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From the Blog
This post appeared on TechCrunch on July 4th, 2014
In May, I received an invitation to participate in the “Startup Global Design Workshop” hosted by the White House Business Council and Business Forward. The organizations are working on bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and Washington.
Currently, small-to-medium-sized enterprises are responsible for 98 percent of U.S. exports. As part of the President’s National Export Initiative, this event was an effort to determine how American startups can be made aware-of and interested in exporting more and sooner.
A small number of forward-thinking venture capital firms like DFJ and 500 Startups have looked outside Silicon Valley for some time. More recently, even Y Combinator has realized it needs to get out of its Silicon Valley comfort zone and take advantage of worldwide talent and growing markets.
Looking at the stats, it is only surprising that most Silicon Valley VC firms are still only willing to make investments within an hour’s drive of their Sand Hill office:
• 95% of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S.
• 1 billion consumers worldwide will enter the middle class in the next 15 years – 80% of this growth will be outside of the U.S.
• Though only 1 percent of U.S. companies export, 2012 was a record year with $2.2 trillion
Decades and generations of specialization have concentrated the financial industry in New York City, the entertainment industry in Hollywood, and of course the center of the startup universe in Silicon Valley. That last one was no accident.
Despite all of the video conferencing tech, travel will always be a crucial part of business. You don’t have to be a sales machine to make frequent travel a normal part of your role – as even startups are getting increasingly global. Everyone knows that nothing is more important than taking care of their health but travel, too often, provides a convenient excuse.
Between offices in Silicon Valley and Ukraine, exploring startup ecosystems on four continents, and frequent speaking engagements; in the last couple of years I’ve found myself racking up some serious frequent flyer miles. Worst yet, I’ve been switching 8-14 hour time zones twice or more each month. I’m not getting any younger and the travel will not let up any time soon. So I’m becoming increasing more focused on staying healthy through it all.
More recently, I’ve been sharing my acquired and tested “travel health hacks”. They are collected for your pleasure below – I hope you find them useful in dropping your excuses.
On any given day of the week Silicon Valley hosts numerous entrepreneur events. Pitch competitions to inactive VCs for non-existent investments. Talks with Internet-famous founders (or more inactive VCs). Demo days. Demo days from international startup delegations. Learning sessions on a myriad of topics from service providers looking to fill up their client pipeline. Recruitathons under the guise of technical meet-ups. And just about any and every other theme and variation on the startup ecosystem. Without fail, the crowd is always comprised of 20-80% wantrepreneurs.