There’s a constant chatter about “bubbles” in tech and finance blogs. Are we in a bubble? Or are we simply experiencing healthy, rapid value creation that’s unlocked by big technology and business model innovation?
We are still to be convinced one way or the other, but one thing we are certain of is that San Francisco feels very special these days and is full of creative, confident people.
Entrepreneurs are folks who have a healthy disbelief to “what’s possible” and “what’s impossible.” Combining a healthy measure of ‘chutzpa’ with technological excellence, innovators operate in a world where thus-far agreed upon laws of sound business reasoning, economics, and risk do not apply.
San Francisco, the center of innovation in the US and globally, adopted this mindset as a part of its culture and became a center for liberal, creative thinking. This in turn reinforces Silicon Valley’s allure and brings even more entrepreneurial minds to work on everything from package-delivering drones to gluten-free bakeries.
We can say with some confidence that outside of the financial meaning of the term “bubble”, the Bay Area is experiencing something special. Somewhat of a “cultural bubble”, where everyone is optimistic and nothing seems impossible.
Some recent volunteering work my colleagues and I did reminded us that in every society, there is room for community support and that even a society that is experiencing tremendous growth and abundance can still improve and be more supportive of its less fortunate members.
A group of us a Zendrive recently spent a morning serving homeless and low-income seniors at the Canon Kip Senior Center. The people we served were polite, friendly, and ready to crack a joke. They were normal people without jobs, normal people without homes.
Their daily concerns included food and security, something echoed in so many places around the world. These concerns are a far cry from ours. But we had a meaningful connection and learned a thing or two.
It was wonderful to see that some of San Francisco’s entrepreneurial spirit made its way there too: The CHEFS program is placing these people in culinary programs and internships in some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants. They even provide catering services to some of the best companies in Silicon Valley.
At Zendrive, we are building technology that will make every driving experience safer, cheaper and better. This visit was a humbling, grounding experience that made us proud that we’re not working on a shiny new toy, but instead, we’re focusing on building a business that contributes to the lives of REAL people.