Thursday, November 3, 2016

Silicon Valley, 2.0.

After spending about 2.5 years in the Seattle area, I'm back in Silicon Valley, in Northern California. Seattle region is a good place to be; some people even have called it the next Silicon Valley. The lush greeneries everywhere throughout the year have even provided a tag line for Washington State: The Evergreen State.

Why this turnaround?

When you are away from home — home is Silicon Valley for the purpose of this post — you are necessarily away from many of your family and friends and, thus, you find yourself in relative solitude many times. Solitude, and the necessary reflection it sometimes brings about, tends to have a philosophical nature to it. (Aside: Speaking of philosophical, check out this Guru Nanak song that I discovered during my Seattle stay, सुमिरण कर ले मेरे मना).

What, you may ask, is the purpose of life?

Modern psychologists model it in the form of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. And, when you grow up in an orthodox Indian family environment, as I did, you get exposed to Vedanta philosophy. All of these are good and provide you with the necessary inner compass for life's conduct.

However, at some point, when life has been good to you, a different question comes to the fore. How can one make a difference in other people's lives, as a practical matter? (Not that you would not think of this any earlier).

Unless you are a Dr. Martin Luther King, a Mahatma Gandhi or, even, an entrepreneur like Elon Musk, your horizon tends to be somewhat limited: Your family, your work, your relatives, your friends, your colleagues, etc1.

If you want to make a positive difference in other people's lives, you realize that you need to get involved in those people's lives in a suitable manner. That's when it dawned on me: In order to get involved in other people's lives effectively, physical proximity is very helpful! Out of sight, out of mind!!

And, so it is that I decided to return to California, and start again in Silicon Valley, a Silicon Valley 2.0 so to speak, to be closer to our children, our family, our friends, our colleagues.

Time will tell what kind of a difference I'll have made in these others' lives.

1It is simply not enough to visualize a larger horizon, of course; you need to visualize also how the larger goal can be accomplished through a series of smaller steps.

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