Hello CMS! It has fallen to me to write this month’s blog post. I’ve been advised that I can write about absolutely anything, so where should I start? Since I’m the rookie here and it will take some time for me to get around to knowing everybody and to have any real tangible impact, I figured why not talk just a little about my time here in Sarawak and what brings me into the company of all the fine ladies and gents of CMS.
I’ve had the opportunity to work in tech in various countries from developing technologies in the lab and building the organisations to take the tech to market. One of the inevitable stops on my travels was the spiritual home of Tech, Silicon Valley. Living in San Francisco on and off for 6 years, I got to know all sorts of interesting people, visiting and working in labs and promising start-up companies, and trying to figure out what is it that makes the valley so special and how can it be replicated. Many have tried with varying levels of success and failure to copy it, but it just CANNOT be replicated. Ultimately, there are way too many things about that place that makes it special. The only way I can describe it is to imagine a perfect storm that picks up awesome and great things in its path, tosses it all about and mixes everything around. However, instead dumping it all in a mess, it drops everything nicely in place into its own ecosystem.
It is this “rojak” of awesomeness and great things, and a few basic components that are required to provide the seed for a truly dynamic and future facing society. These things cannot really be learnt, bought, or acquired in any conventional sense – they either exist in this place or they do not;
- Being just an awesome and beautiful place to live that makes locals and outsiders want to be there
- Being blessed with natural riches for its people to prosper
- A diverse population that generally by its nature despite any differences, just do not waste time sweating what somebody else believes and getting in their face about it. In other words, just “being cool and getting on with it”
This is what I see Silicon Valley and Sarawak have in common.
Sarawak IS NOT like Silicon Valley and I’m not comparing the two at all, but if you spend enough time in both places, you will see the similarities that make them special. This is something despite living in other world cities for many years, I just cannot see the parallels there. There are many examples I could quote here to prove my point but for the sake of brevity, I’ll give you just one that I hope everybody can relate to.
Generally, if you have never been to the valley and you hear the term “Silicon Valley”, it conjures images of some kind of high tech city Where the Future is Here Now! Nothing could be further from the truth! The first time I went there, I was very disappointed. I said to my friend who took me there, “Seriously, this it?”. What I was looking at was the suburbs, “quietish” neighbourhoods of residential properties. Certainly as you explore more, you willl find the mega campuses of the big tech companies, but every single one of those tech giants started in one of those quiet residential addresses.
The point I’m making is that it is the environment and the people that make special places special and special things happen there. I see that here in Sarawak. I see that here at CMS. It is my belief that Sarawak and CMS are poised to be the up and coming centre in the region for Technology related industries and make this special place everything we all know it can be.