March 15th, 2017 | The American Dream.
A visit to California is an eye-opener, as the Dutch job market could not be any more different from the American one. Namely, it is way easier to get funding in the Netherlands when your project or your company is eco-friendly, employee-friendly, and has a societal impact or just supports some minority. Therefore, high working culture and societal impact are an important part of any business pitch in the Netherlands. Here in the Silicon Valley on the other hand, the thinking is. ‘First make your customer happy, and then your workers will be happy too’.
Chasing The American Dream: The Eye-Opening Trip To California.
A visit to California is an eye-opener, as the Dutch job market could not be any more different from the American one. Namely, it is way easier to get funding in the Netherlands when your project or your company is eco-friendly, employee-friendly, and has a societal impact or just supports some minority.
Therefore, high working culture and societal impact are an important part of any business pitch in the Netherlands. Here in Silicon Valley, on the other hand, I attended a few meetings for entrepreneurs, just because I was very curious how it all works up here, and I was surprised to find out how much different the thinking is.
“First, make your customer happy, and then your workers will be happy too” – this is how people used to think in the Valley. And they are right of course: no company will survive on the market for long without generating massive amounts of profit.
And, to generate profits, it needs to provide the best product which solves some real-life problems on the customer’s side. And this solution to the problem and its market value should be the core of any business pitch.
Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands Versus the Bay Area.
This is just rational thinking. I am rather surprised that no one has yet enlightened me about it in the Netherlands. I wonder how a company based on Dutch labor but with an American attitude would perform on the market.
This could be a good combination, since the Dutch are natural team workers, and they are rather efficient at work, whereas the American working style is more individualistic and disorganized, but concentrates on generating profit much more clearly.
The next thing I noticed during my stay in California is that when people encounter you, they tend to do two things. Firstly, they ask about your business card. And secondly, they are proactive in trying to find out who you are: they google your name and search through all the records.
When I was starting to blog twelve years ago, I didn’t have any particular plan to capitalize on my writing and make friends in Silicon Valley through this channel. But the reality is: yes, people will read everything they can find, and make their conclusions.
Luckily for me, the conclusions are usually in my favor, yet still, it is sometimes embarrassing. And the truth is these days, the whole package matters in both business and in science: from your sense of humor, through the design of your business card, your Instagram or Twitter activity, to the content of your website. The business plan alone is only part of the game – visibility online is equally important.
Of course, this trend has its pros and cons: it generally helps people who have a natural talent for leadership, and a bright personality to stand out.
On the other side though, you have to accept that you are becoming a public figure and that you need to share information about your lifestyle with people whom you have never met before, or whom you have never met in person at all. So far, I did not experience any collateral pain related to networking and socializing.
But I also know that one day, haters will inevitably appear and that I need to develop a strong mental corpus for that occasion.
Conclusion: The Idea Behind the American Dream.
The last thing I would like to mention today is that I now better understand the idea of the American dream.
In European culture, there are no shortcuts. If you want to become successful, you first need to receive a solid education. Then, you need to work out a great idea, develop a solid business plan, and find cofounders, advisors, and collaborators.
You need to then develop a healthy working and personal relationship with your team (which in the Netherlands takes ages, by the way) and develop an MVP in order to find funding bodies, gain their enthusiasm and start opening distribution channels.
It is a slow process, and you cannot just cut through to the top just because you are brilliant.
In American culture though, startup projects have a higher dynamic. Everyone can be fired from a job at any time, but also hired at any time, and sometimes, once you have a good idea, it is enough to find yourself in a good place at the right time, and the rest becomes history.
HR people and venture capitalists screen LinkedIn in search of talent all the time. You are free to show your face and present your ideas to anyone at open meetups – from private investors to heads of leading investment funds.
Essentially, even going out in the morning and taking a morning stroll through the city can result in a contract, as people just start chatting with you for no reason.
In Mountain View, I managed to make friends with so many people of different backgrounds within as little as one week! I wonder what my life would look like if I spent a few months or years here. Might be interesting to try.
Please cite as:
Bielczyk, N. (2017, March 15th). The American Dream. Retrieved from https://nataliabielczyk.com/the-american-dream/
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