Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Things Learned in Silicon Valley

My wonderful job sent me out to SF for 3 weeks last October 2016 and 5 weeks this year in May 2017. This place is so different than anything that I have ever experienced before on my program. I am always in a plant, working with operators and solving day to day fires. Here, I am working on software or projects that will benefit my function or more at work. While I am certainly not an expert on Silicon Valley, I wanted to share a little bit of my takeaways from this sweet place.

1. Do not box yourself in thinking. Before I came here, I always worked on stuff for my function at work and while here, I go to lots of different seminars or networking events in things I do not know. For example, I went to an event on Artificial Intelligence at the Google Launchpad space in SF. I did not know much about AI but while at the event, I learned about limitations, potential problems, types of networks and how this all related to different types of machine learning. After the meeting, I bought some books on Kindle to read and learn more about this. I never thought AI would be this present in our lives but the idea of AI helping human decisions is so interesting.

2. Network with all of the great people out here! There are so many cool business ideas being created right here in SF. At each of the events, I find myself meeting people who are truly going to disrupt the current business models of the world or make a difference in the lives of people. It's really cool to feel the passion from these people and absorb their innovative and creative energy.

3. Physical fitness is almost as important as intelligence. Taking care of your body allows your brain to work better. Here in SF, I was very lucky to live within 30 minutes of my job. I walked to work every day and walked back from work or an event every night.Walking to different areas of the city like Fisherman Wharf or Coit Tower (shown above!) instead of taking an car or bus was super good for my health and also for a brain break. The only time I take an Uber is when my intended location will be more than 45 minutes to walk somewhere. I also went hiking and played some Frisbee while I was out here. All of this made me feel sharper at work and I will definitely continue while on my Italian rotation.

4. Try as many new things as possible, especially things that I would never see in another city. In one week here in SF, I went to a coffee cupping, an urban mobility panel, an intro to Python class, and met up with some old high school friends. The week before, I went to yoga in Grace Cathedral and a product management class. Living in a city is a unique opportunity for me right now as my current company is located mostly outside of cities. I try to take advantage of anything free or less than $15 that will give me a lasting memory.

5. Technology and software are evolving way faster than we can understand in our daily life. Try everything out and keep an open mind about how this new technology will change the way we live currently. There might be less accountants or engineers or operators in plants but this change allows them to learn new skills and integrate into the economy in a new and possibly more lucrative way. Being afraid of the changes that are coming will never be beneficial to you in the end. I am trying some Augmented Reality glasses and while far out for now, this could be the new way of training operators instead of people or videos.

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