact. We went to Alcatraz (on Al Capone's birthday actually) and got to learn about prison life. Since it was Al Capone's birthday, we got to go on special tours related to his time at Alcatraz. It was really interesting and we got some great pictures of San Francisco and the island. Also, we decided what better way to experience the Golden Gate Bridge then with a bike ride across it. So, we rented some bikes and continued to bike the bridge. The two hour ride was well worth it. The views were beautiful and it was great to spend some time outside in the sun and nice weather. (I was shoveling snow a few days ago now that I'm back home.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

naked conversations

As part of the experience, we are required to read a book by a techie in Silicon Valley and blog about the book. I read naked conversations by Robert Scoble/Shel Israel. This book focuses on how blogs are changing the way people and businesses communicate with others. A quote from the novel that is quoted from G. W. F. Hegel describes what several of the people we have talked to have emphasized: "Nothing great has been and nothing great can be accomplished without passion." Passion is the key to survival in Silicon Valley and getting ahead. Without a passion, exciting new inventions cannot come to be.

One of many interesting things I found from the work is their list on the Six Pillars of Blogging. It is below with my comments.

Six Pillars of Blogging:
1 Publishable (everyone can publish their I am doing now!)
2 Findable (it is easy to search for a blog or material on a blog...who doesn't love Google?)
3 Social (basically "the blogosphere" is one big conversation)
4 Viral (News spreads much faster over the internet than papers or television)
5 Syndicatable (RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds let you know quickly when anything is updated)
6 Linkable (Blogs can link to one another or other info on the web)

There's a brief intro to the book and it has been an interesting work to delve into for an assignment. I would recommend it to people are interested in starting their own blog and don't know where to begin or for people wanting to blog about their company.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I don't have an exciting title for this blog post (as opposed to my other really creative ones :) !) Anyways, Friday was filled with three different meetings and it was really exciting.

Stop one: Citizen Space. This is a place to work for either a few hours, or you can rent a desk for a month. It is really a great idea to have a place for people owning their own businesses to work if they cannot afford their own offices. We also talked about reputation and whuffie (which is social capital) It was interesting to see the blurring of social lines to include both business and personal image into one complete image. Other things we talked about was where people fit into the world and into their jobs. Plus, we were encouraged to never say no to an opportunity because you never know where it will lead you. Plus, goals and what you love to do are always changing as you have more experiences.

Stop two: Pixar. Apparently Pixar doesn't give public tours, unless your professor meets someone who works at Pixar on a cruise.

Stop three: Mobitv. Daniel's dad's cousin works for mobitv and he gave us a great presentation about starting a company, what it means to be an entrepreuner, globalization, and life in silicon valley. This company puts tv onto phones which is really cool. Plus, it's all live tv! a benefit, he was one of the founders of TiVo. We learned that because of constant innovation there is a need for constant learning to contribute to jobs in Silicon Valley. Without contribution, there is no way people can keep their jobs. Also, he gave us an interesting definition of entrepreunerialism "having a passion to do something new and novel and the ability to instill that passion in others. Some tips to starting a company are to focus on the customer and to be on top of twitter, websites, and blogging.

After all the meetings, we had a tweetup to meet with some more people in the industry for a happy hour and then headed to a nice restaurant for dinner and spent some time browsing around San Francisco.

Then exhausted, we headed back to the hotel to crash.

Group Blog

If anyone is interested, the group blog with links to other peoples blogs in the group and our pictures is at

Searching for Fruit

On Thursday we spent the day at Google and Apple. Although there is not much I'm allowed to talk about, it was interesting to see two large companies with different perspectives on how to run a company. It brought up the questions on where would I want to work if I had to choose one. I choose Google. A class discussion revealed "8 googles and 4 apples". Also, it was interesting to compare the work environments to where I previously worked.

After the meetings, we went to a San Jose Sharks game. It was my first hockey game and a lot of fun. The Sharks lost which was sad, but we still had fun meeting with Steph's best friend from college (who got us the tickets) and seeing the game!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Day 3 in Silicon Valley

Today was an eventful day.

First we went to see Guy Kawasaki. It was one of my favorite meetings so far. It was so casual and just like a real conversation, unlike the other ones which were more lecture like. Plus, he was inspiring as how college students are oftentimes the best at creating businesses because they do not have the bad habits of the executives.

Then we had a Mediterranean lunch with Sharlene Lee. I had chicken kabobs with feta cheese and pickled onions. It was interesting to hear how she "compromised" business life to have children and how she is still successful.

Then we went on an impromptu hike to Stanford. Although it was really cool, we have sore feet from wearing dress shoes. I had to go out and buy more band-aids, but now everything is going well.

After our hike, we headed to the grocery store and then Tesla Motors. If I had $120,000 to spare, that was one cool totally battery powered sports car. Pictures to come...

Then we headed out to an Indian food dinner with Craig Cornelius. It was wonderful. I had curry chicken and another yummy chicken that I can't pronounce. It was really interesting to talk to this Luther alum (and previous Luther prof) who now works at Google. He is super social and it made it really easy to talk to him. (We are seeing him tomorrow).

After another impromptu run to the grocery store (for band-aids and cortisone cream) we are having social time in our hotel room.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 2 in Silicon Valley

Here are some exciting events from Day 2 updated

Meeting with LS9 - How cool is a company that can make Diesel out of e-coli and sugar? It was really interesting to learn the quirks and perks of silicon valley. The tour of the lab was really interesting too!

Yummy lunch at a vegan restaurant: herbivore in the mission. The falafel wrap was yummy and
I tried tofu.

Casual meeting with Sarah Lacy and hearing all about her book at life. Interesting! She brought up some interesting questions about life and work. Is there such a thing as balance? Can you really have a family and own a business or is it only one or the other?

Free dinner at the hotel! Mexican dinner tonight!

Setting up my very first blog and uploading pictures to flikr.

Reading before bed: naked conversations by Robert Scoble/Shel Israel it's not's about blogging. There will be a book review to come...

Day 1 in Silicon Valley

So far here are the events of day one in Silicon Valley...

We made it to the airport and our flight left without too many problems. It was an hour late because of the oncoming blizzard, but other than that no problems. We made it to San Jose and walked into weather in the 60's that was sunny. After a quick stop to check into our hotel, we headed out for a late lunch on El Camino Real. Then we headed to the tech museum. It was hands on and our tickets came with a free Imax movie (we watched one on extreme risks which had skydiving). There were different games that related loosely to computer science stuff we did, such as wack-a-spam (basically like the wack-a-mole carival game) and some more academic then that. Such as traveling through the network in a packet (thanks to networking class we rocked that quiz!). Our hotel has a "social hour" which we thought were drinks, but it turned out to be a free dinner!