I remember this scene in the old movie “Addicted to Love” starring Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick. The French antagonist talks about being a nobody in France. Everyone there has a good salad & sauce and are considered good chefs. But in America, because most folks aren’t great chefs, he is different and special. He is Superman.
What does this have to do with tech or Silicon Valley? Everything.
It’s really funny when founders or investors in the San Francisco Bay Area travel to another region or country (Canada, Europe, Asia). We get the halo effect of being from Silicon Valley. We are seen as experts just because we are from here. But the reality is we probably don’t know that much more than you do. Or it could just be that we are the one eyed person in the kingdom of the blind. We are seen as insiders to Silicon Valley.
BUT in my view, you are not a true Silicon Valley insider unless
- You sold your company for $100M+
- Took it public (The ASX or TSX does not count)
- Have invested in some $ Billion USD + startups
- Part of the Paypal mafia (or “AirbnB”, “Square,” “Stripe”, “Insert Great startup name here” mafia)
- Founded a real Venture Capital (VC) fund or a General Partner at a top tier VC fund
This is probably .001% of the people in Silicon Valley.
I can legitimately say, most of us are NOT insiders and should openly claim that. (I certainly am not nor do I feel like one either). Anyone who brags about being an Insider or expert is probably not. They are posers! (ahem, Plug & Play + way too many individuals to name).
The way you should judge someone is by what they do. Are they helpful? Do they give good advice that makes sense? Have they worked at any place credible or done anything interesting or relevant?
Actually you should use this to evaluate anyone who tries to give you startup advice. Or gives advice in general.
Also use the network. Do reference checks and ask around. You will find out quickly who is really a player or legit by doing this. Trust me here. If u do this, you will find out that 80% of the people from here are frauds.
Founders, word to the wise.