Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge (svc2c)

I visited Cambridge on the 18th of November 2010. I took a train from London Kings Cross at around 19:30. The evening was spent roaming around Queens’ College and Cambridge.

In the morning I rushed to the Judge Business School to attend the Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge conference. The first keynote speaker was Mike Schroepher (Vice President of Engineering at Facebook),  where he gave an inspirational talk about his past at Stanford University, Mozilla and Facebook. He mentioned that young people should constantly look at the things that they enjoy as future career plans as opposed to doing something for financial or other motives.

A panel on how to endure startups was particularly fascinating. Adam Nash (Vice President of Search & Platform Products at LinkedIn) was of the opinion that flexibility in employees is a key element. Mike was of the opinion that hiring employees that can solve problems surpassing specifications was what he looks for. He also gave a very different outlook on life and how the theory of flow is something that is so vital and fundamental in the short and long term. Tackling pertinent problems rather than entire industries was the advice he gave to budding enterprenuers.

A keynote speech by John Lilly (Venture Partner at Greylock, outgoing Mozilla CEO) focused primarily on how to handle a work / life balance. He mentioned how his contacts had an impact on his life, and advised the audience to look 10-20 years down the road and visualise people you would like to be and work with.  Exposure to random social activities and meeting lots of people was a good way of networking he said. Treating people well who resonate with you is another key element he mentioned.

Top commandments for entrepreneurs given by distinguished Silicon Valley guests are as follows:

  • Hire the right people
  • Be loyal to your markets
  • The ‘if’ factor is the most important
  • Talk about your ideas to as many people as you can
  • People need to think for themselves rather than be lectured
  • Making your own mistakes is a key experience
  • Questioning authority
  • Find mentors
  • Change the world

The conference ended with a speech from Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn). His vision for life was to build human ecosystems through Technology, Finance and Business. His tips to entrepreneurs include making decisions in a time compressed situation whether you want to or not and to look at your business competitive edge in the industry.

This was followed by a networking session.

I got some dinner at Queens’ College and headed for London at around 20:45.