In her article, On The Differences in Startup Culture Between Amsterdam and Bay Area, Natalia Bielczyk highlights some differences in Silicon Valley Startup Culture. She describes Silicon Valley business networks and relationships where for the most part, care more about the quality of connections rather than the total number of connections.
In the Bay Area, people tend to choose vertical, deep networks as opposed to shallow, horizontal networks. Connections are based on long-term friendships: playing games together, having face-to-face conversations, or hiking in a group. People connect with each other by word of mouth, not by virtue of social media – which is interesting given that they can call you a friend after one conversation. This means that they give you a credit of trust pretty soon.
In general, people care much less about social media presence than Europeans, which is counterintuitive given that Silicon Valley is the cradle of social media – including Facebook with headquarters in Menlo Park in and LinkedIn with headquarters in Mountain View – after all! Many entrepreneurs and investors don’t keep any social media accounts and rely solely on communication via email and phone numbers. Many only hold Instagram accounts – which are visual rather than verbal.
She also describes that Californians “tend to network upward. Namely, if they decide to connect you with people, they will aim to find the best connected and the most influential person in their network who can help you the most.”
She also cautions that most successful entrepreneurs are rarely found at meetups and hackerspaces. They are typically too busy and too focused to attend public meetups.
In her article, she outlines differences in the cost of living, transportation, and the laid-back approach to time compared to Dutch entrepreneurs. In addition, she highlights how Silicon Valley founders actively support each other and the personality traits of highly technical developers.
She offers this advice “As a rule of thumb, the person who proposes the business dinner, pays for it, regardless of gender.
Lastly, American entrepreneurs laugh much more and exhibit much more dark, self-depreciative humor. This might be just a coping mechanism as life in the US is objectively less organized and harder than in Europe.” Later she adds, “personal connections are the sign of status in the US. People’s names, faces, and phone numbers are a currency here.”
In the Silicon Valley Startup Culture, everything happens fast and everyone wants to change the world.