Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Silicon Valley – the heart of entrepreurism!

What an amazing tour arranged by the incredible CBA Women in Focus Community.  And so many learnings!! 

After visits to Ideo, Cisco, Linked In, Facebook, IBM Venture Capital, Eventbright and many more, here are just a few key ideas that really stood out:

  1. Be in perpetual BETA mode.  Don’t get so far down the road in projects that it is too hard to reverse and you are way too financially and emotionally invested.  Prototyping is at the core of everything. Develop a minimum viable product so you can act quicker and less expensively.  Develop multiple prototypes around the same challenge and then refine as you go along. Launch and learn.  Get live as soon as possible and grow as you learn more.
  2. Find ways to articulate your strategy.  It is no use having the strategy sit in a nice spreadsheet that no one understands clearly.  This is the only way in which you will hold everyone accountable.  When you communicate to people about the strategy, always follow the same template.  For example – start by referring back to the vision.  Then talk to the guiding principles that are set for the short and medium term.  Then set the execution - what initiatives will be in place?  Update everyone about how you are tracking against these guiding principles.  There is then total transparency and people know why you are making decisions. 
  3. Adaptability is a key capability. Innovate, lead and move as fast as you can!  You might have the best product, but this in no way guarantees that you will be successful.  There is so much competition and in order to prevail, size and scale might not be enough.  Go after those ‘sticky’ customers who stay with you for your ability to be ahead of the curve.    Be able to articulate the value that you bring to these customers so that things are easier for them.
  4. Culture is the key to business success.  With so much change happening in the market, cultures that remain glacial are not successful.  To start shifting your culture, think about:
  • Who is accountable for decisions?  Is this accountability real?  How do you create a common language for decisions?  Put together a common vocabulary. 
  • Know what your team thinks of the current culture by doing a survey.  Take the results on board and create the type of culture you are proud to be part of.

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