In grad school, I was part of a team that built a racecar called Roxy. We were responsible for the rear suspension of a Formula SAE car that would accelerate from 0 to 60mph in under 3 seconds and would take 5th in international competition. We designed the suspension and then spent 6 months manufacturing it in a machine shop.
More than once, I’ve thought building a company is like building a racecar – it’s a fiasco. We had great plans and schematics for the suspension. So did the 7 other teams building the car. Designs changed, materials arrived late, engines broke, costs increased and yet it all came together. Pulling it off required knowhow from the old guys at the machine shop, cooperation with other teams to share best practices, and strong leadership from our team captain, Ariel. We were each pulling pieces from a collective toolbox.
Silicon Valley is a toolbox of interchangeable parts. Software development strategies, customer acquisition methods, hiring techniques, business models, teams. All of these are the motors and frames that we use to build companies.
“That business model didn’t work? Try this one. The guys at this other company said it might work.” “You should hear about what this startup is doing to hire right now.” “I’ve seen this one social hook that grew the k-factor to 3!” These are all conversations we hear in the valley every day. Each time, we’re reaching into the collective toolbox to see if this gear is the one that’s going to make the car go just a bit faster.
Networking with other CEOs, CTOs, Software Engineers and Marketers is one of the most important things we can do as founders. It’s how we continue to build and grow the toolbox.