Silicon Valley Diary by Andrew Fogg
It’s Been a Busy Week Here in the Valley
I’ve been meeting with people and demoing import.io non-stop.
The marketing gurus back in London have been doing a wonderful job getting me set up with some really key industry individuals out here.
I have meetings from sunup to sundown, and I’m loving it!
The most intense thing I’ve done so far though has to be Structure.
It’s basically a two-day conference where the best of the best come to discuss industry trends, pitch their companies and meet one another.
My objective was to demo.
We didn’t have a booth, but I still managed to ensnare anyone and everyone within shouting distance and get them to see the product.
You really have to be willing to just go out there and grab people and say “hey! look at this really cool thing we can do!”.
The response was really positive.
Andrew at GigaOM
I will also say that the quality of the networking at events like this is much better here than in the UK.
In London, I generally find that when I go to events like this, there are a lot of people who are trying to service the industry rather than industry participants.
Lawyers, marketers and accountants all seem to flock to these events to pick up customers and as a result, sometimes it feels more like you are being sold to for the entire evening.
In the states, or at least in Silicon Valley, there seems to be a much higher percentage of industry participants, subject matter experts and people who are genuinely interested in data and technology.
The Big Divide
All this networking has led me to have some enlightening conversations about the difference between the US and European tech industries.
The prevailing feeling seems to be that while there are great founders and developers in Europe, we suffer from a lack of senior management.
The European startup scene is missing a whole group of people that are essential to success: product managers, developer managers, sales managers, operations managers etc who have 15 or more years of experience in the technology sector and who have been through the different stages of growth with a number of different companies.
Emergency Exit Only
I’ve also heard it said that startups in Europe suffer from conservative customers.
When trying to sell as a startup the question that you are asked by customers in Europe is “will you still be around in 1 year?”, whereas the questions that the customers in the US are asking themselves is “can I buy myself 1 year’s competitive advantage by using these guys?” and “are my competitors already using it?”
There is one final big difference which is that startups in Europe have a reduced number of exit opportunities compared to startups in the US as there are fewer strategic acquisitions of technology companies (big or small) in Europe compared to the US.
This leaves European startups with only one route to exit which is profitability and then IPO.
Not All Work
Of course it hasn’t been all work.
I’ve been here two weeks now and I have to say: San Francisco is an amazing place.
I took a stroll through Chinatown the other day, which consequently, is the largest chinatown outside of Asia. It’s very different from the one in London.
You can wander up and down the streets and look at all the brightly coloured shops and sample some of the best chinese food I have ever had.
They even have fresh fortune cookies available!
Another thing that I have noticed in exploring the city, is the popularity of little dogs.
I spotted these as I was grabbing a coffee the other morning, and just couldn’t resist snapping a photo.
Cute little dogs on the street in SF
by Andrew Fogg, CDO