Category: 2016 Youth Mission

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Silicon Valley Billboards

At first glance Silicon Valley looks like a village. For the Tech capital of the world and the centre of innovation, my expectation was that everything should be extremely technologically advanced, from buildings to cars and everything in between. But as we were driving from the airport to our hotel, everything looked very jaw-droppingly village like. Boring old houses, old cars, what was so advanced about that? But don’t let the looks fool you. The first clue to the fact that you have just set foot in a new world comes from the billboards. Oh the fantastically other worldly billboards....

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The Panel Discussion at StartupHouse

Insights from the Product market fit panel: – do people want the thing I’ve built? Do people say “oh that sounds like a great idea!” but I then never see them in the app. – you need to have the willingness to be honest to yourself and find out why it sucks. What I need to do to make it work? – the biggest failure we had was we won “the best overall” prize in a big competition. So we thought look at that, everybody loves it, so let’s go full speed ahead and scale. So that way we rushed...

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The visit to StartupHouse

Met with Elias Bizannes the founder of Startup Bus and StartupHouse. He is originally from Australia but he was so fascinated by the market size of the U.S. compared to Australia that he moved to Silicon Valley. Elias’ key advice for startups: 1. In a big corporate environment you are used to the world of perfection, the finished product needs to be perfect. And you learn analytical skills which are important but they are not useful in startups. Complementary thinking as opposed to analytical skills is what makes you successful in a startup. It’s building up on ideas until you...

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The visit to Hello

Orkut the co-founder of Hello (Stanford graduate and ex Google employee, also the founder of Google’s orkut.com) advice for startups: 1. Hire slowly and take your time. 2. If someone isn’t the right fit, let go off them quickly. When you only have 6 people, every person has tremendous impact. 3. Culture is very important. 4. Raise money before you need it because fund raising takes longer than you expect. 5. You will need to wear a lot of hats. Work well with people that makes all the difference. 6. You want people who believe in the vision as much...

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The visit to Twitter

Today we met Michael Montano who leads the engineering team for the core parts of twitter. He was always building websites in high school to pay for college. He went to a TechCrunch and that was the first time he was in the valley. After school he and his co-founder applied for Ycombibator and that was their ticket to the US. They were doing a startup very similar to Twitter: BackType. Then they pivoted and Built a very compelling technology working on data analytics and ads business. They built an API and started partnering with companies like Twitter. Then they...

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Pre-Trip Jitters

It’s the day before we get on a plane bound for San Francisco; typing that sentence gave me goosebumps. I am beyond excited for the trip – one of our Youth leaders, Colin, recently sent through the Program Schedule and all the places marked out that we will be visiting. It’s gearing up to be an intense two weeks. I’m most excited for Startup Weekend, which is on the 5th day of the trip. For this event we’ll be travelling to Santa Cruz, but as Peter, our other Youth Leader, has advised, we will not be spending it at their...

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Youth Mission 2016 cohort announced

After a rigorous selection process, today we officially announce the 20 participants chosen for the 2016 Youth Mission to Silicon Valley. The applicant pool This year was the first time the program expanded nationally, and with an extended age limit from 18 to 29 (up from 25 years of age last year). As a result, we had 201 applications from across the country, of which 50 were interviewed, before we selected the final 20. Applicants this year had an incredible mix of skill-sets and experience, from software engineering, to mechatronics, computer vision, data science, AI, machine learning, electronics, graphic design, UI, UX,...