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Editor’s Note: In the new podcast Masters of Scale, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner Reid Hoffman explores his philosophy on how to scale a business — and at Entrepreneur.com, entrepreneurs are responding with their own ideas and experiences on our hub. This week, we’re discussing Hoffman’s theory: Silicon Valley has an inimitable blend of talent. No other region can match its collective capacity or wisdom for scaling, except maybe China.
Silicon Valley’s success isn’t just about big bets. It’s about bets made in a community of big talents.
Startup ecosystems flourish thanks to a critical mass of successful founders who pay it forward with the support of a network of incredibly smart and ambitious people, says Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock partner.
Of course, these communities exist outside the US and one in particular is poised to give Silicon Valley a run for its money. In the ninth episode of Masters of Scale, a podcast series examining counterintuitive theories to growing a company, Hoffman chats with Linda Rottenberg, the CEO of Endeavor, a nonprofit which helps grow Silicon Valley-like communities across the globe, and others about what U.S. companies will need to consider to stay competitive with its counterparts across the Pacific.
Staffs in China work more.
If you think 50-hour weeks are tough, remember that in China that’s sometimes a luxury. Instead of working 9-to-5, many work a 9-6-6, a grueling 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule six days a week. “It’s very easy for executives to call a meeting on a Sunday and everyone just shows up and there’s almost no complaining,” says Andy Ng, the chief scientist at China’s search engine Baidu.
They move quickly.
With more staff working, more projects can move forward fast. Ng says he basically needs two different schedules — one for staff in China and another for those in the U.S. due to how quickly teams in Asia make decisions. For instance, Ng says he once posed a question to his Chinese HR lead at dinner. She immediately texted her direct reports and had answers back a half hour later. This sort of quick thinking helps his Chinese team make big decisions in weeks, Ng says. Similar moves in the U.S. could take months.
The China tech world is very competitive. “I want to say pretty much every Chinese internet company is a wartime company,” says Ng. “There are pretty much no peacetime companies.”
This is partly because China is still a developing country, “and so people are hungry and people work really hard and people are very ambitious,” he says.
This sort of ambition, coupled with a top-notch talent pool, will help China’s startup scene explode, says Hoffman. These companies “form a critical mass that can scale the next generation of promising startups at blistering speeds, which will expand the pool of talent for the next generation of startups.”
For more in-depth insight on how those around the globe are angling to take Silicon Valley’s crown, listen to this week’s podcast.