We acknowledge that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
What is it about Silicon Valley that inspires the creation and growth of so many innovative startups? In June 2015, Conrad’s Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) class travelled to San Francisco to find out.
MBET students experienced first-hand the innovative, dynamic atmosphere of the area, while connecting with MBET alumni along the way. The group toured tech giants such as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, as well as up-and-coming startups such as Airbnb, Hotel Tonight and Kahuna.
We asked MBETs to share the most memorable part of their trip.
Passion and hard work at Hotel Tonight
The best part of the trip was the opportunity to discuss trends in technology and realize how relevant our learnings in MBET are to what is occurring in the Silicon Valley scene.
In addition, I was amazed by the cool and friendly atmosphere at Hotel Tonight. All staff were hard-working, inspired, and passionate about what they do. In all the places we toured, it was clear that innovative thinking and providing value to customers were always core principles.
-Dr. Arif Alarakhai
A behind-the-scenes peek at Yahoo
During our visit to Yahoo, we had the opportunity to tour much of the campus, from the executive building to the studio where Yahoo videos are made. We learned about every step that goes into covering events, making the 5 minute videos, and updating them so quickly on Yahoo.
It was great to interact with Yahoo employees about what challenges Yahoo is facing and what their next key milestones are."
Amazing company culture at Airbnb
Throughout the tour of the Airbnb, I was captivated by the culture, and the trust that the founders put in their employees. From the set-up of the offices to the way that employees collaborated, the office felt like a big family, where employees care about one another, and creativity is welcomed.
Innovation insights at Kahuna
We were fortunate to meet the CEO of Kahuna, Adam Marchick. He explained that, in the competitive market of acquiring new users, Kahuna focuses on a different subset of the problem, that of 're-engagement.'
This reminded me that finding a problem worth solving is the heart of being an entrepreneur. Instead of competing in broad areas, successful startup companies usually find market niche. Their innovation comes from observation."
Thank you to all the companies who welcomed the MBET class. We look forward to a return visit next spring, as we travel to Silicon Valley with the new MBET class!