There are a few pithy aphorisms one must know upon entering the valley. Here are a few I chant daily:
On culture: Silicon Valley is a holy place, and entrepreneurship is its religion.
On purpose: A hero is measured by the magnitude and size of the problems they solve.
On substance: Focus on perfecting the product, execute by selling the dream.
On timeless value: Be missionaries, not mercenaries.
On setting the standard: “This is Japan. We want high quality.” (atarimae hinshitsu and miryokuteki hinshitsu)
But first: one of my heroes. Ben Chestnut’s Story, on How to Cultivate a Culture of Creative Chaos. I fell into this controlled chaos as well.
In order to create a religion, instead of “doing what you love,” learn to “love what you do.
My story is perhaps just as circuitous. A lot of people advised me to make more blog posts on myself and my views, which requires a sense of vulnerability… but I suppose that’s what being a founder is. It’s taking this chance when media and Forbes, and everyone out there you don’t know is watching you, as you liven the microcosm of Silicon Valley, a panopticon of glass windows inspiring people you don’t even know yet to dare to dream.
Surprise, my life possibly isn’t more interesting than yours; it is a bit deal more hectic. This goes for any founder you meet.
As you shake hands with billionaires on a mundane basis, you’ll realize that they’re simply heroes because they are average beings that took astronomical leaps of human spirit, and thus achieved great things.
They are not smarter than you or me. They certainly don’t look like Greek Gods, and many did not start off with the best means.
What they did have is the same reason why Marvel and Animes appeal to us, from Spiderman, an average teenage boy to Death Note, another highschooler. They were humans in the right place, at the right time (market timing), with astronomical hope and will that led them to accomplish insurmountable feats. Even groot. I mean he’s not even a tree, just a root.
I started off my career in neuroscience and lipid research, as a grub assistant autoclaving, cleaning petri dishes, editing grant applications. I was 17, at UCLA, and one of the few handful of freshmen to get a lab job with a professor in the David Geffen School of Medicine in Cardiology. What this taught me ironically, was sales. To get a lab funded well, was to market he hell out of educational research that otherwise would be gibberish and breathe life and meaning into it: to make it valuable.
I went onto becoming an international volunteer and neurosurgery scribe afterwards, to realize as an English major I was an romantic, and I liked gazing into people’s eyes. That all changed as I worked in Bev Hills and questioned the reason why I wanted to be a physician.
While to some people, medicine was a vocation, to me it deep down as a career. The ROAD to success was paved by radiologists, ophthalmologists, anesthesiologists and dermatologists I knew from family and their friends. It was that and any investments thereof was a goal of stable returns in real estate and stocks.
It was safe, paved and less ventured, such is a career.
Here’s the thing about life, that you’ve possibly heard a multitude of times over: if you are not courageous to admit what you want and go for it, you will never receive it.
I wanted to be a Wallstreeter, with the release of Wolf of Wallstreet. I wanted to break into finance, as an English major. It was because at the core of it all, the value my family placed on medicine was because of its prestige and wealth, not because of its values.
I joined Wallstreet Oasis, lead the club for a bit, crammed for these atrocious Series exams, and got into Morgan Stanley. It’s like in high school and at UCLA. I wanted to become the president of a club, I wanted to get into research, I wanted to golf and model and do cheerleading, yet I still had two little brothers to take care of and chores but you know what? I did.
The thing about success and life is that you need to have a goal and you need to wake up one day, and become it. It is a conscious decision. Anything that detracts from your goals is an excuse.
Analogously they say startups and entrepreneurship is a dating game. If you are not willing to date your own goals and business, a VC sure as hell isn’t going to.
Entrepreneurship at the core is about finding your goals. It is not necessarily a why or a purpose but what you want. People are over complicating things, and making it overly sanctimonious when some of the coolest and best things do not have a profoundwhy.
For Elon, that’s just getting to Mars. For Eric from Zoom, that was simply delivering happiness. For Bezos, that was simply just building a super awesome marketplace that was a byproduct of his bookshop. For Steve Jobs, that was building an empathy box, based off of simplicity, his meditative practices and calligraphy in Japanese culture for communication. The list goes on.
Your is something you would do even when you had free time. Is it playing video games Then your goal is to rank Ninja. Is it writing? Then perhaps that
Disclaimer: I am not stating entrepreneurship is for everyone. It is a daring endeavor that tests one’s mind and body, in a steep trek that they may lose all, if not just time.
In the midst of this impending danger, Silicon Valley is a holy place and entrepreneurship is its religion.