Tokens of Appreciation to You All

Before diving right in, I just wanted to thank everyone who made this trip life changing. Professor Kane, Professor Doyle, Kelsey and Matt– thank you for guiding us to the direction where we can get the most out from this trip. Without your decisions before/throughout the trip, the experience would not have been the same. TechTrekkers– thank you so much for being such amazing people you are. As I’ve said this already multiple times throughout the trip, I could not have asked for a better group to share the amazing time.

Re-reading my first introduction post, I wowed at the fact that I got the answers to all of my questions, but also my experience from the TechTrek went beyond the expectation.

Preparation

On one Wednesday afternoon in January, I entered a room in Cushing, clueless of what is ahead but well-knowing my burning body suffering from 103 fever. I thought, “Wow, this is great, hope this fever is the worst thing that happens during this course.” And it was. For the next six weeks, nothing but the best luck happened to us. From beating the snowstorm by a night to getting the best group of people and panels, nothing could have gone better. (I even lost my contact lens and found it in the sleeve of my jacket- really, can anything go better?)

At first, not having business background, I felt a little bit out of place whenever I walked into the classroom. Literally everyone in the class was so smart and knowledgable in all fields that professor mentions, and there I was, a little confused. The confusion gradually grew as a motivation. I started going on the Twitter more, reading blogs more, googling more on companies we were going to visit. Being surrounded by such smart people drove me and started feeling comfortable talking and asking questions. On the last night of the trip we gathered around and each talked about the TechTrek experience, and little did I know, a lot of people in class felt the same way!

You only see what you know: I could not agree more with this because without the preparation, the understanding of each companies would have been so different. For example, in the media the concept of blockchains and cryptocurrency are constantly brought up. Without the discussion in class or class blog I probably would not have been able to keep the conversation with Jesse on the first night or ask a question related to that field. Having sufficient knowledge and preparation is key to getting the most out of any experience!

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During the Trip

Different startups at Different Stages

Silicon Valley has been known for the hub for tech startups, what is less known or sometimes taken for granted is how diverse the fields/stages of starts up are at. Some companies like Salesforce are at the stage where their revenue multiplies every month or quarter, and some companies has only a couple employees dreaming to be the next Facebook or AirBnB. Visiting Ouster and Oracle on the same day was especially interesting because they are obviously going through different stages and probably dealing with very different problems. This made me think whether I want to work in more established and structured setting or more flexible setting where I can do more hands-on experience.

Hearing People from Different Positions

Silicon Valley is not comprised of just engineers or super computers only. We talked to the Vice President of product design at Facebook, and we also talked to the recent graduate and software engineer at Google. Hearing a wide range of people from both horizontally and vertically different background was definitely an interesting experience, for their perspectives can offer us different answers to our questions.

Some Advices I Would like to Take Away

  • “Be in the ecosystem. Surround yourself in the system where innovations happen.”
  • “Don’t half a** on two things, you’ll lose one!”
  • “Always have a couple of questions in mind in things you do.  “
  • “For every company, only reason companies will hire you is when you’re low maintenance and high performing. Be a self-starting and self-driven person.”
  • “Experience different career paths in your 20’s, but don’t forget to enjoy your life.”

Conclusion

My first encounter of TechTrek was, as I mentioned, was from the alumni panel hosted by KSA. The question I posed was “what made him so sure that he doesn’t even take a second to think and say that TechTrek was his favorite class during his time in college?” My question before the trip now has an answer, and if someone ever asks me what was my favorite class was during college, 100% I’m going to say it was TechTrek.

It has broaden my horizons of understanding of Silicon Valley. As much as it sounds like a cliché, learning in class about what’s going on in Silicon Valley is a lot different from actually going to the place and talking to the people. If it wasn’t TechTrek, Silicon Valley would have stayed as a fairy tale in my head, but in more high tech version.

Another reason is TechTrek is a literal life-changing experience. Before TechTrek, I always had a set career path in my mind: getting a job in either in New York or Boston, working as a software engineer, going to business school after, etc. . . .  However, this trip has taught me that it is O.K. to try new things as most of the entrepreneurs we met during the trip had experimented and flexible to do something else in the next chapter of their lives. In other words, I have learned to become more open to something that I never anticipated.

Again, I would like to thank everyone for making the journey so special and lifelong. I’m curious as to what our future has in store for each and every one of us!

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You all deserve tokens of appreciation!

6 thoughts on “Tokens of Appreciation to You All

  1. Awesome post and thank you for the token of appreciation! It’s great to hear this has been your favorite class at BC and you now have a more open perspective on your life after graduation. I think you bring up an excellent point when you talk about how visiting Ouster and Oracle on the same day showed that “Silicon Valley Tech Company” does not have such a simple definition. Although they are two very different companies, it would be interesting to know if Oracle suffered from some of the same problems Ouster is currently dealing with back when they were starting in the 1980s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great job Ashley! You were probably one of the people that I knew the least to be honest before we embarked on our journey to California, and it was incredible to get to know you on a personal level! I agree with Kipp’s comment that it was so valuable to see companies at different stages of growth. It was also valuable to see companies who weren’t doing a lot of things right (I don’t want to say which company in particular, but I think you all know which company I’m talking about). You said it: TechTrek broadened our horizons. Thank you for all your work throughout the class, and let’s hang out soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ashley, it was awesome getting to know you on this trip, especially comparing our different Korean backgrounds. I see that we both structured our posts chronologically, showing me that great minds think alike. Jokes aside, I enjoyed your post because I got a complete summary of your experience with this class. I agree with you that the most valuable part of the trip was the fact that we met people from all types of disciplines and were able to hold intelligent conversations with all of them. You have so much potential and I am very excited about your future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love hearing that not only has TechTrek been your favorite class so far ;), but also that the class has broadened your horizons and opened up new doors for you in the west coast. I really enjoyed working on your WePay presentation with you, and I also liked your reflections of experiencing different companies and hearing from people with different backgrounds and positions. Welcome back!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ashley! Awesome post! It was so much fun getting to know you throughout the trip. I’m really glad that we got to bond during the bus rides, on Blue Bottle/bubble tea excursions, and at dinners together! I really related to your post when you discussed how TechTrek has made you more open to opportunities aside from the set career path that you’ve always envisioned. I also loved your observation about the various stages of development of the startups and the more established companies that we visited. It was so interesting to see how the atmosphere at smaller startups like Split differed from the environment at larger firms like Apple and Google. I’m sad that we won’t be in TechTrek together, but at least I’ll see you in Chemistry!! We have to meet up again soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ashley, I love this post!! I completely agree that at the beginning of the course, I felt like I was out of place because I was in A&S and didn’t have a business background. Some of the questions that people were asking on the first day were so complex and informed. However, as time went on, I realized we were all in the same boat and were feeling the same way.
    I like your point that people often overlook the different stages that Silicon Valley companies are in. You used Ouster and Oracle as an example of two companies at different stages which I think is spot on. The differences between these two companies stretch beyond their office spaces and company ideas, but down to their scale and progress. Ouster will one day grow into a large company but every company has to start small at the beginning. This trip definitely reminded me that not every big company started off at its large scale, rather it takes years and innovation to grow into what they are today.

    Liked by 1 person

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