[Exclusive] Interview with Steve Blank
Steve Blank is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur based in Pescadero, California. Blank is recognized for developing the Customer Development method that launched the Lean Startup movement, a methodology recognizing that startups are not smaller versions of large companies, but require their own set of processes and tools to be successful.
Steve gave us an overview of what it meant to be in Silicon Valley when he first went there and how it evolved over the years.
“If you fail in a startup in a innovation culture in Silicon Valley, your friends when you go out to coffee with them and you’re depressed, you know what the first thing is they ask you? They ask you; What’s your next startup?”
Blank explains that the culture in Silicon Valley is about giving you multiple shots at your goal, which means that instead of feeling embarrassed for failing at your startup, the culture gives you a hand of help to get back up and try again.
“We’re not any smarter but our culture actually encourages you to take multiple shots and the investors don’t look like you’re a failure. They will look at you as you are experienced.”
With all the industrial and technological changes happening to Silicon Valley from time to time, it still resurfaces stronger with an abundance of innovative concepts because they focus immensely on the entrepreneurs and innovators. However, what is an even stronger driver is the other innovation revolution that happened in Silicon Valley called “risk capital”, which is essentially another word for Venture Capital and Angel Investments. That is, you are willing to make 10 investments knowing that 8 or even 9 of them might fail but if the one that succeeds will pay back multiple times all your other investments.
Tech has long been a robust wealth creator: 6/10 richest people on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index built their fortune in the industry, such as the founders of the now very-well-known term “Unicorns”. A unicorn startup or unicorn company is a private company with a valuation of over $1 billion. Think of Uber, SpaceX, AirBnB all of which pinned down their footprint and leveraged Silicon Valley’s resources and entrepreneurial culture.
Steve concludes that Tel Aviv, London, Berlin, Shanghai and Beijing are also sources of risk capital.
“So while Silicon Valley will still be the Mecca, there will be always places now emerging.”
As of August 2018, there are more than 260 unicorns around the world. Variants include a decacorn, valued at over $10 billion, and a hectocorn, valued at over $100 billion.