Interview with Deborah Perry Piscione, Secrets of Silicon Valley Author
After almost two decades working in Washington DC on Capitol Hill, in The White House, and in the media as a political commentator for CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, Deborah Perry Piscione moved to Silicon Valley. What she discovered there shocked her. The hidden secrets inherent in the unique ecosystem that is Silicon Valley are ones that everyone could benefit from. This is what inspired her to write Secrets of Silicon Valley: What Everyone Else Can Learn From the Innovation Capital of the World.
Deborah Perry Piscione
Launching three media companies in six years since she moved to Silicon Valley in 2006, Piscione is uniquely positioned to talk about the difference in workplace culture and how a collaborative, open culture is what the world needs most to build a continuum of success. Co-founder of Chump Genius™, an educational gaming company, Desha Productions, Inc. the parent company of BettyConfidential®, a leading content and e-commerce site, and Alley to the Valley®, a community of the world’s most influential female entrepreneurs, investors, an corporate executives for deal flow, Piscione has not only glimpsed inside the culture of Silicon Valley with a fresh set of eyes but also put into practice the very secrets she writes about. She knows none of this would have been possible in an inflexible, static business environment. Entrepreneurial dreams simply are not realized in an atmosphere of tradition and convention.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Piscione via phone about her journey and book.
Piscione described to me the immense culture shock she initially experienced. From the "destroy your enemy" culture of a career in politics, the "how can I help you?" culture of Silicon Valley took her by surprise to say the least. She explained that being stunned in this way led her to ask: "If the direction of the world is toward entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley has created such a culture of success, what can I learn, replicate, and share with others so they can benefit too? Even when the economy is tough, the innovation here never stops. What allows it to trampoline from one innovation to the next?"
These compelling questions led Piscione to conduct countless interviews with leading executives and companies in the Silicon Valley space from tech entrepreneurs to venture capitalists and powerful women leaders to uncover what makes this place so special. What she found is this unique ecosystem rewards innovative ideas and independent thinking. There exists a freedom and collaboration (including collaboration between public and private institutions) not found anywhere else. The companies that exist here are forward-looking. They know how to marry being socially conscious with profitability.
She recounts her initial experiences as "refreshingly shocking" as she got to know people without hidden agendas. Describing people as "comfortable in their own skin" it became clear that there is a lot of success to be found in authenticity.
When I asked Piscione what she most wanted the BlogHer audience to know about these secrets, she said "There has to be authenticity in what you are doing if you want to be successful. The women who are truly doing what they are meant to do are catapulted to success." If you want to elevate your profile, she said you must "Find your unique value and make sure people know about it." One way the culture supports this authenticity is by allowing people to work in a way that is consistent in the way that people live the rest of their lives. Whether flexible hours, easy access to bike and hiking trails right on company campus, or a results driven environments, the culture permeates everything.
She said that leaders here recognize that you can create more with chaos and creativity rather than tight control. There exists a greater trust in people which translates directly into more productivity. I can't think of a single organization or industry that couldn't use more of that.
You can learn more about Piscione and the book at the website: http://www.secretsofsiliconvalleybook.com.
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