“Wow, I’m glad you had such a great time but I have to go walk the dog now.”
-A quote from my endearing parents, after rambling for 2 hours about the trip without letting them get a breath in.
So to spare you from the TechTrek ramble (for now), here’s a quick summary of my personal highlights:
- Sequoia – Beyond realizing that the WeatherChannel app is grossly underappreciated, I was moved by the driving team alignment idea, in which you become the average of the top 5 people you surround yourself with.
- Facebook – Who knew we were getting a quick stop at Disneyland while in CA? But really, Margaret Gould Stewart inspired me with her knack to design for the world beyond the Silicon Valley bubble and acknowledgement of public concerns regarding the company.
- Madison Reed – You really can run a startup that has lovely values, go girls!
- Apple – Unique, chic, accessible, and well that’s about all I can say (literally).
- “You’re always interviewing for your next role, whether you know it or not.”
- “Always have a few questions in your mind that you’re working to answer, then everything has a purpose, but not an ultimate overbearing purpose.”
- “The one thing that a company will always hire for is someone who is low maintenance and high performing.”
- Finding my long lost twin and connecting eyes from across the room (Winston from Veem, of course)
- Accidentally turning the San Francisco police into free Uber drivers
- Exploring the spooky depths of Alcatraz
- Playing amongst ball pits and life sized food figurines
- This list can go on for way too long…
- Black-Bean Sweet Treats (You can even make them at home! Here’s the recipe.)
- Ghiradelli Sundae (1,020 calories of bliss)
- A few too many ice cream sandwiches from CREAM
- At least 20 Bistro Maxine croissants
Life Lessons 101
After rereading my intro post, I have to give some apologies for being overly enthusiastic (“I am so excited for this trip for endless reasons! I can’t wait to befriend those in the class and network with alumni across the country! It will be invaluable getting a personal taste of the Silicon Valley work culture!”), but the excitement was quite warranted.
As someone who suffers from severe indecisiveness, this trip provided a sense of clarity I had never anticipated. Since coming to BC, I had constantly been trying to convince myself that I would like certain career paths (cue: Finance, Accounting, Consulting networking nights). Yet these paths embodied such a narrow view of business, and the world, as a whole. When you think of a tech company, sure the software engineers and programmers bring great value to the table, but there are so many other facets and valued skills that are also required to make these businesses succeed. The various positions of alumni that we spoke to in just one week speaks to the amount of opportunities out there – some even made up a position where one had not previously existed to pursue their interests. Better yet, this experience further validated my hope to combine interests of tech and global development, as business is the platform for change. Why not design an AR system that can draw out empathy and awareness like never before – like creating virtual opportunities to experience a refugee camp, solitary confinement, or life in a hut.
So while I often can’t make a decision, I can definitively say one thing. I will no longer let the fear of “seemingly having my life figured out” cloud my actual interests – there is something out there for everyone, far beyond just the employers that come to campus to recruit, and we shouldn’t settle. Yes, this is a bit idealistic, but I’m still optimistic. There are extremely successful Venture Capitalists investing in technology to monitor the vital signs of horses, so why not let your uniqueness prevail in your own career path?
Now, back to the #BCSTT #D discussion:
While I’m not necessarily saying I’ll move to California and immediately buy into the Silicon Valley culture, this trip did change my perspective of work and life after the BC bubble. But while I am still here, there are a few other new perspectives this trip cultivated.
First off, and this is in retrospect, I am grateful for some of the vagueness in directions for class assignments. I remember walking out of the first class and panicking because I had no idea how to write a professional tweet, create really cool yet intelligent-sounding blog posts, or even research niche aspects of a tech company beyond providing a general overview. However, this vagueness allowed each person to express their ideas and perspectives in an unguided manner – even after a week of assignments, I felt like I could already see the personalities of the class. Throughout my time in school, I’ve gotten great at executing given directions, but I really appreciated the opportunity to figure things out myself and find comfort in the uncertainty.
Secondly, I vastly underestimated the truth in Hannah’s suggestion during the pre-trip panel to value your peer network just as much as the alumni network throughout the trip. It was amazing making 26 new pals (including you @Profs and @Kelsey), and I can’t wait for this group to continue hanging out and discussing all things tech. Thank you all for making a business/school trip infinitely fun!
All in all, this has been the most valuable class I have taken at BC. It has taught me how to keep up with the news, how to make sleek powerpoints, how to ask insightful questions, how to second-guess information presented to me, how to network, how to listen, how to be present, and how to open my eyes to the world around me. I may start thinking twice about all that’s behind the products that are so pervasive in our lives, and really wondering about where these tech innovations are taking society. Thank you all so much for being a part of this journey, but I really think the momentum of this group has just begun (or is it just a function of time?)!
PS: If you were confused by the title, I was referring to the little Salesforce notebooks everyone was using to take notes – here are some of my notes revealed!