Friday, May 13, 2005

Panel Discussion: How did I think about that?

Firstly a bit about the panelists:-
1. Blake Ross- the creator of Firefox - probably 19 years old
2. Dr. Morton Grosser - a really lively guy who has been there done that, one of the early people in silicon valley - about 65 years old
3. Heidi Rozen - Mobius capital and also lucky woman to have bill gates play golf from her roof
4. Danny Shader - CEO of Good Technology

Definitely the star of the panel was blake who created Firefox and Dr. Morton to a certain extent with his words of experience about silicon valley.

some key insights:-
1. Its very important for techies to develop their products keeping in mind the less sophisticated end user. Its really "would my mother be able to use this?"
2. danny Shader shared some of his past experiences with Go Corp. which was prior to Webvan the company which lost the most amount of money chasing the pen based computing dream. What struck me most was his respect for the leadership of his CEO Bill Campbell. His respect for Bill and his ability to lead his team and make them see the bigger picture, the reason for which his team had to go on was awe-inspiring.
3. Its amazing how much the people on the panel were worried about the lack of h1Bs. The message that came across quite strongly was that silicon valley had remained silicon valley because it had been able to attract the best people in the world to come and work there. The government policies have definitely caused a worry.
4. Morton Grosser came across strongly as a picture of what was right with the world. He came across as a strong believer in the core values of Silicon valley which was meritocracy. It really did not matter here who your family was or what your father did. What mattered was what were you best at and what skill you possessed. Something for which there could be no compromise.
5. An interesting side discussion was on the role of Pairs - larry - sergey, bill gates - paul allen and then steve ballmer. It was made further interesting when it was observed that Blakes pair sat all the way in new Zealand!! There was a general consensus that it was best to have a pair as each of them seemed to control the other and stimulate intellectual discussion.

I met up with Dr. Morton Grosser at the end of the panel and he actually spoke some Arabic. The interesting thing though was that he did not want to do anything with the Middle East and subtly hinted to me that there were people in the valley who had some relations to the Middle East - they were my best bet!!

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