In September last year, three others and I won the East Sweden Hack with our app “Gå 2.0”. Our prize was a trip to Silicon Valley and It’s now been a couple of week since I came back.
It’s been an amazing experience visting all the interesting startups and some of the biggest and most popular companies in the world. We’ve visited: Facebook, Spotify, Vint, Narrative and Timeline News.
Working in Sweden and also been working for an American CEO I can see alot differences from Swedish companies and similarities with my experience.
I though it would summarize some thoughts I’ve gathered during the trip regarding the difference in culture.
Game rooms aren’t cool
It’s interesting seeing what errors swedish companies trying to be ‘cool’ makes when they look on companies in America. Most of them look at making the employees feel good via a game room or biliards. However, I think this is where they wrong. The fact that the bigger software companies has these things, they also have another imporant part - services for simplifyinng their employess day. They have breakfast/lunch/dinner for free, laundry. And this is something I personally feel is more important than a game room. A company shouldn’t entertain their employees by a game room, it should simplify the day by removing worries that the employee could have.
Location could matter
A while ago, a couple of friends and I discussed the start-up culture and the fact that they want to gather at one spot. We questioned this way of working wondering what it could bring. But it seems like there is a big difference looking att this gathering in US and in Sweden, there is a certain way business relations work in the US that it doesn’t in sweden - first meeting is simple, the second is not. People in the US want to meet you and see how you could work together, but if this connections is not apparent directly, you will have problems fixing the next meeting.
With those possibilities I can see why alot of start-ups have gathered in the bay area in hopes of making it big - the distance to potetial VCs and partners do matter.
Having said that, one of the best memory I’ll save from this trip is our hop on/off bus experience, sitting with beer and chilling in the sun in January with great friends with no worries in the world. Sitting here on the flight, I want to go back to that moment and I think I’ll cherish it for the rest of my life.
Thank you Sofie, Anton and Johan for this experience!