For aspiring business people and tech entrepreneurs around the globe, Silicon Valley is often seen as the height of ambition. It is home to 30 companies that are listed on the Fortune 1000 index, as well as many of the world’s most influential tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Netflix, Salesforce, Electronic Arts, and Intel.
It is also home to several of the most expensive ZIP codes in the United States, and a whopping 74 billionaires. By some estimates, hundreds of languages are spoken within the narrow confines of Silicon Valley, thanks to its global allure as a place to make dreams come true and strike it rich.
However, making it in Silicon Valley is no easy feat. The place has issues with inequality and barriers to success. It is an intensely competitive place with a dog-eat-dog mentality, where only the most dogged and determined can make it to the top of the heap. With that in mind, here is what you need to do to make it in Silicon Valley today, in eight simple steps.
1. Ditch the Modesty
In many other places around the world, modesty is considered a virtue. However, if there is anywhere in the world where overselling yourself is recommended, it is Silicon Valley. Success in SV is all about standing out from the crowd and being able to convince investors and employers that you can deliver results.
The region is steeped in a culture of shameless self-promotion, and it is often said that downplaying your ideas or achievements will only serve to attract some funny looks from the people around you. Ditch the modesty and fake it til you make it, as they say.
2. Be Adaptable
Silicon Valley is an incredibly fast-paced place to live and work. The place that regularly invents the tech innovations that change the world cannot afford to stand still. To thrive in such a warp-speed culture, you need to be adaptable and versatile.
That means staying on top of new tech trends and following the latest news from VCs and funding groups religiously. It means being prepared to drop or tweak your own ideas if you realize they are out of date.
3. Always Be ‘On’
In every aspect of your hustle, you should always be switched on. You could miss out on the next great tech stock investment or round of seed funding simply because you were not connected or available. Let’s take a look at one Silicon Valley tech innovation that is the epitome of this attitude: mobile forex trading.
Always keen to disrupt, tech wizards have in recent years taken the power to trade currencies on global markets away from the tightly regulated and time-limited trading floors of Wall Street. As TopOnlineForexBrokers.com explains, mobile forex is much simpler, and far more convenient. You only need a mobile device and a reliable internet connection, download a forex trading app from your apple or google store or use a browser and enter your account details. They also give great support to investors explaining what is mobile trading, how to choose a smartphone and other benefits of mobile trading.
4. Know Your Tech
You might consider yourself a Grade A marketing genius or business guru, but this will never be enough to get you ahead in Silicon Valley. Regardless of all of the noise, Silicon Valley is and will remain a global epicenter for tech expertise.
You should be able to code as a bare minimum and you should definitely be able to understand the tech trends and solutions that are driving change in Silicon Valley. If you cannot clearly demonstrate your tech knowledge, you will quickly be overlooked in favor of those that do.
5. Accept That You Are Worth It
When you’re competing against some of the brightest minds in the world, as well as literal billionaires, it can be hard not to let the imposter syndrome kick in. However, this urge to think that you are not as good as everyone else should be stamped out.
The vast majority of people in Silicon Valley arrived with little more than a dream and plenty of ambition. Much of the time, all it takes is luck for someone to go from a struggling coder to a startup entrepreneur with $100 million of seed funding under their belt. You need to believe that you are the best and that your ideas are just as valid as anyone else’s, otherwise, you will not attract the opportunities that you seek.
6. Be Open and Available
Networking is the lifeblood of Silicon Valley. When you arrive, you will probably notice how friendly everyone is. While this is partly influenced by the multicultural atmosphere and year-round sunshine, it is also driven by a culture that values connections more than money or success.
That person standing behind you in the line at Starbucks could end up being the person who gets you a meeting with Google. The person holding the door open for you in your co-working space could end up hearing about your startup idea over lunch and decide to put you in touch with a VC firm. A single connection can change your life in Silicon Valley, so don’t shut yourself off from them.
7. Exploit Your Outsiders’ Perspective
There is an oft-used term known as the ‘Silicon Valley Bubble’, which describes just how caught up Valley insiders can get in their own culture. This can stifle innovation, as people begin to think that the Bubble is somehow representative of the entire world.
Sure, someone might have a great idea for a startup that would work in the youth-focused, wealthy culture of Silicon Valley, but would have little appeal in the real world. As an outsider, you can bring this valuable perspective to all of your dealings and ideas, showing the long-time Bubble denizens how tech can transform the world beyond the Bay Area.
8. Master Silicon Valley Speak
Do you know your unicorns from your cap tables? Is your pitch deck scrappy? How is your pivot going right now? Have you hit hockey stick growth yet? Silicon Valley has, for all of its linguistic diversity, established its own lexicon that can seem incredibly daunting to outsiders.
As we have already covered, Silicon Valley has an intense internal culture that is often used to separate the insiders from the outsiders. With that in mind, it is essential that you master your Silicon Valley lingo and know exactly what people are talking about when they start using it.
Let’s get started now. A unicorn is a startup valued at more than a billion dollars. A cap table is a document that denotes ownership of a startup. Scrappy implies a creative, disruptive solution to a common tech problem. A pivot is a process of changing a product as a result of customer feedback. Hockey stick growth describes an idea or company that is growing exponentially. See? That wasn’t so hard.
By following these simple steps, you too can make it in Silicon Valley. Don’t forget about us when you’ve made it to the top!