My fist week in San Francisco and the Valley area is over. It has been a privilege, I have had a marathon of meetings with many great companies such as AT&T, RIM, NeuroSky, RhoMobile, Netgear, Paypal, Ebay, Milo, Mashery, Salesforce, OpenFeint, ngmoco, Squire, Gigaom and some a I can't mention. It's not just leading technology companies, some of the most influential and knowledgable individuals in the world of HR / Recruitment reside in this area.
I could share all the clever stuff all these cool firms are doing, but I believe the biggest take away is the culture of the valley. It slaps anyone not wide awake in the face, hard. Companies large and small have a wonderful "can do" culture with fantastic focus on their goals. The support of open source software illustrates the laser focus, if it already exists then use it, invest time in the parts of the jig saw that make a difference. Spend time adding value, not re-inventing the wheel. This ethos with focus on speed of development, open source, innovation and quality is a magical cocktail with slightly different measures in each firm - but no ingredient is ever missing.
Quality and agility the key words. The biggest growing firms all have one other factor in common, they are all focused on being a platform. This concept of being platform means slightly different things to each business. I think the best group of words to summarise what a platform is are:
- exposed API,
- and focused solution.
A platform must have a clear purpose and deliver value, while enabling others to use the platform. A platform can be layered with other platforms.
Can you product be a platform? Can you benefit from the growth of developers interacting with your platform in ways you could never have dreamed of? Would you enjoy users from difference channels such as mobile?
Learn from the valley, get that can do attitude, build with agility, deliver quality and think platform.