Gateway: Duke in Silicon Valley

**Artifact**: The artifact I chose was a document my team created for our final project, which was to design a game. The document shows our entire design formation process that we went through when creating our game.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EtEUpVLJj2bw5PAi03VNzbE8KrN_-BR6v5fSe8hVggE/edit

Here is also I blog post I wrote about some of our company visits:

Passion Leads to Purpose

Duke in Silicon Valley was one of the most life-changing and impactful experiences that I have had at Duke. The opportunity to study in Silicon Valley and visit the most cutting-edge companies and hear words of wisdom from some of the most successful leaders in the world was invaluable. As a History and Public Policy major, I had no clear sense of what industry  I wanted to go into, all I knew was that I 

wanted to work in an industry where the work I would be doing would be high impact and like most Duke students contributing to positively changing the world. Now, I know that the Tech Industry is exactly where I want to end up working. It is a culture that is futuristic, solving the world’s biggest problems, fast-paced, constantly adapting, directly impacting the word and disrupting all types of industries. It is a place that excites me and inspires me. After I graduate, I hope to end up at a dynamic startup with a mission and product that makes me look forward to going to work every day. 

I decided to apply for this program because I wanted to learn how to build a company and the process that entrepreneurs go through from ideation to full developing a venture. Originally from San Diego, I had never spent much time in northern California, so I wanted to gain exposure to the Tech industry and explore Silicon Valley. I also was looking forward to hearing from the most successful leaders, hear their stories, their advice, and see how they got to where they are today. 

I learned a great deal from this experience. My first memorable takeaway from this experience was that everyone in the valley was driven by a passion for what they were doing. Whether it was disrupting the food industry, the hospitality industry, or changing venture capital investment models every person we heard from was radiating when they were speaking about their work. Another lesson was to not act out of fear or fear failure because when you are in a climate that involves high risk, failure is inevitable. What you must do is learn how to fail fast and learn from and adapt your strategies to be successful next time. In class, we did many exercises to learn about our strengths and weaknesses. Having a strong self-awareness and sense of self is essential to know what to look for in potential co-founders, teammates, co-workers, and even companies. The importance of networking and building a network was one of the most valuable skills that we learned during our time in Silicon Valley. We had the opportunity to reach out and connect with everyone that we spoke to during company visits. I made sure to reach out to anyone that I thought was interesting, or that I had connected with and have maintained those relationships. I can now say that I have built a pretty strong network in the Valley and those connections I made will stick with me as long as I continue to stay in touch.