One of the perverse things about a bubble in Silicon Valley is, it tends to fragment talent across too many companies, so you get sort of a suboptimal number of successful companies. If everybody starts their own companies you don’t wind up with a density of talent at one place, which is what really is required to build an amazing company, whether it’s PayPal or Apple back in the day, or Yammer or Square today.
This is exactly how I felt at Stanford with student groups, and now that I’ve graduated the valley is the same exact thing.
It’s not the first element of her argument that’s arresting; any idiot knows that intelligence is overrated in all sorts of ways. But the insight that when we are real and human with each other we produce ‘intelligence’ —as an outcome, not as an attribute— is profound, true, and an explanation I’d never encountered for why I prefer the company of the real and dull to erudite performers distracted by their own brilliance. It is not merely a question of taste: the former converse collaboratively, build meanings with you, surprise you; the latter are not so open to discovery because the dialectic process is for them both a pleasure and a competition, and their intelligence is too precious to them to be risked on banal inquiries, dumb guesses, the fatal utterance “I don’t know.”
1). Build inspiring products.
2). Tell a great story.
3). Find your storytellers.