Sunday, April 22, 2007

Silicon Valley or bust

Although Silicon Valley tends to be the (apparent) center of activity for so much that goes on in the tech sector, it amuses me that I never managed to work there. I've only had reason to visit there a very small number of times (three?), and only once gave serious thought to moving there, but occasionally, like this morning, I consider the fact that if only for the sake of "completeness", a sense of "been there, done that", I should actually make an effort to spend some time there, eventually, someday.

I'm in no rush to get there, but since my past interest in eventually getting there never went anywhere, maybe this time I need to put a plan or at least a meta-plan in place so that I will eventually get there.

My current expectation is that I will stay with my current overall work situation for at least five years. There is nothing magical about that number, but it seemed like a more robust level of commitment than two or three years and not as confining as ten years. That was my original "plan" a year ago, and now I have been in this new job almost a year (three weeks to go), so the end of my initial five-year planning horizon is now only four years away.

So, this raises the question of what I might be wanting to do in five years, what venue in Silicon Valley might support such activity, and how to prepare myself over the next four years to be in a position to be a top candidate for such a position.

Who knows, maybe I might position myself to be an entrepreneur in that timeframe. Or, maybe as a service provider to other entrepreneurs. Actually, I've always had an interest in venture capital, so maybe the question is how to prepare myself to shift into the venture capital sector in that timeframe. Or, maybe as simply an independent individual contributor (again). And, of course there is the potential that there might be a position in Silicon Valley with my current employer (The Evil Empire.)

For now, I'll simply leave this matter as an open question to ponder in an open-ended manner for the next year or two.

The biggest issue that I expect to be facing is that the average age of the "work force" that I will be working with will be another five years younger than it is today, leaving me yet another five years out of touch with the world view of those fresh out of school or even three or four years out of school who might be potential supervisors that I would be working for. Yikes! I'm sure this will be the greatest challenge facing me in five years.

Of course, all of this begs the question of the validity of the thesis that in The Age of the Internet, it is not supposed to matter where you live or where your employer is. To me, the question is how to exploit the people networking potential of physically being in Silicon Valley (or the Bay Area). Once again, The Internet and A Flat World are supposed to eliminate such geography and locality distinctions, but it does appear that we are not there yet. Who knows, maybe we'll get there right about the time that I get to Silicon Valley. Irony is an important fact of life.

-- Jack Krupansky

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