The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Techie In Wonderland - siliconindia@stanford.edu

Saturday, January 1, 2000

The words of Professor Mark Horowitz still ring in my ears, quoting the top ten reasons why Stanford is a cool place to be in. Among them were sunny California, swanky University Avenue, Lake Tahoe and, oh yeah, a “thing” called Silicon Valley! The first thing that hits you is that this place lives the culture that it created.

Also, as the professors love to say, new students suddenly feel that they ain’t the smartest kid anymore. Surrounded by Math Olympiad gold medallists, GRE 2400s and national toppers in undergrad, you vaguely recollect Lewis Carroll’s words in Alice in Wonderland: “You need to be running hard, just to stay where you are!” When I first entered Stanford, I was driven through the now-scenic Palm Drive; it was a strange feeling to think that this was the “path” that the people who built the valley had taken.

Among the attitudinal changes, probably the first thing that new students learn is the maturity to get over the initial excitement that a new opportunity presents. Victory and defeat become immaterial — you begin to think beyond both. Whether your actions have resulted in a huge success or a failure, there is no time to stop, because the mill just keeps churning!

Next, you see that truly talented people demonstrate greatness by the humility they show when success comes to them! They acknowledge the quality of the competition and respect the spirit of the game, keeping in mind that everything could have gone the other way, but, luckily, didn’t.

The kind of people whom you might bump into in a EE or CS seminar or in the coffee shop aren’t too bad either. On one Wednesday, Bill Joy talks about his odyssey from BSD to Jini, just days after Ed Zander, the COO of Sun, talks about what it takes to be a technology entrepreneur! It really is one thing to listen to legendary lore and another to actually be there with the major players.

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