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Why the Silicon Valley approach doesn’t work for me

When you think of the typical tech entrepreneur, I like to think I don’t fit the blueprint. Throughout my life and career, I have been unconventional, which is why I thoroughly reject the typical Silicon Valley approach to tech.
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The Silicon Valley approach just does not fit with who I am or the way I run my company, the social discovery app, WHERE. In Silicon Valley, the culture can be negative, cold and ruthless – the exact opposite of what WHERE is about and what we’re trying to build.

Coming from an events background might not seem like a natural transition to running a tech business. However, it allows me to bring a number of unique qualities to the table.

I didn’t create WHERE because I was brainstorming ideas for an app and wanted to enter the tech world. Instead, I saw a gap in the market and realised the app was something I would use myself.

What I loved about working in the events industry was bringing people together. Now, I am using the insights that I learned through growing my events company and applying it to WHERE.

Having that experience of running a more “conventional” business is part of what has gotten WHERE to where it is today. A lot of people have the opposite experience; they start off with a tech idea and know-how and then go on to add the human elements & learn the business acumen.

I turned this traditional approach on its head and started with my own real life human problems, which I wanted to solve and then learned about the tech as the vision for WHERE was created.

The Silicon Valley approach to social media so frequently ends up achieving the complete opposite of its intended purpose (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram – I’m looking at you!). We tend to find ourselves so occupied with our online world that we forget to stop and take a look at the real world.

WHERE was created to flip the script and allows people to foster “in real life” interactions. It is a platform that allows those online interactions to materialise into moments that can be lived, that can create real connections.

We want to help people make connections that are memorable and tangible. It seems like a bit of an oxymoron; using social media to get off social media, but it works…WHERE lets social media be social again.

It is important to have social and digital interactions that allow us to be fully balanced and fulfilled as a person. There are so many wonderful opportunities that would simply not have happened without the social globalisation that social media gives, however it’s equally important to have those real-life interactions too.

There is something unique about those moments, something special. This app validates both of those incredibly important experiences in a way which creates even more meaningful experiences

So no, I am not your typical tech entrepreneur. I am not bought into the Silicon Valley approach. That doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for WHERE.

That vision of bringing people together and creating moments is the most important thing to me and whilst the technology we use to make that happen may change over time, my commitment to creating a more social world will always stay the same.

Charly Harrison is the CEO of WHERE

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