The Bay Area – The place where innovation comes from.
No matter what company we visited in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley, we always had the impression to have arrived in the future. Either a company’s product, business model, process or employees seem to strive for innovation. We were lucky enough to be given the chance to get firsthand insights into various companies. Furthermore, we also learnt a lot about the Silicon Valley ecosystems, as well as its engine – the Stanford University.
The first day of visits and kickoff of our on-site seminar started with the visit of DocuSign. Their basic service is a cloud-based platform to read and sign contracts online wherever you might be in the world. Of course, they are constantly thinking about new features and therefore it is no surprise that DocuSign recently introduced a new service that also includes payment. The mindset of constant product and service improvement is something we discovered in all our visits. Right after DocuSign we headed to Swissnex San Francisco. After a general introduction into Swissnex we were able to learn how they support Swiss startups that want to succeed in the U.S. Since the Bay Area is the heart of new technologies and innovative thinking this part of Swissnex is really attractive and a lot of startups take advantage of it. In general, there is a huge number of startups in that area, what also leads to even more untouched ideas. The last visit of that day was at the Microsoft office located in San Francisco downtown. It was fascinating to see how many Microsoft products each one of us uses on a daily basis without even realizing. This requires a great ability of evaluating, which technologies have a chance in the future.
After a sunny weekend and some sightseeing, we travelled to the roots of innovation – the Silicon Valley. Once we arrived there everyone thought that we took the wrong highway exit, because it looked like a totally normal living district. After the visit at the Swisscom Outpost and their introduction into the Valley, we found out that pretty much everyone who visits SV has a similar first impression as we did. Furthermore, we learned a lot about the development of the whole Silicon Valley and its “founder”. Nowadays this place is an own eco-system that is the engine of new technologies and innovation in general. This is also why companies like Swisscom decide to open an outpost over there. In the afternoon we had the unique chance to visit Microsoft again, but this time at their office in the Valley (Mountain View). Learning more about artificial intelligence (AI) and experiencing the “HoloLens” is something none of us will ever forget. It was unique to get the opportunity to explore one of these futuristic technologies.
On Tuesday, we had our last visit in San Francisco. The company Xamarin, that was newly acquired by Microsoft, hosted us at their office in the city center. Hearing something about their history and reasons to sell themselves to Microsoft was definitely an added value to our stay in San Francisco. Even more fascinating and special was the Q&A with the founder and CEO of Xamarin.
To learn firsthand what it needs to successfully lead a company and which skills are required to be a good entrepreneur, was an absolutely enriching and unforgettable experience.
Interested to read more about our visits? Here our daily blog entries:
Our next stop is Boston, where we will further expand our minds and explore more companies where we will get an impression about the difference between the west and the east coast.
The last words are dedicated to all these people that enabled us to make that unforgettable experience. All of them did that next to their regular tasks and we highly appreciate their great efforts. Thank you!