Thursday, November 25, 2010

Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVc2UK)

Folks following me on twitter (@tshelton) know that for the past week I have been sporadically commenting on #svc2uk or sometimes #svc2c (Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge). Last week was my third time joining this trip, organized again by the fabulous Sherry Coutu (@scoutu) and Reid Hoffman (@quixotic). 4 days and series of events that puts us in touch with 2200 people in London and Cambridge from government to industry to education... it is truly an amazing experience. As Teamly founder and CEO Scott Allison (@scott_allison) tweeted:
What makes #svc2c special: the accessibility and willingness to help of the experts. Quite unlike other conferences!
I think that is a key to what makes this event so special for both the folks from Silicon Valley and the UK attendees. When you look at the amazing group of people that came over (speakers list) you can understand something about how special this event is -- sitting at a table with the head of engineering for Facebook, the head of engineering for LinkedIn, senior folks from Google, the executive director of Mozilla, CEO of creative commons... and the list goes on.

A few things I learned about my follow SVc2UK attendees:

August Capital venture capitalist David Hornik (@davidhornik) has a degree in criminology from Cambridge University (and is happy he has never had to use it as an investor!)

Nancy Lublin's (@nancylublin) organization has motivated over 1 million kids to become active toward some social good this year.

Creative Commons CEO, investor, and all around amazing guy Joi Ito (@joi) went to the University of Chicago during the exact years I was there (he was in the physics department and I was over in philosophy...) and also didn't graduate! I told him about how I successfully completed my degree 25 years late (class of 2009, yeah!) and he is now going to try as well...

Google's Megan Smith told us that Google is spending $140 million this year alone on socially relevant activities through their non-profit arm

Other funny moments and quotes:

Megan Smith at NESTA's "Big Data" discussion "Get your data online and don't get caught in the PDF ghetto!"

UK Minister Willetts supporting more open immigration policy: "More than half of new tech from Silicon Valley were built by people not born in US"

Reid Hoffman: "Trust relationships between people are key to how business is done"

Also Reid: "'A startup is like throwing yourself off a cliff & build a plane on the way down"

And one last one from Reid: "Work fast to solve the hardest problem first. Because if you can't solve it, you need to pivot"

Other great links:

Mozilla Exec Director (and now Greylock VC John Lilly's Talk at the House of Commons

Mark Littlewood of BLN blogged the panel about what the world will look like "If my company is massively successful..."

NESTA put up videos of a bunch of the speakers...

The Telegraph's Milo Yiannopoulis (@nero) "Cambridge starts taking the internet seriously"

Looking forward to next year!!