What — if anything — is “Hippie” about Silicon Valley? Last week, I wrote about “The Hippie Values which Made Yahoo the Coolest Company in the World.”
As background, I used to consider myself a bit of a “hippie” myself. I was born in 1963, so I was too young to take part in the original Hippie movement in the U.S. in the 1960s. (My parents would not have allowed it! ; – )
But as a student of political science, at the University of Iowa, I began to embrace stronger anti-establishment feelings, coupled with political activism. Then, I spent a junior year abroad in Vienna, from 1984 to 1985, where I lived with a lot of European students who were much more left-wing than I was. In addition, the Green / environmental movement was extremely strong in Austria by that time.
Two years later, I had the opportunity to study in Tübingen, Germany. Even though we were in the mid-1980s, the university culture there was extremely “Hippie”. I decided to let my hair grow out — down to my shoulders — and I even backpacked for 6 weeks in India, which was an amazing experience. (Below is a photo of me in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India, in 1987).
In 1991 I returned to the U.S., got more serious about my business career, and eventually earned my MBA at Stanford. But the “Hippie Values” never left me, and I felt very much at home at Yahoo in the early days.
In this short video, Marina Bay of Hong Kong’s BeFast.TV asked me what I meant by “Hippie” ,and how this is part of the Silicon Valley spirit.