Dean Saunders, Founder and CEO of top certified Moodle Partner from Australia, eCreators, went on a mission of technology and wisdom transfer to the Valley. He shared some of the insights made along the way in a blog post.
1. Big challenges replicate at every scale
In the Moodle and Open LMS space, eCreators is one of the big ones. While the business side of Moodle remains under a veil, we do know the Australian is among the top 3 Moodle partners worldwide. The Valley, however, is a humbling place.
Nevertheless, Sanders realizes people face very similar challenges at every scale. Namely, how to actually solve customer problems and making sure biases don’t get in the way. Or as he quotes Intuit CEO, Sasan Goodarzi:
“Organizations should stop falling in love with their products.”
2. But our world is never the same
Sillicon Valley epitomizes the idea of “changing the world.” Or in more practical terms, making the development of new, innovative products a standard and systemic practice.
A visit to Uber gives him the perfect illustration. Today, millions around the world are fully accustomed to ridesharing. And, as Sanders reveals, the fact that UberEats is the company’s most profitable division, still falls in line with the principle. As we get comfortable with a new convenience, fierce competition and commoditization strikes.
3. There are limits (and dark sides) to relentless competition
Saunders notes the poverty currently encircling the valley:
I relate it very much to the Hollywood scene, where aspiring actors flock in with a twinkle in their eye and dreams in their heart, only to be quickly discarded by the machine. Across Santa Clara, Palo Alto, all over the region really, you’ll find seas of motorhomes and RV’s, where mothers and fathers live together, desperate for work – their Valley dreams in tatters. Others are groups of 3 or 4 developers living together, plucking tasks off Airtasker or Freelancer, in the hope that ‘next call will be the big one. It’s not unusual for talented full stack devs to earn over USD 350K per annum, plus other incentives (that does represent the 1% though).
Cutthroat competition is a reality in the technology business. Many would argue a necessity to continue the pace of innovation that has allowed the Valley to transform our world. But it’s hard not to see the wasted energy, talent and resources that comes from the marginal improvements over tech products, the vast majority of them only properly taken advantage of by a handful of people.
How can people at the core of the industry address the issues of equality, as well as other dangers and crisis plaguing tech? Saunders experience with eCreators could be worth paying attention. He calls it “Tethered Autonomy.”
As we expect for Saunders’ likely expansion of the idea, we do know that it revolves around allowing people significant amounts of freedom to pursue their own paths, but in a way that fosters strong partnerships and in which individual and team efforts circle back to the organization. And if the organization has strong and clear community-oriented principles, society as a whole benefits directly.
Despite the obvious problems, challenges and the threats faced or spread by technology, Saunders recognizes that visiting Silicon Valley is a unique and life-changing experience, worthwhile for anyone with a vision and impetus to make the world a better place.
I can’t wait to get back. energy and excitement in the valley are intoxicating. and the talent: just incredible.
eCreators is a sponsor of LMSPulse.