Mind over Matter

Silicon Valley is an epicenter for emerging technologies and is where many tech giants, that we have discussed in class, originated. While there are many theories on how and why Silicon Valley has become so successful, I believe culture is one of the primary reasons.  Silicon Valley is grounded in the prioritization of passion as well as the ability to think differently and be flexible.  It also encourages risk taking and allows network effects to take hold, new ideas to flourish, and for resources to be available to startups. Together, each of these characteristics create the unique Silicon Valley culture.  While it is unclear if the Silicon Valley will continue to dominate and maintain their status as the leading tech hub, Silicon Valley will continue to exist and thrive as a mindset that can be replicated in different locations.

Similar to Silicon Valley, at the beginning of the semester, location was critical.  We needed to be in the same location in order to have open dialog and small group discussion. As the semester progressed, our class has created its own distinct culture and mindset.  After this Wednesday, we will not be sitting in red seats form 7 to 9:30pm or bringing snack to class, but a new generation of the class will begin.  Together, we have cultivated the skills, have access to the tools, and have a new mindset that will allow us to continue to learn even after the formal class ends.

Intentional Connectivity and Social Media

Contrary to our initial blogs, we now know it is possible to be intentional in our connectivity.  We have completed deep dives and dissected many tech giants’ platforms.  Professor Chang also provided legal perspective and advice for us when using the platforms in the workplace.  As Kate said in her presentation, we have looked at “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”  As a result of our discussions, we now know how to properly utilize social media whether that be for marking safe during a natural disaster, avoiding cults, or fundraising for a non-profit.  Due to our newfound social media skills, we, as a class, can stay connected and thrive regardless of whether or not we are in the same room. 

Intellectual curiosity with a bit of skepticism

Technology is an evolutionary process that has and will continue to disrupt and rebuild.  As mentioned in the last class, at this point every company is a tech company.  For those of us entering or returning to the work force, it will be critical that we stay educated and up to date on emerging technology and industry trends.  I have found that the blog and tweeting requirements were just the catalyst to be connected.  Through this class, I have found that one of the best ways to do so is to purposefully create a feed that has a variety of opinions on tech topics that are interesting and that will influence the industry we choose to work in. 

There is a wealth of information online, and as we’ve learned, some of it falls into the “fake news” category.  Because of our discussions, I find I look at every article with a critical eye and questioning whether or not the author and the sources are reliable, this is in part due to the realization that being published by a reputable company is not enough.   

Collaboration and Constructive Feedback

Silicon Valley has created an ecosystem to help startups grow and provide feedback that allows them to succeed. In parallel, this course is unique in that we are constantly giving and receiving feedback.  There are so many circumstances where feedback is difficult to receive, but this course has trained us to take it in stride and incorporate the advice into our work.  I recently received my project reviews and it was incredibly helpful.  I will definitely be incorporating the presentation advice into the next phase of my life as a Deloitte Technology Consultant. I am really grateful as a senior to have partaken in a course that created a unique environment where both collaboration and constructive criticism could flourish.  

Together, continuing to be intentionally connected to social media, intellectually curious with a little bit of skepticism, collaborative and constructive feedback will prepare us for our next endeavors and the rapid evolution of technology.

2 comments

  1. I actually consider the presentation feedback to be one of the best innovations in the class (and I only happened upon it accidentally). When do you get to hear what everyone in the room thinks about your presentation? It definitely adds perspective. Good luck at Deloitte next year!

  2. It’s interesting to see the parallels between the Silicon Valley mindset and our class mindset laid out like this – great post! What really resonates with me is your observation that “Due to our newfound social media skills, we, as a class, can stay connected and thrive regardless of whether or not we are in the same room.” This, to me, is the core power of social media – and, as we’ve seen throughout the semester, it can be leveraged for both positive and negative purposes. The idea of the decentralized community is a particularly powerful one, as it has disruptive implications not only for how companies create communities of consumers/users, but also for how we relate to one another on individual, local, and macro scales. We are in the midst of, and will continue to see, a shifting emphasis on communities built around similarity of ideas and desires, rather than geography or demographics.

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