Top-5 Things I've Learned in Silicon Valley by Jonathan Chizick


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Thinking of moving to Silicon Valley? Do it! But check out these tips before you do.

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Top-5 Things I've Learned in Silicon Valley by Jonathan Chizick

  1. 1. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV @JCinSV Top-5 Things I’ve Learned in Moving to Silicon Valley Jonathan Chizick @JCinSV Slides available at: © Jonathan Chizick
  2. 2. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Background: 2 What I do: Who I help: Startup advisor, former engineer. Actively involved in the Silicon Valley startup world, as a mentor at the 500 Startups Accelerator, and advisor to several startups and Venture Capital funds. Early stage (Seed/Series A) startups in need of guidance and hands-on assistance with business model & growth strategy, and customer & business development. Focus on B2C or B2B2C in the consumer internet, mobile, and marketing technology spaces. Connect startups with customers, partners, and investors to grow their business. Mentor tech startups for marketing, biz dev, and growth strategy. Connections in large consumer brands, tech firms, and the SV ecosystem What I do
  3. 3. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Meanwhile in Silicon Valley…
  4. 4. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Driving to in-person meetings is 10x more productive vs. remote • “I do think the Valley is still the best place in the world by a huge margin to build a start-up” – Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator • “The reasons for a move are clear, but not many people understand the challenge. Splitting up a small company…is one of the worst things you can do as it adds tremendous execution risk. But the only thing worse is not doing it. Between the execution risk (that is within your control) and the risk of not being there (which becomes out of your control), I choose the former. I want to choose the risk I take.” – Noam Bardin, Founder of Waze – If your core market is the US, it’s critical to be there for product feedback – You will raise more money, at a better valuation, from better investors – Your media coverage will be greater both in number and in influence – Your network, partnerships and contacts will accelerate dramatically – The odds of being acquired and size of transaction grow in your favor Learning #1: You have to be here
  5. 5. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Referrals matter. • Cold intros have low hit rates…and even lower success rates – Most investors use intros as screening process • SV has a relatively informal culture, but one that is extremely interconnected. I’m constantly amazed at the people I run into. I’m also amazed by the willingness of the community to introduce, connect, and mentor #2: Your Network is Your Most Important Asset
  6. 6. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Venture investing is extremely interconnected • Top-tier investors (and accelerators) make it easier to attract employees and follow-on investments #3: Brands matter
  7. 7. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Deliver results and investors will come to you • Dramatic growth attracts investors & employees…but the bar is high #4: …but performance tops everything
  8. 8. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Companies Jeff Clavier said ‘no’ to: • Josh Koppelman passed on: • Fred Wilson: • Ron Conway: #5: Don’t let a ‘no’ stop you
  9. 9. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Top-5 Learnings 1. Be here 2. Network 3. Brands matter 4. Performance tops everything 5. Don’t let ‘no’ stop you
  10. 10. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Where to start?
  11. 11. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Tip: Start thinking about Marketing now – Lie entrepreneurs tell: “All our growth is with zero marketing” • Inability to scale customer acquisition is the single greatest factor in not getting Series A • "The Valley skill set that should be in highest demand and greatest scarcity is neither engineering nor design, but rather internet marketing." – Dave McClure, 500 Startups Keep Building your Business! Don’t be (too) distracted by the bright lights
  12. 12. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Definite benefits to a remote technical team, but expect to travel a lot • Great post from Noam Bardin, Founder of Waze: – “Your job description will include flying back and forth every 4-5 weeks. Nothing beats the face to face time and you MUST preserve your relationship, bring your feedback to the team, hearing their feedback, eating dinner together, going out and maintaining personal bonds etc. It sucks but that’s life” • Start building connections to brand names – it will take time (but much faster being in SV vs. remote) Plan your move Don’t underestimate the challenge
  13. 13. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • The volume of networking events, conferences, meetups,… will be overwhelming – Prioritize and know why you’re going • List of key networking events & resources: – * * your mileage may vary. Starter list also included in the appendix Filter the Noise Don’t let networking overwhelm you
  14. 14. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV • Build out your AngelList profile – Requires building real relationships • Follow key blogs & Twitter accounts – Seriously, Silicon Valley LOVES Twitter • Use CRM tools for Networking – LinkedIn is mandatory. Contactually, RelateIQ, or similar personal CRM manager is recommended. Rapportive is also a very useful tool * there are always exceptions, but building your profile can only help * Starter list included in the appendix. List is kept updated at Build your company’s online profile If you’re not on the Internet, you don’t exist*
  15. 15. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Good luck, and thank you! @JCinSV
  16. 16. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Blog Starter List Mark Suster: Fred Wilson: Brad Feld: The Foundry Group: Steve Blank: Eric Ries: Paul Graham: Dave McClure: Marc Andreessen: Chris Dixon: Josh Kopelman, First Round Capital: David Hornik, August Capital: David Skok, Matrix Partners: Hunter Walk: Tomasz Tunguz:
  17. 17. Top-5 Silicon Valley Learnings @JCinSV Networking Resources for Silicon Valley Event Listings: Web Wallflower: BASES: (email list: link) Startup Digest: TechCocktail: Recurring events with changing topics: SVForum's events: VLAB: Founders Space: Worthwhile Conferences: LAUNCH Festival: ; Other LAUNCH conferences: DEMO: TechCrunch Disrupt: Everything from 500 Startups: VentureBeat conferences: Accelerators/Co-Working spaces with events: Plug & Play: NestGSV: RocketSpace: