I received this book, in its English version, as a gift from one of our participants, who came to Silicon Valley for a program designed for entrepreneurs accompanied by their children who are deciding which university career to pursue.
As I read it, I realized that it is precisely the book I would have wanted to write after living in the innovation capital of the world for 5 years first as an entrepreneur and then as the founder of SV Links. Since that book was already written, and thinking in the Silicon Valley style, I preferred to contact the author, translate it into Spanish and buy a good number of copies to give it to the participants who attend our immersion programs in Silicon Valley with the object to learn, inspire and connect with this place.
I am convinced, after having seen several cases of foreign entrepreneurs who have come here to develop their startups, that being present here, in this place, represents a great potential benefit for our countries of origin. At first, this idea seems counterintuitive and unpopular, however cases like Skype, Waze and more recently Ooyala confirm this.
Skype was originally developed in Estonia. Later, its founders migrated to Silicon Valley, and with it they gave a global projection to their product and achieved a valuation close to 10 billion dollars for their company. Some members of the founding team are now venture capitalists, startup mentors, or re-entrepreneurs. A good part of their activities are carried out in Estonia, but without losing the connection with Silicon Valley. As if that were not enough, Skype employs hundreds of engineers there in the country where they were born. What if they had never left Estonia? However, the fact that he came here to Silicon Valley to enhance his skills brought a great benefit to his home country. In fact, Estonia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is largely due to the history of Skype.
Another case is Waze, the popular vehicle navigation system, which was born in Israel. A few years after the product was launched on the market, its founders decided to have a presence in Silicon Valley while most of the engineering team remained in Israel. At the end of 2013, Google paid just over $ 1 billion for Waze. I was fortunate to meet one of Waze’s first investors in Israel, who told me that a not inconsiderable portion of those millions of dollars went to Israel. What would have happened if the entrepreneurs had never left Israel?
Ooyala’s case is fascinating that it merits a whole book, but in short it is a company that has just been sold for close to half a billion dollars. Ooyala solves the problem of managing, categorizing, analyzing and converting digital videos to companies that generate these types of materials, such as newspapers, magazines, television channels. Two of the 3 founders are of Mexican descent who grew up and were educated in Silicon Valley but always maintained an affective and effective connection with Mexico. Effective because their second most important office, with about 100 employees, mostly engineers, is in Mexico, and not only that, it generated an important return on investment to one of the people who invested in Ooyala, precisely to whom I received this book when he came from Mexico with his son to meet, learn and connect with the world capital of innovation.
Fortunately, Latin America is geographically close to Silicon Valley, and Mexico is certainly in a privileged position. Unfortunately, at the same time, Latin America is a long way off the Silicon Valley radar. More than half of the Silicon Valley startups that receive investment, 53% to be more exact, have their origin in foreign entrepreneurs, who like those of Waze or Skype come to test themselves here in Northern California. A good percentage of them are from India (28%), followed by the Chinese (13%), and then the Koreans, Vietnamese and Taiwanese. Just under 1% are startups that have a Latin American entrepreneur within the founding team. On the other hand, according to the 2014 census, for the first time Latinos outnumber the population of “whites” in California.
The best way to make these connections is through three actions: equity swap, intellectual property swap, and talent swap.
For this to happen, you first have to come here, make connections, weave the network and start to spark interactions with the entrepreneurs, investors and organizations that exist here. As Steve Blank put it: “Silicon Valley is not its buildings, it is its interactions.” This idea is undoubtedly very well explained in this book.
I hope that reading this book will help, motivate and educate entrepreneurs, businessmen, investors, academics, government leaders and all leaders in Spanish-speaking countries to understand the importance of being connected to the centers of global innovation and knowing the benefit that this may have for our region.
I am grateful to the author, Deborah Perry Piscione, for having saved me this synthesis work by having written this book, but above all, for her great support of our cause of connecting entrepreneurs, investors and entrepreneurs from emerging countries with innovation poles in the world. world.
I have a special thanks to Chihiro Jameson, who with her guidance and support has made possible the constitution of our non-profit organization in the United States, as well as contributing by leaving her mark on this book by designing the cover, taking advantage of her exquisite aesthetic sense.
I thank Gabriela Lemoine, a great entrepreneur, SV Links alumnus of 2013, responsible for the translation of this book and with whom I had the fortune to work hand in hand on this project.
Spanish translator team of the book “Secrets of Silicon Valley”
Without a doubt, I thank the entire team, directors and collaborators of SV Links, who are making it possible to inspire more and more entrepreneurs and investors in the countries where we work, helping them to catalyze their entrepreneurial spirit.
I certainly thank each of our participants for inspiring me and for the opportunity to think together about the future of Latin America.
The book is now available at: