Experiencing IT entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley

Derek Shih, Nicole Wong & Annie Zhao, Year 2 students from the Department of Information Systems

Share this article 

Last summer we won a sponsorship on the I.T. Exchange Programme offered by the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer of the HKSAR Government. We made an unforgettable 11-day tour of Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The trip not only enhanced our I.T. competency but also gave us a fascinating cultural experience.

During our stay in Silicon Valley, the renowned location where numerous I.T. companies have their headquarters, we had a range of experiences unavailable anywhere else. Our mission was to collect data on how collaborative research software Enterprise Wiki was utilised by Silicon Valley companies. Through the network of Professor Christian Wagner of the Department of Information Systems, we were granted interviews with some large corporations, such as SAP, Yahoo! and Fujitsu. We interviewed their CEOs, directors and managers and gained an understanding of the uses of Enterprise Wiki in their respective companies.

The trip was challenging as we had to plan everything ranging from transportation to accommodation and to travel by ourselves in an unfamiliar country. With the exception of the interview with SAP, during which Professor Wagner accompanied us, we visited all the companies on our own. Thankfully, the people there were friendly and helpful. The interviewees, who are very busy managerial staff, spared us more than an hour of their time. The manager from Yahoo! even showed us their headquarters after the interview. He also treated us to the tastiest coffee we had ever had! Our visit to the Plug and Play Centre, an I.T. incubation centre with more than 100 I.T. start-up companies, was equally fascinating. It gave us a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the day-to-day life and the practical I.T. knowledge required within an I.T. business.

Besides company visits, we spent time exploring Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The US is a wonderful multicultural country. We could see architecture from a range of cultures within the same district. The tour to San José State University and Stanford University opened our eyes to the confidence, outspokenness and sociability of US students.

The most important message to come out of the trip was that information systems and I.T. are indispensable components of all departments within all sorts of businesses. Companies, large or small, have to use these systems every day to communicate, capture information, and generate knowledge. Typically, we found that Wiki was a reliable and popular platform for enterprises to share information among their employees and with their clients. We also gained an insight into I.T. entrepreneurship from the success stories shared by the various enterprises.

The credit for the success of this trip goes to all the parties that provided assistance to us. We would like to give special thanks to Professor Wagner, Dr Michael Ho Moon-tong, Senior Lecturer, and Mrs Fung Hong Chia-min, Instructor of the Department of Information Systems, for their support!


Contact Information

Communications and Public Relations Office

Back to top