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Young tech entrepreneurs told: Think big, don’t worship Silicon Valley

/ 09:04 PM August 21, 2015
John Fitzpatrick of Amazon Web Services says local startups should think bigger and strive for regional expansion. YUJI GONZALES/INQUIRER.net

John Fitzpatrick of Amazon Web Services says local startups should think bigger and strive for regional expansion. YUJI GONZALES/INQUIRER.net

BORACAY, Philippines—The emerging startup ecosystem in the country will realize its full potential only if young technology entrepreneurs will stop overly idolizing hi-tech corporations and start executing their own unique ideas.

This was what industry leaders told participants of the 3rd Geeks on a Beach on the third day of the startup conference here on Friday.


Dave McClure, founding partner of 500 Startups, said Philippine startups should see themselves as the next generation of successful innovators instead of “worshipping” the United States’ Silicon Valley.

“Don’t worship Silicon Valley. Don’t put Silicon Valley in a pedestal and make it appear like they are different people,” McClure said. “The point is all people from Silicon Valley are people who came from other places. A lot of them came from other parts of the world.”


Noting that the Philippines is “one of the top emerging markets” in the world today, McClure said young Filipino tech entrepreneurs should not look at people from Silicon Valley as “gods and goddesses.”

“That’s the attitude you should have. You guys are in one of the top emerging markets in the world. There’s a hundred million people here, companies are getting started. You should not put Silicon Valley on a pedestal,” McClure said.

“Don’t rain on your own parade. They are you five to 10 years from now,” he added.

But McClure clarified that budding tech entrepreneurs may pick up lessons from big corporations and industry leaders from Silicon Valley and use them as inspiration to succeed as well.

“You can learn from those people. They are very smart people. I’m not saying don’t learn from and don’t try to understand what they do. But don’t put them so high up the pedestal that you think you can’t do that,” McClure said.

“Put yourself into their shoes. See yourself as the next generation. And even assume that you are going to teach them something in the future,” he added.

Echoing McClure, 500 Startups managing partner Khailee Ng urged local startup to utilize the strengths of the local market as a developing startup environment.


“We are no longer talking about the potential of the Philippines anymore. Today, we are here on Geeks on a Beach, and we are talking about the reality of the Philippine ecosystem,” Ng said.

‘Think big, execute ideas’

While saying that some Philippine startups have been making headlines in publications abroad, John Fitzpatrick of Amazon Web Services noted that they should strive for something bigger than publicity and international exposure.

“Think big. Regional expansion is key for Southeast Asia,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s the execution that counts. Having ideas means nothing if you don’t go out and do something about them.”

Fitzpatrick also underscored the importance of having the right attitude in facing roadblocks.

“You have to like winning. Attitude determines outcome,” he said. “You got to be resilient because that’s what separate winners from the rest.” RC


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TAGS: Boracay, Business, Entrepreneurship, Geeks on a Beach, Philippines, Silicon Valley, startup, technology
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