17 things people in Silicon Valley forget about the outside world

Silicon valley hboHBOThe cast of HBO show ‘Silicon Valley’

Living in Silicon Valley could open you up to a whole new world, where everyone seems to be chasing the next big idea.

But being in such a tight-knit community packed with like-minded people could have its downsides, too — like forgetting what the rest of the world looks, thinks, and acts like.

This Quora post shares some of the things people in Silicon Valley may be shocked to learn about the outside world. We picked the 17 best answers.

It's not just young men.

Getty Images Europe

'Most of the world is not 16-29 year old males. There's a whole range of perspectives that go underrepresented in Silicon Valley. There are a lot of women out there. Older folks. Also, it might be hard to imagine, but there are a lot of kids not growing up on video games.' -- Susan Wu

You don't have to try and change the world to be successful.

Owen Thomas, Business Insider

'Most people do not want to 'disrupt' anything, they want to be the best at mastering the existing game.' -- Gil Silberman

Dropping out of college is not a path to massive success.


No one thinks about 'exiting' their jobs.

Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

'Most people don't have an 'exit strategy' when they get a job, they just want a job to provide for themselves and their family.' -- Sean Dillon

Microsoft is still very popular.

'Microsoft is still glamorous.' — Amir Memon

Not everybody owns a Mac.

'Owning a Mac usually means one of three things in the real world: you are a young person about to enter college and asked for it, you are well off financially, or you are the parent of the people in the previous two categories.' -- Jeff Kibuule

Cash flow matters more than any other bogus metric.

Most of the 5 million yuan consisted of damp, mouldy banknotes.

'Positive Cashflow is often the one key metric, not weekly percentage user growth starting from a base of three users.' -- Terrence Yang

There's a wealth of developer talent in other parts of the world, too.

Apple teen developers at WWDC

'There are brilliant development teams outside of SV and Redmond. In fact, they tend to make better decisions. It's either because they have fewer fascinating distractions (the Bay Area is full of fascinating distractions!), or it's because their incentives and expectations are different.' -- Rob Myers

A lot of big cities have better public transportation. (Especially outside the US.)

Business Insider

'There are a lot of places where public transportation is the most efficient form of transportation.' -- Sebastian Stein

'Growth hackers' are usually called VPs of marketing.


'Being a 'hacker' is not a good thing.' -- Jackson Mohsenin

Unicorns have nothing to do with business.

courtesy of NYC Taxi Drivers 2014 Beefcake Calendar

'Unicorns are just mythical animals in children's fairy tales...essentially a white horse with one horn made out of twisted keratin protruding from forehead.' -- Anonymous

You won't be making a six-figure salary right out of college.


'Not everyone makes $125,000 + bonus right out of college.' — Anonymous

Most people don't know what a startup accelerator is.

Brian Ach/Getty
Y Combinator president Sam Altman

'If you say 'Y Combinator' to anyone in the real world, they would think you are talking about something odd from a sci-fi show.' -- Amanda Fristrom

Most people still stay at hotels.

'Some people have never heard of Airbnb.' -- Vi Tran

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