Silicon Valley is a very strange place to live and work at. Many things that in other places would be attractions, are here part of normal life and don't create any reactions in the locals. People from all over the world have immigrated here, and everyone is used to it. You might go to a party where you talk to someone, only to find out later that he was a multimillionaire. Then you will wonder how young that person was, or why he was wearing a sweater and crocs at a party. You might have friends working at Starbucks or as a CEO of an international company. Discussions might vary from latte flavours to how many patents does your friend have. Life in Silicon Valley is truly different!
Businessmen or investors are not the only ones traveling to Silicon Valley. Thousands of tourists visit the area every year, and line up at the Facebook sign to take a picture with it or hope to see the famous slides in the Google headquarters. But when you feel like all these things are part of normal life, you might have been living in Silicon Valley for too long.
YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN SILICON VALLEY WHEN...
...ON YOUR WAY TO WORK YOU PASS BY COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE OR APPLE, OR YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY TO ONE OF THEM.
Unfortunately not everyone can walk in to these companies for a visit. You need to know someone who works there to get a campus tour. But you can always drive around and check out the campuses from outside.
...YOU BUY VEGETABLES FROM THE FACEBOOK PARKING LOT.
The Facebook parking lot is always busy, since every tourist wants to get their picture taken with the Facebook sign. Locals instead visit the parking lot on some weekends when Facebook organises it's Farmers Market, and buy fresh vegetables and baked goods.
...THe SELF DRIVING CAR IN THE EVENING COMMUTE IS A NORMAL SIGHT.
Someone visiting might think they are dreaming when they see this but the locals are used to them. You can see all kinds of things in Silicon Valley traffic.
...WHEN YOU GET TO WORK IN THE MORNING, ALL THE CHARGING CABLES AT THE PARKING LOT ARE TAKEN BUT THE REST OF THE PARKING LOT IS EMPTY.
Electric cars are popular in Silicon Valley and many companies or stores offer charging stations to their staff or customers.
...ALONG WItH SOCCER OR ART, YOUR KIDS CAN LEARN SOME CODING AT SUMMER CAMP. THERE WAS EVEN A CAMP ABOUT DOING YOUR OWN START UP.
How many 5 year olds can code?
...CONFERENCES CAN BE DONE EVEN ON BICYCLES.
The conference bike is for seven people and while riding it, you can discuss some business. They do look kind of funny in the traffic.
...WHEN YOU ARE TOO BUSY TO GO TO A NAIL SALON, THE NAIL SALON WILL COME TO YOU.
Many companies here expect you to work a lot and the work environment is done so, that you don't necessarily need to go home at all. They offer free food, drinks, gym with showers, swimming pools, game rooms or other entertainment, hair stylists, car servicing and of course a laundry mat.
...THE WORK DAYS ARE OFTEN VERY LONG BUT LUCKiLY YOU CAN TAKE A NAP DURING YOUR DAY.
Even though many companies offer different opportunities to do your hobbies or organise fun events, they still expect a lot from their employees. Many work long days and only have time to be at home briefly. At least you can have a moment of rest at work when needed.
...EVEN THE ROAD SIGNS REMIND YOU NOT TO UPDATE YOUR FACEBOOK ALL THE TIME.
These signs might be needed in other places in the world too.
...SOME PARKING LOTS LOOK LIKE THIS:
For a few years now Tesla has been the hottest vehicle in Silicon Valley. The Tesla factory is close by where we live.
...NOBODY WEARS REGULAR GLASSES.
"OK glass, take a picture!"
...EVEN THE BICYCLES HAVE CAMERAS.
Don't be surprised if something like this comes across a Silicon Valley hiking trail. This is to capture streetview for Google Maps.
...YOUR WORK PLACE HAS A "BRING YOUR TOY TO WORK" -DAY AND YOUR COLLEAGUE BRINGS HIS HELICOPTER.
This is a true story, even though I don't have pictures to prove it!