Silicon Valley – A Mindset, Not a Location

…..Don’t be afraid to fail…..

….There are 2 steps to success: 1. write it down 2. go do it….

….100% intention, only then will you have execution…..

….I wanted to love what I do, and so I followed my passion….

 Sounds inspirational? Motivating? Well, safe to say this is what has been ringing in every student’s ear at DSV this week as we meet and speak with visionaries who have transformed challenging ideas into reality.

The week started with a visit to an uncommon company, not one that is usually associated with ‘startups.’ ThirdLove is a startup founded by a Duke Alum, Heidi Zak, and aims to transform the way bras and underwear our bought and perceived. Being a girl myself, the mission of ThirdLove resonated with me – lingerie’s sole purpose is not to make others happy or to make a woman look appealing, it’s to offer comfort. The minute we stepped into the beautiful office, I could sense I was part of a busy and bustling startup – exposed brick walls, clear windows all around you, a kitchen stocked with brew fountains and numerous snacks to a team that screamed innovation, hard work and a love for their brand. I found this visit helpful for we not only heard how the founder spotted a problem, thought of a novel solution and began to execute it, but we got to speak to professionals in her company from different sectors, understanding what kind of roles do each sphere have to offer.

On the following day, we kicked off our morning with a truly inspirational and refreshing talk given by Sanyin Siang, Executive Director of Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center. She had a lot of advice and insights to offer to help us be our own super heroes, and what reverberated inside me most was her rule of “failing.” “Don’t be afraid to fail,” I remember her saying. It’s easier said than done, I thought, and considering us Duke students are known to possess this “effortless perfection” attribute, how does one deal with failure? In a world of innovation, entrepreneurs all around are trying to be the next Snapchat or Facebook, how do they deal with constant failure? Sayin, being a Duke alum herself, clearly stated that no one is effortlessly perfect, simply, no one is perfect. And success doesn’t only mean making a lot of money, getting an A+ or landing that coveted job at Google. It means knowing why you failed, and learning from your mistake, and starting again. If you didn’t learn, then it is a failure. Other than that, everything is a success in life for it allows you to constantly improve and be the best version of yourself. These are important lessons to keep in mind when stepping into the professional, especially entrepreneurial world, and understanding that things go wrong for a reason.


Following this inspiring talk, we drove up to PayPal, attempted to take a creatively funny Boomerang in front of the logo, realized we looked ridiculous, and continued to take more. PayPal blew my mind and continued to constantly surprise me with the services they had to offer and planned to offer. With beautiful and interactive displays that helped showcase their products (a burger restaurant setup, an ice-cream parlor set up and a mini boutique with an interactive mirror in the trial room was only the tip of the iceberg at PayPal). Steve Fusco, a duke alum working at PayPal, gave us a powerful talk on the realities of life post college, with some funny and some eye-opening anecdotes from his personal. PayPal, on the surface is another fin-tech company, but as you go deeper, creativity, innovation and novelty seem to be their core components. They have implanted QR code scanning to pay for your burger order, sharing the bill for online purchases with peers to touch screen mirrors in some of their partner clothing brands. The list is long, and from the looks of it, never ending!

While a lot of moments during this trip have been mind-opening, mouth gaping, and eye catching, our visit to Zume Pizza has made it to my top favorites.


Not only did we get to see ROBOTS make PIZZA (a culmination of the two great things in life) that are healthy for you, half the calories than a Dominos’ pizza and have no chemicals, we got to speak to the CEO who moved every student to realize that even “impossible” spells out “i m possible.” Even though he dropped out of high school at 14, nothing stopped his learning curve. He has had multiple successful startups and successful jobs in every sphere imaginable. Why? He wants to experience new things. He does not want to stop. He gave us one very important advice as future innovators – people will tell you something cannot be done, they are wrong. You are wrong. Think about that problem in a different way, for if there is a problem, there is a solution. And there are no hard or easy problems, a problem is simply a problem and needs a solution.

Overall, this week had showers of inspiration while we DSV students happily got drenched in it. In class, we began design thinking to create a game for our final project. This was highly fruitful because it allowed to use everything we learned in class and finally apply it to a tangible project, in a very similar fashion to how entrepreneurs use design thinking for their startups. The week was a massive success and I cannot wait to soak every bit of the last week!


Adiva Shah is a rising junior at Duke University pursuing a major in Physics, minor in Computer Science and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She was born and brought up in Mumbai, India and wants to work in the business/finance world.


Passion Leads to Purpose

These past two weeks have been filled with excitement as we have learned from some of Silicon Valley’s most influential figures. 

Thursday, we were fortunate enough to meet with Duke Alumni, Greg Badros, Founder of Prepared Mind Innovations Inc., Melissa Dalis a data scientist, Ryan Toussaint a software engineer, Suyash Kumar another software engineer at Uber, and Ryan Callback the CEO of CircleUp. 

While each of their careers different as they are working towards solving different problems and revolutionizing different industries, all three emphasized the importance of following your passion in order to make an impact and foster unique and positive company culture. 


We met with Greg Badros in the morning. He spoke about his impressive career as he networked in the Valley and landed lasting jobs at Google and then Facebook. He spoke to the importance of failure by sharing his philosophy of using failure to learn from by embracing it instead of fearing it. He also shared why he chose to work at the companies he did given his passions and admirable skill sets. He highlighted the importance of maintaining values which directly manifest into the company culture.

People often throw the word values around and Greg showed how values are actually the core of the companies and how they lead to the success of the company. Without strong leadership, imposing these core values and integrating them into every aspect of a company creates a desirable culture and ultimately produce a successful product and work environment. 


At Uber we had the pleasure to meet with recently graduated Duke alumni, who found that Uber was the company that they wanted to work for in order to influence the company with their insights and continue to revolutionize the transportation industry. They gave us a tour through the modern and innovative office space. Their passion and excitement radiated as they presented how they contribute to the Uber team on a day to day basis. It was extremely impressive, despite how young and new they were to industry, how much of an impact they make as individuals in the company. Their excitement for the world of tech and future of innovation was nothing less than inspiring. We even got the opportunity to raid the free snack pantry and freezer. (If you’re considering working for Uber, the food is a plus!)

We ended the day with a meeting with Ryan the CEO and Founder of CircleUp. As we began to ask him standard questions about the process of investing, he quickly changed the direction of the conversation to tell us what he wish he had known when he was our age. He shared his life story and told us how he followed what he defined as a “traditional conformist path” working in consulting and private equity until he realized his passion was rooted elsewhere. He quit his job and decided to found CircleUp, following his passion for helping people, his skills for investing, and pursing his vision to make the world a better place by creating better consumer products. From Halo Ice Cream to non carcinogen sunscreen he invests in small mission driven companies with innovative vision, high growth potential, and disruptive potential. Ryan emphasized how the power of passion, purpose, nonconformity, and vision can make a positive change in the world.


Today was amazing to say the least. As we all are figuring out what career paths we want to take, we left with a sense of inspiration and a desire to be true to ourselves and prioritize our passions.


Ariana is pursuing an interdepartmental major in History and Public Policy and a certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Ariana was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico but grew up in La Jolla, California. She is a member of Business Oriented Women and is the Membership Development Chair for her sorority. Last Summer she worked as a social media marketing strategist for a hotel management company. She is currently working as a campus ambassador for a business news startup called Morning Brew and as a social media and branding manager for a wedding venue company. In her free time she enjoys yoga, meditation, photography and discovering new music. As a Southern Californian, she is excited to explore the northern part of her state and she is excited to learn from and be inspired by the most creative and innovative leaders in the world. 

Learning Success: The Ultimate Non-Recipe

The Duke in Silicon Valley program is always busy. From 8:25am bus departures, three-hour classes, site visits, and guest speakers to dinners, Giants games, and hectic rush-hour Caltrain rides, no day is uneventful. Yesterday, however, was even more eventful than usual. The normal morning class at Plug and Play was supplemented with not one but two VC guest speakers and topped off with two site visits, to Apple HQ in Cupertino and 500 Startups in Mountain View.

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For a Wednesday, yesterday was pretty fantastic. Class went really well – we came up with ways to innovate around demographic changes like higher online college enrollment and later marriages. The speakers who came afterwards were funny and engaging. I had to contain my geeky excitement at meeting Eddy Cue while simultaneously hiding my Samsung Galaxy deeper and deeper in my pocket. And 500 Startups gave us a look at some cool up-and-coming entrepreneurs and some even cooler ideas. But yesterday also offered us something else: the sought-after answer to a question many of us have wondered for years – “what makes a successful company?”

We’ve all asked ourselves this at one point or another. What makes a Zuckerberg? A Gates? A Jobs? What makes the companies that succeed over the ones that fail? What makes the entrepreneurs that thrive over the ones that go bankrupt and give up? Ultimately, what’s the recipe for success?

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Now, success is certainly not in short supply here; everyone we met yesterday was successful in one way or another, whether it be leading VCs to high growth, helping startups scale to an exit, or pioneering innovation at Apple. At the same time, however, we’ve seen a lot of failures – companies that are barely hanging on, or entrepreneurs that needed six tries to get it right. So when these questions were raised yesterday, I anticipated at least some degree of disagreement between speakers. But even I was not prepared for the level of disagreement we saw.

One VC partner told us about the power of social entrepreneurship just an hour before another shot it down as impractical and unsustainable. Eddy Cue talked about a CEO’s influence on culture while a business leader at 500 Startups put more emphasis on ideas. 500 Startups talked about the importance of investing in many companies in the hopes of landing one ‘unicorn’ (worth over $1 billion at exit), while the second VC partner slammed the technique as foolish and akin to hoarding lottery tickets. Eddy talked about the importance of team members gaining specialty in their own exclusive areas, while the VCs talked about the importance of broad knowledge and interdepartmental collaboration. One VC railed against corporate tech and another defended it as a valuable learning experience. 500 Startups advocated for young entrepreneurs while one partner discussed his refusal to invest in younger executives due to inexperience; and 500 Startups had a hands-off approach post-investment whereas that same VC insisted that post-investment mentorship was essential to success.

Even the characteristics of the speakers and companies were different. Eddy Cue has been at Apple for decades, whereas the 500 Startups staff member had been there only a few years. One VC invests an average of $5 million in its startups, while 500 Startups uniformly puts in just $150,000. And while 500 Startups focuses on providing networking tools, that same VC puts more emphasis on regular meetings and acting as a soundboard for ideas.


At this point, our recipe for success wasn’t looking too good; four successful chefs in four different restaurants couldn’t even agree on the core ingredients. But something strange happened. Rather than ending the day with a sense of dissatisfaction, we all felt as if everything from the past two weeks had come together. It was as if we now understood: there is no recipe for success because every successful company, every successful entrepreneur, does it differently. Age, team size, investment size – it all varies from one to another. The best thing we can do, then, is take away some general cooking conventions that contribute to a better end result.

Work in teams effectively. Be a creative problem-solver. Stay convicted but respectful. Value collaboration over secrecy. And lastly, as they all said, get *stuff* done. So now we know – that, combined with a bit of networking, mentorship, randomness, and a hell of a lot of luck, is the ultimate non-recipe for success.


Justin is a rising sophomore from New Jersey double-majoring in Computer Science and Public Policy with a certificate in Markets and Management. He is deeply interested in cybersecurity and technology policy, and in his free time, he loves reading, running, watching movies, and hacking.

Idea Couture Visit

Last Wednesday we visited Idea Couture’s office in San Francisco. Idea Couture is an innovation consulting firm that works with Fortune 100 and 200 companies. Their consultants utilize product design techniques such as rapid prototyping and 2×2 matrices to come up with ideas for how their clients can innovate aspects of their businesses. During our visit, we met with Nick Bradley, an innovation strategist and Duke alum, who explained in depth to us how Idea Couture functions on a day to day basis. After hearing the run down of the company and asking various questions, we completed a product design workshop run by Nick and other members of the Idea Couture.

In our workshop, we were asked to consider the coffee industry and how we could help a large coffee company expand its customer base. We first split up into groups of two people and considered the pros and cons of our various customer experiences with food and beverages. After discussing these factors, we constructed a model for how we can innovate the design of how coffee is served. Our groups came up with a vending machine model that streamlined the process of purchasing and receiving coffee. In this model, we considered how a coffee company could shorten lines and make coffee accessible in places outside of their stores, such as subway stations or offices.

After we received feedback from Mr. Bradley, a panel of Idea Couture employees told us about their experiences and answered our questions. This panel included software engineers, innovation catalysts and people involved with the consulting aspect of the firm. These panelists provided us with a deep understanding of their individual jobs and the focus and values of Idea Couture.

Our group was fascinated with the idea of innovation consulting, as many of us had been interested in management consulting but really appreciated the innovative aspect of Idea Couture’s business. Specifically, we liked how Idea Couture integrated both product design and engineering to help large and well known companies that have remained stagnant for long periods of time. Our visit at Idea Couture helped us expand our scope of the various types of businesses in Silicon Valley, and allowed us to improve our network.


Parker Levi is a rising sophomore at Duke University. He is pursuing a major in Economics, a minor in Japanese, and a certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Parker is originally from New York City, and his interests include sports, politics and music.

Silicon Valley: The Light of the Future

Ever since I set foot in the Bay, I was swept away by the energy and creativity. Even the first sunset had the finesse of a painter, coloring the skies in wide swaths of pink, orange and purple in ways that the New York skies had never shown me. I felt at home.

Our first visit to Tesla blew my mind—my love for the integration of design, cars and energy efficiency all welded together beautifully in that experience, just like the Model S. I was thrown off guard by the kindness and generosity of the work culture, as every employee went out of their way to make a group of loud, disruptive visiting students happy.


The next day, we landed in Carbon 3D, and I was past the point of joy. I have spent the last year pretty much living out of the Innovation Co-Lab, designing prosthetics with Duke eNable, along with toy cars for my Engineering Innovation class, and bobbleheads for my sister. To be standing in the hub of the 3D printing revolution amongst the pioneers of continuous liquid interface projection printing was a distant dream come true. Our next visit brought us to Idea Couture, where we learned about innovation consulting and the power of creative design. Everyone was told to reach out of their comfort zones and embrace the diversity of ideation we all hold within. With the spirit of entrepreneurs, we designed the future growth technology of the coffee industry while growing closer to each other, awed by the power of our collective minds. All three of these companies pushed our imaginations, creativity, and speed to limits none of us imagined, and set the tone for the incredible innovation of Silicon Valley.

The experience that has impacted our group dynamic the most was today’s trip to Intuit, where we all learned to be divergent thinkers. Our experienced and hilarious professor, Dr. Azhar, had spent the morning talking with us about the strength of teamwork, divergent thinking, and hypothesis-based testing as we sleepily sipped our Plug-and-Play coffees and mentally prepared for another long and exhilarating day. Little did we know; those exact theories were going to be applied during our visit to Intuit.


The visit started off with a tour of the breathtaking campus, complete with a 24-hour gym, a basketball court, and an enormous building reminiscent of a spaceship from Star Trek. We then met with Chief of Staff Lindsey Argalas, a proud Duke alum, who coached us on Intuit’s strong core values. Somehow, Intuit manages to be a company as old as the Valley that feels younger than us. This is a product of their values of consumer-driven innovation and Design for Delight (D4D). These principles stem from the idea that the most important part of a product is not the technology or the features, but the people who use it. Intuit firmly believes in a “Go Broad to Go Narrow” approach to ideation, where creative people from divergent backgrounds come up with as many ideas as possible on how to solve a problem, then narrow down to a single hypothesis. They come up with a quick viable product, then go straight to the market to get feedback, iterate, and try again.

After giving us this framework, the employees split us into teams and had us learn about the problem of large unexpected expenses. We had to understand every aspect of the problem, brainstorm hundreds of small ideas on what we believed would solve it, and then create our visual mockup that we could lead a consumer through. We had a 40 minute timeline to create our minimum viable product before actual uninformed consumers would come in and try our product. After two gave their feedback, we had 17 minutes to iterate and try again.

The process was energizing. Every one of us felt challenged by the idea of designing for a consumer, and had to approach the problem from an ethnographic perspective, taking note on the qualitative and personal emotions and reactions consumers with unexpected payments would feel. We then designed a product together, trying to tackle all of the existing problems in one seamless experience. Of course, when the first customers tried the product, it failed. But failure, mixed with pride, taught us to create innovative design based on feedback. By the second set of consumers, each team had improved considerably, developed stronger bonds, and, learned at a greatly accelerated rate. We had all caught the bug of innovation.

There is something different about the Valley. The air teems with electricity, fueled by companies like Intuit. Here, people do not stop at the right answer. They create new questions. The problems that the world face are idiosyncratic; they are so diverse and specific to peoples, cultures, and identities. Only by understanding people will we learn to solve problems and lead industries. Only by thinking in divergent ways will people be able to find the true capabilities of their collective intelligence, and come across cross-disciplinary ideas that will lay the groundwork to a better future. Last Friday, we were shown by Tesla that with unparalleled vision and determination, energy can have a green, sustainable, and beautiful future. On Tuesday, we were given a peek into a world where manufacturing can be seamless, waste-free, and unbelievably convenient with Carbon, Inc.’s continuous 3D printing technology. Yesterday, Idea Couture envisioned a future in which every product connects with the human journey. Today, Intuit showed us that understanding people breathes delight and solution into complex and ambiguous problems. Elon Musk recently asked, “What do you love about the future?” (TED). This is something that many of us are afraid to ask ourselves. The answers will appear if we find ways to believe in ourselves and each other, recognize and understand the complexity of problems, and lead the world as change-makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

I can’t wait for next week 🙂


Gaurav Uppal is a rising sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering with a passion for entrepreneurial change. He works with a diverse array of organizations around and outside Duke’s campus in the fields of energy, prosthetic design, and innovation. Outside of class, he loves learning about the world’s leaders and playing Ultimate.

DSV Final Reflections

By Ali Frank

I have nothing negative to say about my 5 weeks spent on Duke in Silicon Valley. To start, I feel so grateful to have been exposed to the innovation, talent, creativity, and genius available in the Bay Area. Nuggets of lessons learned from successful speakers, classes I found mulling over late at night, companies I imagined myself excitedly entering one day in the future, and foods I found myself wanting to eat again and again and again made the experience nothing short of amazing.

The most consistent part of our time here, our class Building and Sustaining a Successful Enterprise, was incomparable. I have always loved learning in the general sense of enjoying obtaining new information. However, in my academic career thus far, I have rarely felt as pulled to, intrigued by, and excited by a class each day. Our professor was an instrumental means to which I found enjoyment from our course. His passion for teaching was almost palpable and his wealth of knowledge was seemingly unending. A particular favorite class of mine was Dr. J’s leadership-based class. We learned about varying leadership strategies and effective ways to lead individuals. Most importantly, however, we learned that everyone has the capability to lead by playing into their strengths.

Another essential part of our time here on DSV were the guest speakers and sight visits. A favorite visit of mine was to Intuit on one of the first days of the program. We first listened to a few senior executives speak about their journeys and experiences at intuit. We then performed a rapid prototyping exercise, whose purpose was to create a product that solved the problem of managing and saving finances to prepare for disaster. My group, with the guidance of a senior HR Intuit employee, created a mobile application that automatically added small amounts of money to an emergency fund via either a percentage of weekly income or by rounding up to each whole dollar spent. We then heard from a panel of young Intuit employees about their journeys and current roles at Intuit.

A significant part of my DSV experience were my independent adventures in the Silicon Valley and Bay Areas. Some of the trips some of my DSV classmates and I went on were hiking the Stanford dish trail, going to Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay for a day, and driving to the Marin Headlands lookout to view the whole San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge. My personal favorite day was going into San Francisco with my apartment to Chestnut and Union Street. We initially went to an incredible salad place (my favorite food!) called Blue Barn, and then did a little bit of shopping and wandering around on Chestnut Street. While in a store, a local came up to us and told us about the annual Union Street Festival nearby. We strolled over to Union Street and happened upon a massive street fair– with great snacks, jewelry, clothing, accessories, among other things. We then walked over to Dolores Park and grabbed a delicious coffee before heading home to Mountain View to spend the night with our classmates. All in all, it was a perfect day filled with relaxed wandering, interesting products, and friends alike.

The balance between an incredibly engaging class, experienced and thoughtful guest speakers and visits, and the freedom to explore all of the beautiful and fun aspects the Bay Area has to offer made DSV one of the most enjoyable periods of my life thus far. Not to mention, the kind and organized staff consisting of Kathie, Kevin, and Chelsea all helped plan DSV and ensure everything ran smoothly.

A Closing Blog Post on My Duke in Silicon Valley Experience

By Ed Hannush

I never thought that a five-week program could go by so fast. It feels like this past Monday that we were visiting Intuit at their headquarters and doing innovation workshops with their SVP & Chief of Staff, Lindsey Argalas. It was an amazing site visit, and started what was going to be a series of unique and engaging experiences for all of us Duke undergrads.

In the companies that we visited—like LinkedIn, Intuit, and PayPal—it was amazing to see that they were so big but still were so committed to an open, inclusive, collaborative, and extremely innovative culture. They had extremely broad like solving the international problem of unemployment, or ending the everyday problems of small businesses. The companies were loaded with passion, and all the while, they remained innovative. Their cultures were positive, and their hearts and minds were all aligned with the respective company missions. It was a very similar story with all of the startups that we visited. One startup, Win-Win Fantasy, was an innovative company that plans to help athletes’ philanthropic organizations in a massive way by taking advantage of America’s love for fantasy football. Win-Win founder Mike Brown (another successful Duke alum to join the all-star list of alums that we met) explained how he was combining sports, philanthropy, and entrepreneurship. Again, it was enlightening to see how the people we were engaging with were so passionate about what they wanted to do, and what they were doing.

Looking back on the program as a whole, one of the best things was that I was able to meet a diverse group of people that I would not have met otherwise at Duke given the university’s social structure. The group of twenty-three of us—who are made up of engineers, computer scientists, political scientists, and psychology majors—all became close because we were able to spend our free time together having fun on the weekends or in our group projects.

Duke in Silicon Valley was truly an amazing opportunity for all of these reasons, and it helped many of us find what we were passionate about. This is a major deal because some of us did not know what truly “got us going.” I’m very happy to say that thanks to the past five weeks, we definitely have some new passions that were ignited by the awesome experiences we shared.

DSV Final Thoughts

By Aditya Srinivasan

In characteristic fashion, the last week of Duke in Silicon Valley has been just as exhausting as the previous four. But I’m not complaining.

The Duke Innovation and Entrepreneurship program was somehow able to organize the most action-packed, memorable, challenging, inspirational, and perception-changing month I have ever had. From site visits to rapid prototyping, from hikes with alumni to cold-calling manufacturers, and from incubators to the Googleplex the program has been a turbulent journey in the shoes of the giants of Silicon Valley.

We visited big companies and small companies, for-profits and non-profits, technology leaders and volunteer corporations. We learned about interviewing and iteration, fundraising and strategy, intellectual property and cultural fit. We talked to software engineers and data scientists, product managers and business analysts, CEOs and CTOs. We covered every inch of the Silicon Valley, from San Jose to San Francisco, in an incredible immersive experience that I will never forget.

And that’s exactly what made the program so great: the level of involvement I felt as a result of being in the trenches. Our incredible professor, Dr. Jeremy Petranka, emphasized learning by doing as opposed to learning by analyzing. For example, when we learned about the process of innovation, Dr. J (or J, as some of his students addressed him) made us apply our knowledge by innovating concepts for an actual product. By the end of the week, all 23 students had developed ideas and prototypes for games, which were played during class. The benefits of performing case studies pales in comparison to the level of learning achieved through this immersive style of learning. This propagated throughout the duration of the program, culminating in a final project that had students giving supply chain configuration recommendations to real company strategists, from the company Slack Lifestyle USA. After the final recommendations were given, Dr. J told us all how delighted the management team was with our suggestions, indicating that they might actually be taken into consideration and put into action. This was an incredible feeling, a true validation of the degree to which the students absorbed and applied the knowledge we learned.

Looking back at these last five weeks, I can safely say I learned more than I ever hoped to. I grew my character, not just my knowledge, and made connections that will last beyond the end of the program. Most importantly, I am instilled with an eagerness to invent and create, to build and develop, in the hopes to one day conquer a piece of territory in the ever-evolving landscape that is Silicon Valley.

Facebook Visit

By Claire North

Facebook was one of my favorite visits by far. Although they couldn’t tell us all the secretive new products and software they were working on, it was extremely cool to hear from a panel of relatively recent Duke alums and walk around a little part of the campus. It’s a company that truly emulates the “Silicon Valley dream,” starting your own company and having it grow into a multi-billion dollar company.

First, we walked through the doors to get our badges. We could already tell Facebook too had the startup laid-back vibe as the walls were covered in blue graffiti and abstract art. We signed in via our face books (lol) and followed Rachel, our tour guide, to the panel.

We then heard from about 10 Facebook employees that all had graduated from Duke. The panel was one of the more interesting ones we’ve had because the fields represented were so widespread. Some of the people we heard from was a former investment banker, a marketing team member, a product manager, a software engineer, and a graphic designer.

They beamed with joy talking about Facebook and the work culture. They loved the “startup feel” that this enormous company still had and the nice work perks.  Each gave us great insight on their early career experience and Silicon Valley in general.

Finally we concluded the visit by walking around one of Facebook’s many buildings and outdoor areas. The place was covered with dining and coffee shops and cool hubs to work in. It was incredible to see a company that we all knew so well.

Overall, our panelists and tour guide did a great job of showing us what Facebook is really about. The campus and culture is something truly unique and inspiring.