Silicon Valley with IE Business School: Part I

Since 2010, with the arrival of more people dedicated to improve everything related with Blended Education at IE, changes have been occurring to a number of programs and processes. Some important changes where the change of the second face-to-face week of the Master in Digital Marketing (MDM) from London to the Silicon Valley. The other one was the possibility of Global MBA (GMBA) students to join the MDM group as well as some MDM alumni.

I decided to join the group to see this new “feature” of these programs but also to meet some friends in the Bay Area and to look for activities in the Online Education and the Online Media industries. Almost 50 people formed this nice group of students, all with that ”crazy taste” of diversity that characterize all IE groups. They had some classes on Monday and Tuesday so I joined them on Wednesday, for the first series of visits to companies and players throughout the Silicon Valley. We started by visiting the famous Google Plex (see picture), where we were received by one of the many IE alumni working in the company: Marco Marinucci (International Executive MBA, 2004).

Marco is in Google since 2006 – a long time for the industry standards – and showed us the installations and the history of the Silicon Valley. After that, we got into an important review on the latest trends on mobile advertisement, with the Head of Gomo (Go Mobile). At the end I stayed with some key sentences from this visits: “Innovation is about what’s going to be next”, “Talent + Money + Creativity = Innovation” and “you cannot plan innovation, all you can do is try hard to be in the right place and prepared”.

Newton at Google Plex

But the day was just starting. We still went to EA, previously known as EA Sports. It is an amazing company, now struggling to quickly identify small innovative players to either acquire them or work with them, all over the world. From that visit I got with the sentence: “Videogames = Math + Art”. Where “Art” is the unpredictable variable.

Unfortunately I missed the last visit at Symantec where students were going to discuss about security systems. Overall I considered this first day a great welcoming day to start feeling what was the Silicon Valley about. I confess I knew a lot about it from my previous visit to the region and from many years of studying the subject, but still, it was a great day.