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What Silicon Valley has taught me - Third day

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A first-hand experience in Silicon Valley


By Gabriel Giehl Martins
MBA Best Student Leader 2017


This third article about my experience at Silicon Valley will talk about elevator pitch, Intel, Google, and Carbon 3D.

The third day started at the hotel meeting room with a presentation on how to deliver an elevator pitch. The process is simple but not easy as it demands a lot of training and rounds of practice and improvement.

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Besides all those pomp and circumstances around start-ups´ pitches, everyone should dominate the art of selling effectively an idea or even themselves in a short period of time.

The framework presented is composed of 3 main steps: The catch, the core, and the closing.

The catch part is the most important one because if you are not able to connect and make people interested in listening to you, doesn´t matter what comes next. The first 30 seconds will drive the effectiveness of your pitch and must attract peoples´ attention with one single sentence.

The core must make clear the highlights of your value proposition always mentioning the needs of the market, your commitment to deliver, the benefits or values you bring to the table and how do you differentiate yourself from the competition.

Lastly but not the least, comes the closing. The golden rule here is to test the audience´s interesting and not be afraid to ask what you want (money, follow-up meeting, make a job offer, ask for a job, etc.). Keep eye contact, do not lower your voice and show enthusiasm.

A great example can be seen in this video of a young guy who won an elevator pitch competition.

Pitch session done. Now, jump on the bus to face another 2 hours traffic to reach Mountain View.

The first agenda of the day was a visit to the Intel museum on the ground floor of Intel´s office. Nothing very clever to share here but was great to remember the history of a great company that has disrupted the computer science world. We also learned how Intel´s chips are made from Silicon.

Actually, there is an interesting though that worth sharing, which is one of the most famous phrases by Robert Noyce, one of Intel´s founder. These words could not be more suitable for the Silicon Valley ecosystem!

Moving forward to Googleplex, we were hosted by Jason Amarante one of Google´s Program Managers. He is working on google voice product that is the competitor of Amazon Echo. For him, Google’s competitive advantage in this market is the amount of data that Google “control”.

We visited only the outside part of the complex as we were not allowed to go inside of any building. By the way, to enter Facebook´s village you need to be an employee or be with one as a host. At Google, anyone can walk around and visit the outside facilities.

Not surprisingly, Google has very similar amenities at its employees’ disposal as Facebook. But in this case, was kind of weird to see 4 employees playing beach volleyball in the middle of the day and during working hours.

We also visited the place where Google keeps all Android versions´ symbol. For each version, there is a different symbol, they are all related to candy and follow the alphabet order.

Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, KitKat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, and the last one Oreo.

As an ex-project manager, I was also curious about which software they use to control projects and report status. Jason said that they use everything from Google, meaning everything on google drive, no Microsoft Office at their desktops and Hangout instead of WhatsApp for internal communication.

Next stop: Fintech world. We arrived at Credit Sesame, one of the most successful fintech startups in the US, and were received by the company´s CIO, Pejman Makhfi. Pejman explained to us the company´s business model and how they were able to raise US$ 77 million from 5 rounds of fundraising. You can search more about the company here.

However, what stroke me most was the fact that the PowerPoint presentation used, the same used to present the company to VCs, were impressively simple! Seriously, imagine a blank slide (zero background), with I title without any different format than bold and a diagram with simple arrows connecting databases and other figures. All slides were like that!

So, if you think you need design and some beautiful slides to sell your idea or project, you might be wrong. I´m from a theory that the level of beautifulness in a presentation is the opposite of the level of content. But I´m not saying that good slides that make some explanation easily are not important.

The next stop was the 3D print company called Carbon. I thought that I was going to visit a company that prints stuff using 3D technology. However, during the tour, I realized that their business is actually manufacturing 3D printers and produce specific resins to use as supply. It was like visiting Xerox when they started to produce copy machines and sell tonners as supply.

I strongly advise you to watch the TED talk delivered by the company´s founder in which Joseph DeSimone explains their cutting-edge 3D print technology. They have more than 100 patents on this technology and a partnership with Adidas to print midsoles for its Futurecraft 4D sneakers (see picture). They will produce 500 thousand this year and are expecting to print 5 million per year by 2020.

The day ended in an amazing event hosted by Reed Smith, one of the biggest law firms in the world. Good food, good drinks, and amazing people to connect with.

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