Returning to the US in late 2015 has been a decision of Germany vs. California with all the pros and cons. After all, I felt like I have to understand the Silicon Valley culture better and dig deeper into the city of San Francisco.
After making use of all possible self-marketing channels in order to find a good job with either one of the tech-giants or an interesting start-up I could land a job with WhatsApp Inc. in Mountain View, CA. Right in the Silicon Valley. To find a job in the valley or the city, you really have to understand that you will find yourself in one of the worlds most competetive job-hunting and house-/flat-hunting markets of the planet. By far, rent is out of control and now beyond Manhattan or London prices.How to land a job there? Good questions arise, fight for it on a daily basis but know where, when and how to. Have your elevator pitch ready at all times – a lot of people network even late at night in bars and it might work for you, too. Also have some CV handy, 1 or 2 pages max. I think a one-pager works best in the valley, still I am a classic guy with a two-pager written in Times New Roman. It worked for me, cause I know how to talk and my education and experience are far from boring. Also I am not applying for a designish role which is why I did not need to display such. Knowing the right people or people that know people – you will get there.. Google is your friend when looking for events, so is Facebook to check for Professional Meetups, Networking, or fun events for adults. Check LinkedIn as well and make sure your profile there is more than just up to date. Let it market you so that everybody who visits your profile can crasp your personality. SHOW WHO YOU ARE, not what your current job is 😉 Recruiters and staffing agencies are always worth receivng your resume and a few lines of where you are heading to, your goals! And be OK or prepare for panel interviews as well as brain-challenging (“mind-fucking at Google”) questions with most companies. Questions might aim to check your creativity, panels check your honesty and endurance. WhatsApp offers a super diverse team and so is their work-culture. It reminds me on my global MBA where I also worked with different nationalities from all over the planet. It is a fun environment with absolutely great benefits and huge demands. Do your work, enjoy having a free snack, breakfast, lunch or possible dinner, work-out in their gym or have a massage while your car is being waxed to name some;) Once you adapt your professional self to it, it becomes rewarding on a personal level, too. As a native German I took over their customer support for the German speaking markets and suggested app improvements to management. The company, acquired by Facebook but not on its campus as Zuckerbergs firm feels more like being a holding to WhatsApp, is currently in a phase between being in the state of a start-up and a further evolving organization. A thrilling phase to be working with them. Mountain View, CA is a nice small-to medium sized town with a great selection of restaurents and good weather throughout the year. CalTrain, the Californian train company, offers great connections to the city and I became a commuter guest on one of their express trains, called Bullet Trains. As often in the US, the infrastructure could need more than just some update, but in general the trains are on time.
The Silicon Valley is not only a cultural melting pot, but also very very rich. To put it better: you can always find someone telling you (s)he is ready to invest $100k in your startup right away. You find different characters like the typical tech-nerdie equipped with MacBook Pro and Beats headphones and too much belly fat dressed well in a hoodie. or the Stanford-girl focussed on her make-up and iPhone and some business people here and there that are also most of the time just staring down on the phone. I found myself provoking others by looking at their faces while they text or browse, ha..!
In terms of making money, some get rich, others die trying and some make an acceptable to good living working for them becoming rich or richer. Guess just like me now for J. Koum and M. Zuckerberg. Damn (!?). But for some time of my life I am appreciating it and can use that experience of communication vs. tech-knowhow, stressful start-up moments vs. we are rich lets pahrdey moments. All part of the game here, worth learning those emotions coming with it. Last week I shocked some colleagues for fun wearing the stupid Trump hat of “Make America Great Again“. Reactions were crazy as most poeple could not even lough about it – “C’mon man, you cannot do that!” and several “fu.. off”s included. But I dont want to have my blog reaching the political level so I leave it with that.The valley is an interesting place thanks to all the knowhow and big players that are all literally in the neighborhood. Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, NASA Ames, Apple, 23andMe, SurveyMonkey, Stanford University to name a few. Also nearby in the city of SF you will find LinkedIn, Twitter, Dolby, and Adobe to name some more. Or Ubisoft for my gamers out there 😉It is worth the stress and craziness, it is not worth spending a lifetime unless you are the billionaire. So far from my side. And I am not sure if that last picture has been approved by Google: