Why Career Promiscuity Is Important in Silicon Valley

As i wrote before, the average job tenure in Silicon Valley is about 2 years. Normally that could be argued is a bad thing. But on the positive side, this is the reason that we have so many amazing & successful companies. This talent ends up bringing and sharing new best practices, networks and expertise to the next generation of blooming startups. We see the widespread distribution of expertise and learning across an entire ecosystem.

I believe that this is one of the reasons that Boston as an ecosystem during the 70s & 80s fell VERY far behind Silicon Valley despite being neck and neck when it came to talent, great tech companies (Wang, DEC), elite higher education institutes like MIT & Harvard among others. Massachusetts enforced non-compete contracts, while California did not. Hence this led to a flowering of the tech industry here in the San Francisco Bay Area where talent moved from company to company to company. Almost like Bees buzzing around spreading their pollen.

One example would be B2B Sales, Best practices from one of the giants like Oracle, were adopted by Salesforce. Salesforce refugees then fled to the next generation of B2B Giants and re-deployed & iterated on playbooks and best practices.

I can attest that Facebook and Google are full of ex-Yahoo! Engineers, Sales & Marketing people. Airbnb & Uber are full of ex-Googlers and Facebook people. And now we have seen more of these folks spawning out into new fast growing companies. I anticipate there will be some amazing companies coming out of Coinbase alumni. We even see this in Venture Capital as talent spins out of established VC funds to start their own new investment firm. It’s like a continuous Cambrian explosion of learning, new playbooks and talent development.

This is why clusters are important for any industry. You need this mixing. And this is why I continue to be bullish on Silicon Valley in the near 5–10 year horizon.

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything! www.marvinliao.com

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