A Larger World, by Joey Yu

It is always weird to connect CMC with Silicon Valley. We are good at econ; we have strong psychology department; our government professors are top level scholars. Every day, people talk about Goldman Sachs, argue about democrats and republicans. Science? That is nothing but a GE class. For a while, I thought I was going to end up as a consultant, or maybe an accountant. Who knows? Sounds equally good to me. As a result, when I first heard about the Silicon Valley program, I hesitated a lot. It sounded like a good program but did not seem to work for me. I was still not really confident about my decision when I turned in my application. However, things happened without any reason. I got in the program and received an offer from a startup called Orbital Insight.

I arrived in Northern California in the middle of January. Different from Claremont, where the weather had started to get warmer, Mountain View, the city I lived, was still freezing. On the first day of work, I arrived at the office at 10 o’clock. Surprisingly, half of the office was empty and only three people were there. At first, I thought maybe something was going on that day. People may have meetings or other businesses. However, it was not. It was part of the company culture: you may start working whenever you want to and leave whenever you finish. It really took me a while to get used to this style. At first, I always tried to wear a business casual shirt. However, after seeing my boss dressing in t-shirts and jeans to meet his clients, I decided to do so as well. Gradually, I figured out that this culture does not only belong to my company, but belongs to the whole Silicon Valley. People here live a pretty casual life. Sometimes life is so casual that you almost forget you have a formal job!

However, it would be extremely wrong if you take this casualness as laziness. People here are the most efficient people I have ever met! Since we are a startup, we are still developing our businesses; whatever we do is a new experiment. Every day, we have tons of small meetings and brainstorms. Sometimes my supervisor gives me a new project and I ask him how to do it.

“I don’t know. Try to figure it out by yourself!”

I have worked in Silicon Valley for more than a month. I have experienced and learned much from this Program. During the past month, I have met a lot of smart and cool guys. Many of my colleagues came from NASA and Google. Some of them were originally professors from schools such as Princeton and CMU. Every day I spend working with them is a great learning process for me. More importantly, the Program opens up a new world for me. Looking back, I find out there is a Chinese idiom that could perfectly describe my past life: “frog under the well”. Besides from the sky above, there is a much larger world waiting me to explore.

Joey Yu '17
Claremont McKenna College Intern, Orbital Insight