Silicon Valley Is Not Most People’s Reality

Writing checks casually for $100k, selling companies for hundreds of millions of dollars, and then throwing back drinks with semi-well known rappers (see videos below) … this is what Silicon Valley is made of. It’s also only two days of activity. The Valley is an environment where life-time successes are celebrated for half a minute before the next guy cashes a check bigger than yours. Dave McClure raised $30 million for an investment fund in under 6 months but is that really all it took? Definitely not. The founders of Playdom built and sold a gaming startup (now what most people would consider an empire) in a couple years. But is a couple years all it took? Hell no.

It’s pretty easy to become disconnected from reality when the people surrounding you are building companies that generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year in revenue. These are truly the things that dreams are made of (for some) and in Silicon Valley it’s probably one of the only places where people who have a bank account with $10 million is a casual thing … or at least appears to be. If you want to throw around the size of your bank account as part of a contest you can go do so, however one thing that is more common than multi-million dollar bank accounts here is passionate people.

The people in Northern California are among the most passionate people I’ve ever met in my life. There’s a passion for learning, a passion for living, and a passion for sharing. While there are plenty of individuals who are caught in the rat race of building their multi-million dollar empire, there are many more people that simply enjoy life. This is not to say that these type of people don’t exist in other places (I’ve met many of them in D.C. and other “creative capitals” around the world), it’s just that there are many more of them here.

You Choose Your Reality

The one thing that is completely clear to me after living out here for a little over two-months is that you single handedly choose your reality. You don’t need to live in Northern California to come to this conclusion. I came to this conclusion 10 years ago, however when I look back on the past decade I realize that all it takes to have anything you want is the ability to dream big enough. Ted Leonsis is an example of a inspired individual that I’ve had the fortune to meet. He dreamed of becoming a billionaire, owning a sports team, and 99 other things, most of which have been accomplished. My friend Jesse had the dream of building cool stuff for cool people and years after creating that dream him and his team are building things for Google, Nike, Facebook, and numerous others. My friend Gary Vaynerchuk dreamed of sharing his passion for wine, and now he has done so with millions of people.

You don’t need to dream to be rich, you don’t need to dream about creating internet startups, you just need to dream big. Believe in that dream, surround yourself with people who believe in that dream, live a life filled with passion and determination, and it all becomes a reality. In Silicon Valley, a lot of the people that I’ve happened to surround myself with are people who have big dreams. There are countless dreamers out here.

Many of those individuals dream of building consumer internet startups. I don’t think that building consumer internet startups should be your dream though … in fact I hope it isn’t. Whatever your dream is, realize that any dream is possible. If you’re reading this blog post than you have the tools at your disposable to build pretty much anything. The cost of building dreams has fallen dramatically in recent years and as someone who has the tools to build that reality, your duty is to do so. Stop watching TV, stop playing video games when you get home from work, and Crush IT!

If you happen to be dreaming big and are going after that dream, feel free to email me at nick [at] socialtimes [d0t] com share your dreams! If you happen to be near San Francisco, let’s get together!

Published by Steve Banfield

Kentucky born, Seattle based. Entrepreneur. Team Builder. Photographer.

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