This year started off much like the prior year ended: with a cornucopia of geek conferences, salons, and media roundtables.
I went to a lot last year, and enjoyed most of them. I have been going to a lot this year and I am still enjoying them.
But I'll be going to a lot less this because they are mostly the same. And because I recently spent a month away from Silicon Valley and noticed that most people don't care one iota about most of the stuff we debate so intensely over here.
I spent much of December in London and New York and it was great to have a real world perspective on things that concern Silicon Valley. (BTW the ultra high def is amazing in the real world and so is the sensory force feedback... (except when it rains, and it gets really cold, and you catch a cold).)
Silicon Valley cares about...
For example, Facebook and Twitter are big applications but they are also big philisophical subjects in Silicon Valley debates. My East Coast friends are barely on Facebook--I have to drag them screaming and scratching to join. They won't touch Twitter as my techno-twit colleagues have done, of which I am one (sadly).
It is difficult to stand apart but I think it is essential...I always make sure to spend my Friday evenings and most of my weekends in geek-free environments. In communities that might include an occasional person that knows me from my work-a-day world but mostly not.
The key rule to startup success...
If you spend less time in the the geek world you will get a better perspective on the culture around you. The more you understand that culture the more succesful will be your business.
Businesses need to become a part of their broader culture, yet I come across many that aren't, and don't understand this point, or understand it only intellectually. That's why Silicon Valley Watcher reports on the business and culture of Silicon Valley because culture is important to business and vice versa. And there are plenty of interesting stories to tell too.