Silicon Valley Etiquette 硅谷礼仪

Rule #1: Be On Time 准时.



Oh, by the way, being “on time” means being 3–4 minutes in advance. 准时的意思其实是提前3-4分钟.

Rule #2: Same Day Email 邮件当天回复


Rule #3: The Double Opt-In Intro 双向选择的介绍


Rule #4: The 3-Bullet Email 邮件简要清晰

A 3-bullet email should look like this:

Rule #5: Good Karma 乐于助人

Good Karma, to me, is the essence of Silicon Valley’s culture. It means that if you do something good, something good will happen to you. It’s the foundation of the Pay-It-Forward attitude. It translates into this question that everyone you see for the first time will ask: “How Can I Help You?”.

Be full of Good Karma. Full of Gratitude. Thank people. Someone made an introduction that helped you move forward? Thank them. Send them an email to follow-up and keep them informed on what happened. It didn’t really help? Come on! Thank them anyways! Somebody helped you ? Help them as well, or at least, try. Give back to people. As much as you can. The magic is awesome.

Rule #6: The 15-mn Call or the 30 | 60 mn-Meeting

There are 3 types of meetings:

In this video, Vinod Khosla, founder of Sun Microsystems and Khosla Ventures, recalls that his agenda is organized in 15 mn slots… This may be extreme, but productive people are extremely organized. 15, 30, 60. Easy.

Rule #7: Accent Is OK

Accent is OK. Not speaking English is not OK.


“What you do is awesome!”.
Translation: “you are OK”.

“Your product is OK”.
Translation: “It sucks, I won’t buy it for sure”.

“Thanks, we had a great meeting”.
Translation: “Thanks for visiting”.

Rule #8: Data Or Die

不要跟SV人说这些fancy words, 他们不看的。相反他们看的是数据,数据才能说明你的产品是不是world-class, 是不是下一个unicorn.

It is fair to assume that “everything is awesome” in the Valley. Your product is “the best in the world”. Your technology is “unique”. Your team is “world-class”. Your revenue is “growing super fast” and your market is “f*ing huge”. Yes, you “will change the world”. In short, you are “killing it”. But I would recommend deleting these words from a) your vocabulary, b) your deck, c) your pitch.

People are data-driven. There is nothing better, clearer, more objective and comparable than data. VCs, mentors, talents, customers will immediately see through your data that you are REALLY unique and best-in-show.

Different businesses and maturity stages have different data types: TAM | SAM | SOM, MoM | YoY growth, MRR | ARR, ACV, Rev churn | Cust churn, Cohort Analysis, LTV, CAC, DAU | WAU | MAU, GMV, Retention Rate, Burn Rate, and so on. Let your data speak for you. Forget superlatives. Do not look like this:

Rule #9: Storytelling


This is one of the hardest things. It is largely linked to the type of education received, I guess. It is a priceless skill. Telling a story is key in the Valley (and everywhere else by the way). It’s the most effective way to engage with people and raise awareness.

It is the best way to sell.

That’s the whole point. You have to be in a sales-mode. All. The. Time. Night and day. You want to hire a talent? You must sell your vision. You are talking to customer? You must sell your product, obviously. You are pitching a VC? You are literally selling a portion of your company. You are meeting with a journalist? She needs to sell you to her readers.

In other words, every pitch must be a story. Now, how do you do this? A good story connects your point to something bigger. Could be a mission. Could be an emotion. Could be a journey. But whatever it may be, it must engage the other person. A story is a well-designed script. It is a missile. With a precise target.

Telling a story is tough. It’s an art. It’s a process. It requires a lot of work. But if you want to come to the Valley, be prepared to tell good, engaging stories. Everyone does. Remember you are not far from Hollywood. In fact, you are in “Techlywood”.