20 Silicon Valley nuggets of wisdom

What can we learn from Silicon Valley? Picture: Made Brave
What can we learn from Silicon Valley? Picture: Made Brave
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Silicon Valley is the tech capital of the world, but what lessons can we learn from this innovation hub?

Made Brave founder Andrew Dobbie had the opportunity to visit some of the biggest tech companies on the planet with Cross Creative.

Four planes, five days and 12 company visits later Andrew returned to Scotland with 20 knowledge nuggets from Silicon Valley:

Stop trying to do everything and instead, do one thing well.

Wise words from Steve Jobs (y’know, the Apple guy) who used to be the Chief Executive Officer at Pixar (you can give us a high five when you win the pub quiz). Seems to have worked pretty well for those guys.

There’s always a link.

Twitter headquarters. Picture: Made Brave/ Andrew Dobbie

Twitter headquarters. Picture: Made Brave/ Andrew Dobbie

Co-Founder of Twitter, Evan Williams, also owns Medium (maybe one for a more tech-savvy pub quiz).

Stay true to your brand.

Everything at Twitter, from boardrooms to cutlery pots are named with a hashtag. We like your style.

READ MORE: What can we expect from Twitter in the next 10 years?

Nurture the best bits.

At Facebook, they figure out what people are great at and let ‘em shine. For the stuff they’re not great at, Facebook hire someone who is – simples!

Mix it up!

There’s no ‘you can’t sit with us’ chat at Twitter, over there, they have Developers, Designers and IT guys all sitting at banks of desks together. This way, they get to learn something new every day.

Your team is one person.

Well, it’s like one person (bear with us, there’s a point here). What we’re trying to say is, your team should all work together – when people work towards the one goal, good stuff happens. Phew!

There’s always someone, who’s friends with someone.

READ MORE: How Oculus Rift will transform the way we consume video games, music and movies

According to Facebook, the whole 6 degrees of separation thing is out of date. Now, thanks to social media, it’s now 3.5 degrees of separation – pretty cool, huh?

That’s the way we’ve always done it.

This sentence is bad news. So, put it in a blender (throw in some kale, that stuff’s horrible too) and then chuck it out the window.

There’s a lot of competition out there.

At some Silicon Valley fimrs only 1 per cent of people who apply for jobs get an interview *gulp*

It all starts with an idea.

IDEO invented Apple’s first computer mouse.

Let yourself have crazy ideas.

Then think about how it can be executed. Another cracker from IDEO.


Instead of looking back in 6 months and trying to figure out what went wrong, these tech giants try to predict all the things that could go wrong and come up with solutions before the project even starts.

Quality and quantity.

1,500 words in a blog post is the optimum word count for SEO (we’re getting there, okay?)

Free socks, free thoughts.

At Fantasy, they have a no shoe policy. This way, the team feel at home and their carpets stay clean.

Things change.

People used to call Henry Ford’s first car, the horseless carriage – catchy.

Set goals.

Then double them. You’d be surprised by all the amazing stuff you’re capable of *fist pump*

The machines are coming.

Everyone and their granny’s working on how to use artificial intelligence – better start making pals with Arnie now.

Brain trust.

Sometimes you just need to stick to your gut and go with your decision. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up with too many cooks spoiling the broth (cheers for that one, mum).

Stop early.

What you think is going to be an amazing idea, doesn’t always turn out that way. If your gut’s telling you to stop, don’t keep going just for the sake of it.

Be worthy of cupcake.

This is something the guys at Dropbox go by and pretty much means what it says on the tin. If you’re doing something, ask yourself “is this good enough to merit a cupcake?” If the answer’s yes, you’re on the right track.

- Made Brave are a full-service digital and creative agency serving national and international brands. They are based in Glasgow. This blog was first featured here.

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