Sooo When Are We Going Back?

“I am hoping to work incredibly hard and come out of this class with a more complete understanding of the tech industry”

When I signed up for TechTrek West, I remember absolutely psyched about the trip. There were so many things that made me eager to get to Silicon Valley. One, I absolutely love technology. The world is drastically changing because of the seemingly infinite ways technology can affect our day-to-day lives. To eventually be a part of that change is what drives me every day.  Two, the Bay Area is my favorite area (sorry Boston, you’re a very close second). Three, I recognized that I would be apart of a group that is incredibly smart and passionate about business and technology.

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And boy was I right. I’ll touch on this point later, but I learned more from my friends than I could’ve ever imagined.

The idea of embarking on a once in a lifetime trip consumed my thoughts the weeks before and during winter break. It made me a little nervous. Did I know enough about business? What’s it going to be like networking with such incredible alumni? Am I going to be able to achieve the level of excellence that TechTrek expects? It turns out I was fully prepared for the class and that both my peers and professors were more than willing to help me grow along the way. But at the time, it was a big concern for me.

These nerves subsided considerably as the classes went by. I left every class feeling as if I just completed a semester’s worth of material. Have you heard the saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’? It’s so very true. But each week I was learning so much about the intersection of technology and business. As someone with a primarily technical background, I loved learning about the business side of things. By the last class before break, I found myself researching new roles. I had never heard of a product manager before TechTrek, but suddenly it sounded more appealing than being a software developer.

At this point I had no idea what to expect. Spring break was finally here, my ideal career path was being fundamentally questioned, and I was about to meet with BC alumni at 20 awesome companies. I figured I could make the most of my situation by continuing to pursue my goal. Even if I was unsure of what was going to happen, I still needed to learn all about the tech industry.

“I’m excited for every company we visit, all in their own unique way”

Each visit deserves its own blog post. When we got to these companies, I was expecting each session to go something like this: we get to the company, the panelists would speak about the company, and we’d ask questions about the company. Repeat. I could have never foreseen the level of intimacy and wisdom that we would receive from the alumni. Speaking with them was a learning experience unlike any I’ve had before. Each person was so willing to share anything you wanted to know.

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Me listening to all the great advice

The panelists at Talkdesk were a notable example of this. Kevin Lee and Jon Parisi spoke extensively about their personal experiences at BC and their impacts. It seemed like every minute I was learning valuable advice. Find a mentor who can guide you to where you want to be, branch out into the uncomfortable and use the phenomenal BC network were a few of the many tidbits I learned at Talkdesk. I could go on. Sophie Miller from Google provided me with one of my favorite pieces of advice: “Always have a question that you’re answering”. So simple, yet it empowers you to make the most of every situation.

And whether we were learning about LiDAR from Ouster, international transactions from Veem or design for a global platform from Facebook, the business knowledge was always flowing. Now when I read tech news, it feels so cool knowing the reasons and implications behind it. Like I saw the recent news about Walmart partnering with Uber and Lyft to deliver food, I was more excited than I’d like to admit.

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The openness extended to the more casual encounters too. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Pat Grady and Rich Aberman at the alumni dinner. Would I have ever known the small differences between a good and great CEO? Probably not, but after talking with them, I could tell you (thanks again guys)! We were all sharing stories as if we had been friends for years, and it was during that dinner that I fully realized and appreciated the most important part of this trip.

“The other 23 of you, and of course the professors and TAs, seem like such interesting and great people”

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I know, I know, but I really don’t mean to be cliché. During every incredible moment from this trip (literally more than I can count), it was the people that made them so special. Our classes before the trip were the first indication of this, where I learned more from you guys than anything else. Our #D discussions are and will be the foundation of my business knowledge in the tech world. I constantly felt inspired when reading the blogs and it pushed me to match the level of excellence you established. Then we were on the trip and we really got to know each other. Who know exploring Alcatraz, hiking the mountain that is San Francisco and riding in police cars would get us so close! I truly can’t wait to continue bonding with the 26 new friends I made over the past three months.

Surrounding yourself with passionate, creative people is the biggest overall takeaway from this experience. Every company in the Valley has one underlying mission: help others by making their lives better. From fintech to social media to venture capital, the people behind these businesses strive to be as customer-oriented as possible. If you live your life with others who share your passion, and if you live to help others, all will work out.

 

I could go on for pages. About everything I learned. About how to live a better live. About the memories and the people. But really, I just want to thank each and every one of you. You are the reason this trip was so life changing. I’m so excited to see what this class achieves, because I know big things lie ahead. Thank you to Professor Kane, Professor Doyle, Kelsey and Matt. You made this trip possible, allowing us to get the maximum amount of value from the experience. You were the superstars organizing everything and deserve so much credit.

This has been a spring break I’ll always cherish.

Thank you!

#BCSTT #D #BitcoinSmugglers

6 thoughts on “Sooo When Are We Going Back?

  1. Dylan, what an awesome final post! You are one of the most genuinely nice human beings that I have encountered in my life. I also found it amazing to see so many new ways in which businesses and technology intersect. I also loved your biggest takeaway from the trip: “Surrounding yourself with passionate, creative people”. That’s why I’m hungry to move out West: to immerse myself in a culture dominated by influential people determined to change the world with technology. I’m so sad this class is ending, but please let’s continue to hang out and learn more from each other. I still can’t get over how memorable this experience will be for the rest of my life. Thank you for your dedication to the class!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this post, Dylan! Since we’ve been back I keep thinking one thing: I miss being constantly surrounded by a group of people who have similar values and goals as me, who continuously challenge me to become better. This TechTrek class has such good dynamics, and I can’t wait to constantly search for groups like that throughout the rest of my college and career experience. I have been trying out the advice of “always have a small question you are answering,” and it has certainly changed the way I approach some situations. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rt your point about “you don’t know what you don’t know” because I felt like I learned more from each class and each of my classmates than I realized there was to learn. It was so cool getting to know you over the week in SF and its so cool getting read read your (and literally everyone’s) individual takes and reflections on the trip. It’s crazy how something so short (it was only 7 classes and 7 days in the Valley what?) can have such an impact on your outlook on business and tech, and your mindset about which career path to take. Thanks for being you and great final post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post, Dylan! It was really refreshing reading the beginning of your blog because I definitely felt the same way. It’s honestly amazing how much I learned just in the classes alone. What we learned really pieced together a lot of the gaps in my mind that was really only full of the technical side of things. I definitely understand the allure of going to product management, but software development is too dear to my heart to leave behind I think. Regardless, I’m very excited to see the path you choose, and am always hear if you wanna chat about technology!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dylan! I loved this post, ESPECIALLY the picture collage! I am so happy I got to know you through TechTrek and I completely agree with all your sentiments about this wonderful group of humans. Reading these blog posts is reminding me of how lucky we were to have a diverse group of personalities come together over a passion for tech. 3 words for you:
    What a squad.

    Like

  6. One theme that continues to shine through in each of your blogs is how close you all got during your time in California. I found this to be the case on my trip too and hoped for the same among your group! I also loved the picture collage and how you realized TechTrek opened your eyes to roles you never even heard of before the trip. I’m so happy you found TechTrek to be a challenging and rewarding experience. Welcome back!

    Like

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