Spring Break in Silicon Valley: Day 1

The first day of SB in SV company tours was nothing short of incredible. Our crew kicked things off with a stop at LinkedIn, where we had an informative tour and Q & A session with Syracuse alum and Senior Manager of Corporate Communications (Consumer PR) Krista Canfield.

I was especially excited to hear about Krista’s journey from graduating from Syracuse to her current job in PR. She transitioned from broadcast journalism to a PR role, after finding a job through (funnily enough) LinkedIn. She emphasized the idea that many startups allow employees to craft their career paths and take risks as they search for ways to uniquely contribute to the company. LinkedIn has “InDays,” during which employees have an opportunity to work on passion projects outside of their daily tasks. 

Krista also offered networking tips, and her advice on how to most effectively leverage LinkedIn in our job and internship searches. One of the most important: avoid sending the generic LinkedIn invite to potential connections; always personalize it based on a conversation or common interest, and show that you’ve researched the person thoroughly.

After LinkedIn, we stopped for lunch and headed to downtown Palo Alto to meet with Peter Hébert, SU alum and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Lux Capital. He took the group on a walking tour of the area, explaining the basics of venture capital funding and pointing out major VCs in the area. It was incredible how many VCs are located within a few blocks’ radius of each another, and how strategic and competitive funding startups can be. 

Our last major stop of the day was Twitter. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to visit and gain an insight into what’s coming down the pipeline for the company, as well as learn a bit about how it’s grown so rapidly over the years.  

We were hosted by Jessica Verrilli (aka @jess), who works in Strategy and Corporate Development, and was one of Twitter’s first employees. She explained how Twitter is based upon an open exchange of information, and many of its key features (tagging with the @ symbol, for example) were user-generated. Because it’s an open service, there are an infinite number of uses waiting to be discovered.

Jess also discussed the plethora of opportunities available at Twitter for individuals with a variety of specializations, whether they’re skilled at coding, marketing, development or something in between. The company has a number of extremely specialized teams, such as one devoted to handling relationships with politicians and other major players in the political realm. 

Although we only had about an hour at Twitter, I walked away with a better understanding of the company’s outlook and focus on integrity to the platform. It was surreal to be in the office and be able to talk to one of its key decision makers. 

After dinner at Fang and a surprise round of bowling, we headed back to the hotel for our debriefing and preparation for Tuesday. We have a full agenda, but it promises to be just as rewarding as Day 1.  

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