Hi friends, welcome to my last #BCSTT blog ever. This class has been the best academic experience ever and I am so happy and thankful for all 23 of you and Doyle/Kane/Kelsey/Matt for making this possible.
Rewinding to the beginning
As instructed, I re-read my first “Selfie” post and boy was that a journey. For one, I don’t even have the same major anymore (unsurprisingly, after this trip I added Information Systems). Also, despite my clear indication I do NOT live update, there still seems to be some confusion in the class that I do. My biggest take away however was that I had NO idea what I was getting myself into for this class. I knew what this class was on paper and I even talked to kids who took the class last year, but when I tried to write the expectations section in my first blog, I had so much trouble. I knew I wanted to learn more about the tech industry, but I already I wanted to develop a career in tech so how would this course could change me?
In terms of academic and professional development, TechTrek solidified my initial understanding of the industry and confirmed my career intrest. What I did not know would happen is that I would come to really appreciate how these people think and work. As Will said, the thought and consideration these people put into every response is amazing. Most the founders, CEO’s, and employees we talked to had a clear passion for their work that aligned with their personal values. I did not get the impression anyone was solely in it for the money. Instead, I could tell these people were genuinely excited about the change they are standing behind and it was very inspiring to be able to step into their environment.
My Bitcoin Smugglers
Who knew that a week together on the opposite coast could transform 23 internet friends into 23 Bitcoin Smugglers. I am equally inspired by all of you as I am by the amazing people we met. The company visits and dinners were only as good as they were because everyone was intensely interested at every event. I found myself nodding to people’s questions because I would realize I was also curious about the same thing, but it would not have crossed my mind to ask it. Not to be too cliche, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know and going through this experience helped to alleviate that. Every session was a true exchange of ideas between our class and the speaker and amongst our class itself. (Time for a quick ~photo break~)
A point that resonated with me was Christiaan from True Venture’s notion of true alignment. When a wheel is truly aligned, it is able to spin freely and effortlessly. True strives to achieve this balance between themselves and each portfolio company they invest in. I think true alignment also existed in our class during the trip. We all supported each other in a balanced manner. Everyone in the class had an essential contribution that kept our own wheel spinning freely and effortlessly.
A few bulleted takeaways:
Here are the lessons Rich from WePay talked about on our company visit
- There is nonlinear thinking in the valley. (And to add to this, most people’s career and life paths aren’t linear either)
- Businesses aren’t built by logical sequences, they are built by hacks
- To build a startup, you have to be fully committed personally and reputation wise
- A leader (or at least one of them) must be able to inspire confidence among a wide audience of diverse stakeholders
- When you want $$ –> ask for advice. When you want advice –> ask for $$
- Build a product and sell it, but not necessarily in this order. (Sell before you build so you build the right thing)
So what’s next?
I think this trip and class are both still sinking in for me and the effects will continue to reveal themselves for the rest of my career. The most immediate impacts are the close friends I have made though the class and the insider peak onto what Silicon Valley looks like. The value of the alumni network (including TechTrek West alums) and key advice they provided will serve me in the long run. I feel incredibly motivated by this entire experience and I plan on increasing my involvement with BC’s Shea center starting with the crypto speaker event this week. I am also really excited to more regularly attend the lunch with an entrepreneur events. It would be really nice to have so friends to go with to these things (@ YOU PEOPLE) so let’s keep the group chat alive and stick together.
Once again, thank you class, Prof. Doyle, Prof. Kane, Kelsey, and Matt!