Biggest Secret Of Silicon Valley: "Mafia" Network

Biggest Secret Of Silicon Valley: "Mafia" Network

Many Silicon Valley experts are convinced that Silicon Valley’s biggest success factor does not lie in the venture capital funding, the favorable government policies, or the access to the research and graduates from the top universities, but its “Mafia” Network. This Mafia network is comprised of hundreds of former co-founders, managers, or executives of giants such Google, Facebook, Paypal or other Silicon Valley darlings. They go on to found new companies and ventures, to cooperate and to help each other out formally or informally. This network has resulted in the creation of hundreds of crony companies, dozens of billionaires and thousands of millionaires.


The most influential member of this network is PayPal Mafia. These "Ex-Paypalers" have gone on to found several companies with the market value of over $ 1 billion such as Youtube, Linkedin, Tesla Motors, Palantir Technologies, SpaceX, Yelp and Yammer. Rather than to engage in the fierce competition after their stints at Paypal, they regularly invest in each other’s companies, provide each other support, and publicly praise each other in the media.


The "Ex-Paypalers" were humorously dubbed "PayPal Mafia” by Forbes magazine and appeared in the magazine in 2007, dressed in costumes.


Jeremy Stoppelman, ex-Paypal and founder of Yelp, the website that rates restaurants and hotels, recalled about his former colleagues: "At Yelp, every time we need to fund raise, Peter Thiel was the first I called for advice. When it came to products or growth strategies, I would call Max daily. To see the big picture, I often sought help from Keith.“Ex- Facebookers" have also founded a string of successful startups, such as Asana, Quora, Cloudera, Path ...The startups of the network "Facebook Mafia" and their tangled relationships with human and investment capital.

The Google Mafia, unlike the Paypal Mafia or Facebook Mafia, not includes famous startups founders such as Foursquare, Instagram, but also include CEOs of tech giants such as Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo; Dick Costolo, former CEO of Twitter; Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL.

Startups in Facebook Mafia Network and their relationship


The early pioneers of this informal network could be credited to Steve Jobs and Boy Noyce. At the start of Steve Jobs’ career, he approached Bob Noyce, Intel's CEO at the time. It is hard to imagine how the highly respected Intel CEO could share his value experiences over a cup of coffee with a long haired, hippie looking Steve Job. It was certainly not because Noyce knew that Jobs would later to become one of the world’s most admired CEOs, but it was in the spirit of sharing. Jobs cold called Noyce and with his characteristic passion managed to persuade Noyce to think: “Why not? Why not share to create a stronger Silicon Valley. It is this spirit that lay the foundation for the Mafia Networks in Silicon Valley today.

The tech companies do not only consider the Mafia Network as a source of pride, but also their significant competitive advantage. The network allows them to quickly access new technologies, evaluate new ideas and to attract talents. Leading leading technology companies not only spends considerable effort to maintain and keep its "Mafia network” strong, but they dedicate themselves to actively recruit new talents through various channels, such as the Startup Competition (Entrepreneurship contest), Marathon Programming contest (Hackathon), or Startup-in-Startup Program (Entrepreneurs -in- Residence program).

Stacy Brown – Philpot became an Entrepreneur - In- Residence (EIR) at Google Ventures evaluated new ideas and to develop a business plan to start her own Startup. While doing so, she accumulated plenty of valuable experience by managing nearly 40 Google products, including Search, Chrome and Google+.

Many venture capital funds such as Andreessen – Horowitz, Accel Partners ... all have their EIR Program. Normally, the fund's EIR are entrepreneurs who have recently sold their companies and are looking for ideas for a new startup.
Galaxy Ventures, one of the most active VC funds in Thailand, has also been running their EIR program for several years. "Majority of successful founders in Thailand have previous startup and work experience. These founders tend to be late 20s to early 30s." says Adrian Stewart, Partner at Galaxy Ventures.

"In Thailand, Dtac Accelerate is emerging as a startup/founder producing machine with more than half of its 21 graduated startups have gotten funding and majority are still existing. And then we have the 500startup portfolio, along with Moo's personal support, and with Hubba providing the community, they're probably the startup mafias of Thailand, which is all good," Chad Tangsriwong, CyberAgent Ventures, shares.

"Among the most successful startups globally, you can never see a 'one boss and thousands of line workers' concept. To compete successfully in tech, one brain is never enough. Rather, you must have hundreds, thousands of exceptional brains cooperating, forming alliances, whether they are in your company or outside. WIth such world-class talent, you cannot make false promises, but must really create a opportunity for ownership, freedom in decision making, development of skills and personal branding for them. You must also be able help them build personal wealth, in a clear, transparent way, before they create their own startups again. If you do not have a strong alliance, you will lose in solitude. With many allies, not only you will 'work hard' more successfully, but will also 'play hard' better." Dr. Truman Pham, Founder, Topica Edtech Group.

Many young people urge to startup right away, and whether it is a success or failure is a valuable experience. Who has started several times knows that what he lacks and needs how much time to practice. For who expects to spend five years on accumulating finance and experience before startup, the program of 22CEO is designed for them.

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Topica Edtech Group is a leading online education provider in South East Asia, with 1,000 full-time staff and 1,800 instructors in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Topica Uni cooperates with 11 universities including top-tier institutions in the Philippines and Vietnam to operate high-quality online degree programs. Topica Native provides online English speech tutoring courses in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, and was the first in the world to launch an English speech tutoring app on an Augmented Reality platform. Topica Edumall is a leading distribution platform for Topica's short and long courses and third-party products. Topica also manages the Thailand and Vietnam chapters of the Silicon-Valley accelerator Founder Institute, whose grads have raised million-dollars funding rounds.