Lessons Learned from the TV Series “Silicon Valley”

Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley is my favorite binge TV show at the moment. I identify well with the cast, and I find the show entertaining on multiple levels (including references to DCMs and DCT filters).

\alpha=cos a=\frac{v \hat{x}}{\|v\|}

\beta=cos b=\frac{v \hat{y}}{\|v\|}

\gamma=cos a=\frac{v \hat{z}}{\|v\|}

I wish I would have watched this show before I left the military, because of the lessons I learned about the commercial sector:

  1. Be flexible. My first company after the military was about as inflexible as the military!
  2. Do not burn bridges. Corollary: build and maintain as many bridges as you can.
  3. Do not overlook legalities. Yes, the fine print is hard to read, but the gotchas are in the fine print.
  4. Building a brand is a process. The brand is often the shared brainchild of a select group within the company, but it takes the entire company to buy in and protect and build that brand.
  5. Embrace mistakes, but learn from them. If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake.
  6. Strive for healthy work-life balance. In the military, my brain was available for work about 20 hours of the day, and even in my 4 hours of sleep I was often thinking about work. I fell into a trap with my first civilian job, because it was all I know–and the employer seemed to enjoy and endorse the behavior.
  7. Quality is key. Every company has a widget or a gadget, but not every company has a quality widget or gadget.
  8. Have a vision, and keep your eye on the prize. Again, I was astounded at the lack of vision displayed by the commercial sector.
  9. Make the right hires. A company is only as good at its people. Corollary: make the right fires.
  10. Leadership is important! I could almost



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