Comcate, Silicon Valley, and Whatever at the University Club

Tonight I spoke at the University Club of San Francisco, a private “old school” social club. While the attendance was light, it was interesting and enjoyable. Average age of audience was probably 60 and their professions ranged including one person who was in the Wi-Fi space. Needless to say, my youth was quite an enticing angle for them to ponder and speculate. It was no surprise to me that the question of colleges came up and I said I have no idea where I want to go…but I did toss in a line to stir something up which is my typical “I protest the traditional academic evaluation process.” Probably not the best thing to say to an old-school, Republican, Harvard/Stanford crowd. But I defended my position with vigor, saying that school is a game that if you choose to play means pleasing superiors, become decent at a wide range of topics, and working to get an A but no more. I think they appreciated my position.

I got into Silicon Valley trends a bit and to my surprise the old folks knew about such things like RFID, blogging, salesforce.com, etc. Questions came up about comparing bar codes to RFID, the salesforce model and how it could be emulated, why did we choose Delaware corp over Nevada and why corp over LLC, and are you concerned about losing your high school experience with Comcate. I was not expecting these types of detailed questions but it was fine.

At these types of functions, since most of them are retired or close to it, there’s little they can do right now to help Comcate and me, but a few did offer to introduce me to friends who could be interested. For a free dinner by the Bay Area Chef of the Year and an engaging chit-chat with smart people, I’ll take that offer anytime!

One Response to Comcate, Silicon Valley, and Whatever at the University Club

  1. Chris Yeh says:

    Ben,

    Just ran across your blog after Brad Feld linked to it. I’m glad to see that the spirit of entrepreneurship is taking hold in teens. Back when I was a teen, I wasted most of my time on cartoons and games!

    At any rate, I agree with you that someone who is very focused can get a great education anywhere, by being proactive, getting to know mentors, and so on. However, for someone like me who wasn’t quite so focused at the age of 15, I think you can get a lot more out of a Stanford or HBS (my two schools). Lower tier schools are much more impersonal, and less challenging. Those who don’t challenge themselves can end up getting a mediocre education. Also, someone like you who is focused can get even more out of their time at Stanford. As I’m sure you’ve already learned, the company you keep is more important than the classes you take. If you go to a Stanford or HBS, it means that you’ll probably have good contacts in every major industry in 10-15 years.

    At any rate, I’m enjoying your blog and hope that you keep it up!

    –Chris

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