Wrapping up my Trip in SV

I am sitting at my small table in the Super 8 hotel at Palo Alto. Yes. It is a small table, and a small room with noisy refrigerator, and it smells. But, I am happy.

Life as an Entrepreneur

Kissing goodbye with 5-star hotels, business class flight and jumping back to the real life of an entrepreneur, I just don’t believe I could make a better decision. The corporate style of work is just not my style. Let me tell you, Super 8 is really good – not because of it is good (please fix the noise of the refrigerator!), it is because it symbolize the spirit of cost saving, and the place you pay attention.

Pay attention on what you do, what you think, not where you stay!

Business Ambition

Paul Graham talked about Cities and Ambition. Silicon Valley is the area full of ambition. To be more precious, the ambition is in Palo Alto, in Mount View, in Melon Park, and in Sunnyvale. The ambition flows in entrepreneur’s mind.

I am very sure at this quite (again, except the noise from refrigerator) night, there are many entreprenuers are still working hard, or more importantly, thinking hard.

They may be showering now, thinking some hard problems, and forgetting to turn off the water. They may be driving but still thinking something important in the company. They may be in the office alone, when everyone else in the company has already left, so he can see his company from another angle. They do it because they believe in something big that others don’t really believe in.

And there are great people on the Sand Hill road, and in downtown Palo Alto. They are ambitious too, and they have a bold vision to the future. This trip actually changed my fundamental impression of how Venture Capital works. Or, to put it the other way, how the really outstanding VC works. It is all about ambition that is far beyond most people’s expectation, and the experience to make it happen.

Intellectual Power

There is nowhere like the SV that shows the importance of Intellectual power better. Well. Maybe Cambridge in Boston demos that more clearly. The intellectual power in SV is more mixed with experience and business. It is mixed with pattern recognition – the pattern for great things, or bad things – people smell things.

Interaction with great people here requires a lot of intelligent power. I never get so tired with the same amount of talking time than anywhere else.

Travel

Elliott shared with me his observation: Travel is life intensified. Yes. I had 7 meetings today, and meeting about 20 people. I had more meetings yesterday. I seldom do that in Shanghai, just because we had plenty of time. We should live a life like this in Shanghai also. :-)

Wrapping Up

I’d like to thank everyone I met to take the time to meet with me. To protect people’s privacy, I won’t list the names, or even initials, but I do want to thank everyone for your time. It is such a privilege to be able to talk with great people like you. Sometimes, I feel to have a hat of “flying all the way cross the Pacific” helped me to get access to people here – remote guests always comes before local people, aren’t they?

I have never been happier than staying in this small Super 8 room. I am sure I will keep staying at motel as long as I can. Not about money at all. It is the inspiration, and the message it sends to myself, and to people around me.

Good night America, and Hello, China! I will be back fully refreshed. SV is my source of inspiration.

5 Comments

  1. good notes!! Glad you had a good time here, and likewise, you inspire people.

  2. Good luck. I really envy you. And you helped me a lot for the information about how to applying shore pass in japan, thank you.

  3. safe trip home!

  4. Nice reflections!

    A few thoughts and reactions:

    1. Entrepreneurship – I’m thrilled about your move into true entrepreneurship and I’m sure this adds to Baixing.com’s chances of success — being independent vs. being tied to Ebay. I loved your thoughts on the importance of keeping things simple. Successful businesses are always more simple than people want to make them. When you don’t know what to do to be successful, the temptation is to add complexity.

    2. Silicon Valley – I believe SV is unique in the US, and in the world. No other place has the same spirit of innovation and celebrating success *and* failure. In these tough times for the venture industry, places like Boston, New York, Austin, and Seattle are finding that they just don’t have the same critical mass as Silicon Valley. Even if 1500 Venture firms disappear in this next cycle, there will still be 1500 around and most of them (except for a handful) is in SV. Boston is #2 but a distant #2 — much less entrepreneurial and accepting of entrepreneurial failure.

    3. Intellectual power – I feel the same way about my trips to China!

    4. Travel – I like to believe that outsiders sometimes have unique insights that people locally don’t see. I enjoy hearing about your insights about the US, and Silicon Valley. One of my intellectual heroes is Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman who came to the United States when it was just being formed more than 200 years ago. He wrote a book called “Democracy in America” where he observed certain aspects of American society and culture that remain true to this day. The fact that you can get useful insights about America from a Frenchman 200 years ago says something about de Tocqueville’s insight, and the fact that the *right* small beginnings, and the work of long time, can create great things.

    Best to you and look forward to continued conversations!

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