My Journey through Silicon Valley


Amid ongoing disputes between the nation’s employers and workers over wages and shift limits, many have chalked the nation’s inability to hold on to talent up to poor working conditions and dismal compensation and benefits. How does the much-vaunted Silicon Valley, which generates a yearly output of around US$400 billion dollars, manage to attract the best of the best from around the world? In part because it is home to a special culture in which failure is no longer a thing to be feared. What about the place could serve as a model for Taiwan and its own innovators? Our Sunday special report. The name of one of the world’s most famous technology companies comes into view on a glass-sheathed building behind a marshmallow-holding android. It’s the Mountain View, California, global headquarters of Google, whose business encompasses an internet search engine, cloud services, advertising, and many other sectors. Miss HsuTaiwanese Google EmployeeWe’ll try anything. I think if you want to do something, go give it a shot, and if you run into problems we’ll take care of it.Miss Hsu is from Taiwan, and she works at Google as an engineer in the server department. She might well be an object of envy for some Taiwanese youths, purely for the benefits that Google gives her and her fellow employees in the form of free snacks, exercise facilities, and even the privilege of working from home. It works because the company trusts its employees, and the employees understand how to motivate themselves.Miss HsuTaiwanese Google EmployeeThe pressure is actually from yourselves. You end up gauging your own progress according to your objectives and key results.But self-motivation isn’t a working attitude unique to Google employees. The pursuit of innovation has always been a part of Silicon Valley’s unique culture, and that culture has to date helped convince thousands of technology companies to set up their headquarters in the area. Larry WangTaiwan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center CEOIn the (San Francisco) Bay Area there’s actually no ethnic group that represents more than half the population, so everyone ends up being a so-called minority. In these conditions, these companies’ search for the best global talent ends up being a win-win situation, so as long as the team you’re coming into is good, it usually works out. Silicon Valley’s capacity to foster innovation has been a feature of the area for already 60 years. The reason for that longevity isn’t just diversity. It’s also because many in the Valley are totally unafraid of becoming a so-called “loser.”Yang Ning-yinSilver Linings Global FounderIn Silicon Valley, the experience of failure is even more important. If you go interview at a company there today, very few will ask you to share your stories of success. Most bosses want to know, have you failed before?With failure even more important in some ways than success, “non-punitive failure” has become an important value among those in Silicon Valley. Many there who believe that the truth can come out only by doing depend on information transparency, sharing, and debate to drive innovation. That’s why shared workspaces have caught on so quickly in the region. Voice of Michelle M. MaaloufAging2.0 Programs and PartnershipsThis is Galvanize. It’s a coworking space here in San Francisco. They actually have between 5 and 10 locations around the United States. A coworking space is basically where startups of all different sizes can work from and connect. As part of its mission to support companies that design and release technology products that can improve the lives of seniors, Aging2.0 aims to provide a social platform to connect venture capitalists and innovators through events and programs.Victor Wang, who was born in Taiwan, is behind one of the companies working with Aging2.0. He immigrated to the United States and went on to graduate from MIT. Now, at age 28, he’s already served as the CEO of two different tech companies. Jared is 31 this year, and he designed this robot with his friends that is intended for home use. It allows family members in two different places to see and talk with one another as if they were physically next to one another, and it’s designed to be easy to use for seniors.The whole process of coming up with the idea to creating the robot took only six months, but Jared was fortunate to have the support of a startup accelerator, which provided funding along with hardware and software support for his endeavor.Larry WangTaiwan Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center CEOThe biggest challenge that Taiwanese entrepreneurs face, the biggest place they stand to improve, is in fostering exchange, whether that’s local talents going to Silicon Valley, or if it’s bringing people from Silicon Valley to Taiwan to discuss cooperation. If Taiwan wants to ride this wave of innovation and entrepreneurship, ambitious locals…

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