The Latinos Of Silicon Valley
A great article by Giovanni Rodriguez in Forbes (The Latinos Of Silicon Valley) describes with ease the role that Latinos are playing in the Silicon Valley. He mentions Rebecca and I as emerging leaders. We’re thrilled to see a community of new leaders emerging in the Silicon Valley and to be considered among them. But truly, our team makes all of this possible.
I wanted to expand on the article with my point of view and explain why his article matters so much.
The Latinos of Silicon Valley –– We are about technology. We are like a startup. We are about the world. (Giovanni Rodriguez in a Forbes article dated May 11th 2013)
We’ve been in the Silicon Valley for well over a decade. We came directly to Stanford after a full year of traveling abroad. Over the years, we’ve learned that the Valley can be fun, unpredictable, exciting, rewarding and sometimes even heartbreaking. There’s a reason why people from all over the world come here –– it all boils down to an insatiable feeling of curiosity and the unstoppable need to create something, to put a ding in the universe, as Steve Jobs would say.
I’ve always been curious about the most random things. As a kid I wondered what would happen if I used my dad’s computer. I reformatted the hard drive and it took him hours to restore it. It was thrilling and scary at the same time. I wondered about luck and class differences. As a kid I was acutely aware of the socioeconomic differences we had to face as a family. I think experiencing that and being aware of it has helped me strive for something better throughout my life. I was part of the have-nots and though it was tough, I enjoyed being the underdog and rising above it –– and still do.
I wanted to know more but I didn’t know where to start. My mom was pivotal, as she implanted the seed of curiosity by filling the gaps of knowledge with new and mesmerizing facts and stories about far away lands. Even though I had a great coach, after a while the oppressive environment with a revolving door of presidents and coups brought me down, so I stopped looking and I became a follower. But thankfully not for long. It was hard because it meant being completely aloof and putting my head down, which has never been one of my strengths, so I started looking again.
When I arrived to the Silicon Valley, everything changed –– not overnight but it was a pretty fast transition. I took up computer science, though I’d never programmed in my life and I was lucky enough to get an internship at Sun Microsystems. I didn’t know anyone but as things happen here, we met a super cool guy who happened to be a director of marketing at Sun and he happened to be looking for interns. Plus I happened to be persistent. I worked Saturdays and Sundays at the office. I was thankful that they would let me come to the office on the weekend and also surprised that not many people did, except the director.
My family’s emphasis on education, hard work and risk-taking was a great platform where to stand. Then I came here, to the Silicon Valley, as an outsider and now I feel part of the fabric of it. The platform my family built helped me stand tall and face challenges, accept failure and to always strive to be better. I believe we have a big responsibility to open up doors and to build up our presence in business, technology and innovation.
As Giovanni said in his article, we “expect others — Latinos and non-Latinos alike — to begin investing. For one of the most remarkable things about Silicon Valley is that it is fast emerging as one of the world’s new melting pots.”