TINC – an insider’s perspective

This blog goes back to San Francisco, November 2012.

What a week it has been for those of us that watch the American IT companies!

Apple launched the iPad Mini. Microsoft launched its first laptop/tablet, Surface and its new operating system, Windows 8.

And all this happening on the West Coast of the U.S..

For me participating in TINC, it has also been an amazing week. I feel that I have really ended up in the EPI-centre where so many Internet based companies are trying to break through.

I am staying in Menlo Park and working alternating days at Innovation House in Palo Alto and RocketSpace in San Francisco.

Before I came to Palo Alto I imagined it would look like Alnabru, Forus or Kokstad in Norway (read: industrial clusters). I imagined huge buildings where only large corporations would be situated. But Palo Alto is more similar to Radiator Springs from the Pixar movie Cars. There are cozy streets filled with lovely restaurants and cafes. And after a 7-8 block walk you have passed through the entire downtown district.

I brought my family with me, and the community is very child friendly. Americans are good at smoothing the way for children and families and there are playgrounds, parks, and fun things to find around every corner.

However, I have not come to Silicon Valley just for play. The purpose of my one month stay here is to work on my startup Beat. I will be working to get in contact with U.S. investors and I am also receiving mentorship from the wonderful consultants here on how to validate our business model, whether or not we will be able to really succeed in a larger context and market.

It is truly amazing to see how questions are answered in Silicon Valley. There is always someone who knows someone who knows something, and introductions are looser than a six-horse carriage in the Wild West. Helping each other out is a virtue here. There are many theories about why Silicon Valley has become such an entrepreneur friendly place, and this openness in sharing is surely one of the reasons.

Another reason is that it is acceptable to fail on the West Coast. As long as you get back up and come out stronger and wiser, and you have a story to share. On Monday all the TINCers had the pleasure of attending FailCon, a conference dedicated to stories of failure. Eric Ries was one of the main speakers there. He spoke convincingly about failing early, rather than finding out later that you have been working on solving the wrong problem. It’s important right from the beginning to get on the market as soon as possible and talk to your customers.

Another thing people often share in Silicon Valley is the stories of success. We have met with a number of exciting Norwegian companies that are about to brake through. The founders of WeVideo, ForgeRock and Trolltech (which long ago broke through, and were sold to Nokia) have shared their stories. It is inspiring to hear how these Norwegian entrepreneurs have lead the way, raised capital and succeed in establishing themselves in the U.S.

For a number of companies in TINC, meeting with investors is important. Which makes it great to see that Innovation House has Scandinavian VCs on visit next week. Making it easier to meet Norwegian investors here than it is at home.

Now, the weekend is only hours away and our family is preparing to explore the Bay Area. Before that, I have some work to catch up on, and I’ll work on getting rid of the jet lag too


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