You know you’re in Silicon Valley when…

Michael Arrington argued the merits of Silicon Valley’s tech scene in a recent post on TechCrunch, creating a silly “bring it,” “oh it’s been brung” duel with Seattle. I mention this post because Michael makes one really important point that frames a recent personal experience: “Having literally tens of thousands of bright minds around you to listen to and challenge those ideas, as you do in Silicon Valley, gives entrepreneurs a critical competitive advantage.”

Case and point… Last week I took my car into the dealership for it’s regularly scheduled maintenance service and was being shuttled back to my office with two other passengers. During this 20 minute journey, the following events transpired…

We exchanged names and where each of us was from. We all agreed that Chicago is one of the best cities in the world (totally unrelated except that I manage to give props to my hometown in any honest manner possible). We discussed our professions… the gentleman in the passenger seat was a leading cardiologist and founder of a think tank on heart disease prevention (and he plays golf with the governor). He had an idea for a new medical process/procedure that he felt could be very lucrative and he was looking for someone to “talk to” in confidence about how to proceed. Lo and behold, the gentleman to my left was a science adviser (with a famous lineage) at an early stage investment firm…

This would all seem like fate or an utter coincidence if it hadn’t gone down in San Jose. To Michael’s point, ideation is accelerated in the Valley because, good or bad, biz plans are the small-talk of the Bay.  But to his sentiment about the inability to have a “balanced” life in the Valley, I would say that balance is defined differently for each of us… plus, I know plenty of geeks/entrepreneurs who make time to surf, snowboard, hike, bike, sail, camp, climb, play poker, etc., out here.


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