Continued from http://blog.pimmelpammel.de/silicon-valley-wrap-up-part-1/
Let’s come back to Yelp. Another thing I’m thinking about since the end of my internship, was how satisfied I should be with my own performance. It is really hard for me to say. The reason is, that I can’t compare myself to the other interns. I’ve been by far the oldest of the interns. And not only that, I even was the oldest person AND most experienced person in the whole team (including the full times). Usually an internship in the us is for students to get some work experience and to make an internship after graduation is very uncommon. The students are allowed to make non-project related stuff just to learn something new. I did something similar, but on another level. I talked a lot to people in Product Management, Production, Sales, HR and was networking a lot, as I always try to understand (and improve) information flow in the company. Frankly, there wasn’t much on technological side to learn for me.
On the other side, my teammates obviously were hoping to learn stuff from my, as I already had a lot of work experience. I tried to contribute as much as I could, for example in improving the agile methodologies. Though in summary, it was just an awkward situation for both parties. I came there to gather experience in the grand Silicon Valley and a mayor web company, I was just an intern spending just a couple of months there. On the other side my teammates wanted to be led by me because of my experience and needed guidance to do the next steps to grow as a team. I contributed as much as was able in this short time frame, but wasn’t able to show even half of my potential. So one of my findings is definitly to make at least six month. Six month are enough to become a full part of the team and not just a visitor.
So, what can I say about this mystifying Silicon Valley that attracts so many tech companies? I think that Berkeley and Stanford are so close, plays a big role. Those universities yield out a lot of talented jung people who have dreams and have all the skills to let their dreams come true. Another part is for sure the strong tech community in the area. Every week there are plenty of meetups about trending technologies, startups, sales, funding and even philosophical topics. And even more amazing: They are usually held by the best people in those topics. For example: I attended a talk with 20 other people about mobile web performance optimization held by Steve Souders, the keynote speaker of the Velocity Conference (the leading conference in this field). After that I had some smalltalk with founders, PhDs and Lead Developers who work at Google. Do I think that describes the magic that only the Silicon Valley can provide? No, not really, but is a part of that.
Looking back, what do I think about my time there? I’m still not sure. Did I learn a lot, that I can apply right away? Probably not! Did I understand what makes the Silicon Valley so special? Probably only parts of the whole truth! Would I go to the Silicon Valley if I would like to found a startup? I would definitely consider that! Would I go back there, to work for one of those companies? YES!
I think I’ve developed myself a lot during the time there. I think I’ve been getting a bit more mature and changed my mind in so many ways, that it will take me years to completely understand the whole value of this trip. I came back with more confidence, as I found out, that the people there are also just using water to cook their noodles and already learned some good recipes. I don’t have to hide when the big names of the biz show up…