I recently had the privilege of experiencing the Silicon Valley ecosystem, an experience that was nothing short of enlightening. While there’s a lot to unpack from my five days there, I want to share a few key themes that resonated with me the most.
It all comes down to the right attitude. Reid Hoffman captured this sentiment perfectly when he said, ”Silicon Valley is a mindset, not a location.” Entrepreneurial culture is this mindset in action.
Whether at Google or at a small startup, I saw a shared ethos: ”Act like an owner, think like an entrepreneur.” This culture of ownership and autonomy, having a vision and setting goals high, is something I’d love to see infused into more businesses everywhere.
The impact of AI on the business world cannot be overstated. It’s not merely an operational tool but a transformative force reshaping industries, from healthcare to advertising.
Productivity is expected to sky-rocket, allowing more time for innovation and experimentation. It is fascinating to think about how AI can influence the ways we work, open new avenues for creativity, and offer unprecedented scales of personalization even in the daily work at our agency, for example.
Generative AI will allow businesses to become increasingly more customer-centric. With AI tools, businesses can personalize experiences to an extent that was unimaginable a few years ago. In my line of work, this translates to more engaging, relevant content that resonates with customers’ individual preferences and needs, ultimately fostering stronger relationships and brand loyalty.
While technology allows for unprecedented personalization, it also heightens the importance for brands to consistently articulate their unique values, ensuring they remain distinct and memorable in an ever-changing landscape.
Be Brave, Take Risks
Silicon Valley operates on the premise that high risks can lead to high rewards. It’s a place that not only tolerates failure but sees it as a necessary part of the innovation process. This ethos aligns closely with my own views on business and leadership, even if it contradicts deeply embedded beliefs in our cultures.
Case in point, the old Finnish expression The one who reaches up for the spruce, falls back into the juniper. Spruce trees, you may know, grow taller than juniper bushes. Being risk-averse in today’s fast-paced tech landscape is a bigger risk than taking a chance on something that might not work. It is crucial to learn from not only one’s own mistakes but from others’ mistakes, too. Sharing is caring.
Aim to Change the World
Finally, one key takeaway from my trip was the sense of passion that pervades Silicon Valley. Whether it’s Research-Driven Innovation at Stanford or forward-thinking initiatives at Meta, the underlying goal is to make a lasting, positive impact on society. This theme struck a chord with me.
It’s a reminder that technology and business are not just about profits but about improving lives and making the world a better place. However, it would be foolish not to point out that each person’s definition of utopia is different. Also, sustainability can often be de-prioritized when it comes down to the bottom-line.
Let’s try to carry these themes forward in our daily work, shaping not just our businesses but the future of society at large.
All in all, the Silicon Valley Experience was a catalyst for reflection and renewed inspiration. A special thank you goes to Boardman Oy and Boardman Grow for organizing the excursion and to all the fabulous people sharing the journey. After all, it’s the people we meet that shape us the most!
About the writer
Anna Porvari is a CEO of a Finnish tech driven ad agency Kuubi. She has 20+ years of experience from marketing, advertising and brand building from the US and Europe, focusing on digital communication channels. She’s especially interested in all the latest developments in innovations, technology, AI, metaverse, and leadership.