The Silicon Valley is the birthplace of thousands of high-tech innovations — all created “to make the world a better place.” And after 15 years living here, here are a few things I’ve noticed woven in the Silicon Valley’s DNA which make it so unique:
Because we are surrounded by so many great people and great ideas, we are inspired and determined to be the next Steve Jobs, the next Zuckerberg, the next big thing. We all have a hunger to start, run and grow something because wealth, power, and fame drives us.
Through working hard and working fast, the Silicon Valley is known to have the latest and greatest technology and innovation. And because we are moving fast, the rest of our lifestyle has to keep up. Our conversations are pretty much straight to the point and transactional, our attention span is embarrassingly short, the quality in our work can never compare to a Da Vinci or a Michelangelo creation. We’ve become servants to speed, where we want everything now and in the moment (or we wanted it yesterday).
Our attention span are so short, that we can’t even go to dinner without our phones. We constantly need to check our emails, dismiss to our notifications, and attend to our text messages. We’ve become more engaged with our phones than a conversation with our friends or family at the dinner table. We fall asleep to it and wake up to it; it has become another significant organ to our bodies.
Besides being servants to speed and being married to our phones; we are chained down at work. It’s the Silicon Valley; we have to stay on top of the innovation game. We got to work hard and fast to be a game changer in the industry. So, if you are looking for a 9-5 job in the Silicon Valley, it doesn’t exist.
Companies are aware that this 9-5 job doesn’t exist. They know we sweat and slave at work, so they comfort us with perks and culture. Ping pong tables, nerf guns, lunches and dinner, massage sessions, gym membership, unlimited PTOs, housecleaning service, dry cleaning services...all makes a 70 hour week seem pretty manageable.
And if those perks doesn’t cut it, perhaps your salary will. With our average income surpassing $100k, we are ranked among the richest area in America. If you’re not making bank (like myself), at least we are living and breathing amongst many billionaires from Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Larry Page, Peter Thiel, George Lucas, Jack Dorsey; the list goes on.
And since we are so caught in the moment, collecting money at work, we've become more committed to our jobs than anything else. We don’t make time to date or make time to maintain relationships; hence we actually marry late or never marry.
Or perhaps, it’s because the price for love in the Silicon Valley is unbelievably ridiculous. From the cost of dates, the ring, the wedding, the honeymoon and let’s not talk about the house. The Silicon Valley does not make love easy, hence the easy way to deal with it, is sadly later in life.
Not only do we lack time maintaining relationships, we don’t do a good job with maintaining ourselves either. We’re okay hopping into work in a free startup t-shirt and flip flops. If not that, we wear simply wear clothes which are comfortable and practical. Rarely, do we doll or groom up.
This is why San Jose and San Francisco are given the nicknames of Man Jose and Man Francisco. It’s nerd men galore up in here. Even the ladies here act, dress and think like men. And if you're not a nerd, then you're probably a hipster.
Despite our slobbish appearances, I must say we’re pretty fit. Since we mentally work out so hard throughout the day, we need to decompress and process ever information by physically working out by the end of the day. It helps us relieve stress and all the rage that are built inside from the busy, hectic day. Or perhaps, we are so busy, we simply don't have time to be a vegetable. We have too much drive.
As much it is a privilege to live here and witness the birth of many great things and people, this place is really a bubble.
And as creators, innovators, game-changers, designers, we have to realize the rest of the world is different. We have to step outside of this bubble and empathize with the rest of the world to actually make the world a better place.