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How Silicon Valley Creates World Changers ?

3 min read

Inspirations from Silicon Valley by Kevin Cai, Hospital Authority, Hong Kong, Chief Information Officer.

A Peer to Peer Exchange in Silicon Valley

I joined this learning expedition with two main targets. Firstly, I explored how a traditional corporate can work with external innovators. The visits to VCs and accelerators offered me solutions. I found out that accelerators are a good bridge, connecting the startup circle with thousands of entrepreneurs and traditional corporate clients. Secondly, this trip gave me an opportunity to meet startups, CTOs and CEOs from Chinese E-commerce companies. I saw the resolution and passion in these market players, and also enjoyed hearing their expertise in the latest technology, process and management in E-commerce.

How Innovations Are Created ?

1- Through Coworking space - Parisoma, Europe’s leading Accelerator

  • Ideas meet execution

  • Open office, large open kitchen, small private corners

  • Informing and educating through organizing and being part of 150 events a year

  • Raising entrepreneurs to upgrade organizations in the new economy

2- By leveraging resource around the world - HAX, World’s Largest Hardware Accelerator

  • From prototype to profit

  • Invest US$250K in each start up, for 8% share

  • Industry Focus: Life Science, Health, Robotics, Infrastructure, Manufacture

  • HAX has built an API to China’s supply chain

3- By Incubating – Plug N Play, Global Innovation Platform

  • All in one ecosystem

  • Previous stars: Dropbox, PayPal, Logitech

  • 300 corporate engagements: SC Johnson, Mercedes Benz, Honeywell, Lufthansa, etc.

  • Connect Startups to Corporations

4- By Incubating – Y Combinator, Global Innovation Platform

  • Funding early-stage startups: The Launch Pad

  • Previous stars: Docker, Dropbox, Stripe, Airbnb, wePay, etc

  • Connect Startups to Corporations

What Does a World Class IT Look Like ?

1- Facebook Culture

Objective and Key Results (OKR) is adopted by almost all Silicon Valley and Chinese tech companies.

Multiple Driven Culture

  • Engineer-driven: Allows engineers to select their teams and vice versa.

  • Data-driven: not KPI driven

  • Testing driven: A/B testing

  • Best talent to lead

  • Managers’ job is resource support

  • CEO’s Q&A session every Friday 4pm

Facebook Practices

  • Encouraged to change source code after it is approved by the owner

  • Less meetings, Wednesday is work from home day

  • SDR every 6 months, if one fails to perform after 2 ~ 3 SDR, then go home

  • SDR is based on OKR methodology

  • Zucker Review in Zucker’s glass office

2- Google Engineer

Google Culture

  • Freedom for engineers, just do it

  • Don’t use shareware, invent shareware

  • Use OKR for personal development

  • Annual engineer review for each: peer review, assess impact of everyone

  • Ownership: everyone is working for their own

3- Pinterest Engineer

Company Sharing

  • 1,000 staff, 50% engineers, 7 teams, Focus on: growth, content, discover, infrastructure, etc

  • Business model in terms of gender demographic: 70% women, Pinterest is for everyone

  • 75 Billion pins, 1+Billion board

What I Learned ?

1- US Innovation Is Winning On an Engineering Culture

US innovation ecosystem is very comprehensive and mature. The companies select the best talent to lead key positions. Within the company, cross team collaborations are frequent and effective, as sharing and learning is a Silicon Valley culture. As far as the engineer culture is concerned, engineers are grouped by projects, not by managers, and value recognition is the prerequisite for selecting an engineer.

2- Chinese Innovation Is Winning On Market And Service

China has a 7% GDP growth and would be the world largest GDP by 2025. Chinese tech leadership moves fast in big data, high volume transaction, agile development, consumer, payment, navigation, manufacture, smart home. In US tech leadership, a lot of developments are in AI, VR, and Biotech, and Chinese engineers dominate Silicon Valley's R&D. US innovation is on technology and business model, while Chinese innovation focuses on service and horizontal expansion.

3- Business + Tech + Design = Modern IT

Customer Experience Centre of Autodesk, San Francisco

by Kevin Cai, Hospital Authority Hong Kong, CIO

Kevin Cai serves as Chief Information Officer of Hospital Authority Hong Kong since 2015, building and running one of world’s largest healthcare IT system.

The Hospital Authority is a statutory body managing all 42 public hospitals and institutions in Hong Kong. It is mainly responsible for delivering a comprehensive range of secondary and tertiary specialist care and medical rehabilitation through its network of health care facilities.

ChinaTech Day USA is a peer to peer exchange in Silicon Valley with campus visit to 8 Technology companies. There were discussions with 5 Venture Capital / Incubators, and 10 insightful meetings with 500+ engineers.

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