I just returned from a trip to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California (my favorite 6-hour drive through the San Marcos Pass and up the 101). I was formally introduced to an Apple manager who told me that he was forbidden to talk about any Apple products. Turns out the only thing he was willing to discuss with me was employee moral and the working conditions at Apple—which was my cue to mention the atrocities that I saw growing in the men’s room, but I did not. While on the Apple campus I visited the famous Apple gift store where I played with the iWatch, picked up a cute V-neck t-shirt for the awesome wife, and an official baseball cap for me. I had to, I’m a devotee—in spite of the stinky bathrooms.
The next day we attended the graduation ceremony of a good friend we met in India. He proudly walked off the stage with a Masters degree in software engineering from San Jose State University. Turns out that more SJSU grads are hired into Silicon Valleys’ big corps., start-ups and incubators then from any other university in the country. It seems that the entire Valley is a confab of smart people who have gathered from around the world to suck up and absorb as much knowledge as possible from the other super smart people who live, teach and work in the area. The whole Valley is like one central brain that represents a melting pot of the worlds’ best minds, who in turn produce the coolest tech products the planet has ever seen.
That said, what I noticed most is that while “knowledge” has become so easy to acquire, whether it’s from a renown university or directly from the palm of your hand, it’s actually “wisdom” that tells you what to do with that knowledge, and it’s wisdom that stands on the shoulders of that knowledge and points the way—otherwise you’re stuck with “textbook” results. And while you may argue that wisdom comes from experience, I would argue that wisdom comes from a deeper place of intuition, inspiration, and that “queasy gut feeling” you get when you just KNOW something is right—or not. I also believe that when knowledge and wisdom are introduced to each other, predictable textbook results are trumped by unexpected surprising results —and not just in Silicon Valley.