OpenCo Offers Inside Look At High-Tech, Potentially Lucrative World Of Silicon Valley

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Thousands of individuals managed to get an inside look at San Francisco-based startups, non-profit groups and corporations, including Google and DropBox, during last week’s OpenCo event.
OpenCo, which was launched by marketing professionals Brian Monahan and John Battelle last year, is described on the event’s official website as “a new type of business conference” that is essentially a mix of “a business conference and artist’s open studio with the vibe of a music festival.”  In its second year, the event was held in San Francisco and three other locations (New York in May, London in June, and Detroit in September).
According to Reuters reporter Malathi Nayak, Monahan and Battelle see OpenCo as “an opportunity for investors, entrepreneurs and even job-seekers to get a close-up look at the San Francisco-area tech scene. Companies that throw open their doors, in turn, get a chance to meet potential talent, gather feedback and make connections.”
The event lasted two days and included consecutive 45-minute sessions at 135 participating companies throughout the city, Nayak said. The unique event provided an opportunity to explore “San Francisco’s thriving local tech scene,” which “has fascinated many aspiring entrepreneurs across the country.”
The number of firms taking part in the conference has nearly doubled from the inaugural OpenCo even in 2012. One of the firms that took part last year, Twitter, was not involved this year. However, the popular microblogging website still made headlines, as it was revealed that one of their engineers made over $10 million last year.
The individual in question is Twitter senior vice president of engineering Christopher Fry, who earned $10.3 million in 2012, reported Sarah McBride of Reuters on Sunday. That salary made him the social network’s second-highest paid employee, behind only Chief Executive Dick Costolo (who earned $11.5 million) and ahead of Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger, Chief Financial Officer Mike Gupta and Chief Operating Officer Ali Rowghani.
“Welcome to Silicon Valley, where a shortage of top engineering talent amid an explosion of venture capital-backed start-ups is inflating paychecks,” McBride said. “Stories abound about the lengths to which employers will go to attract engineering talent – in addition to the free cafeterias, laundry services and shuttle buses that the Googles and Facebooks of the world are already famous for. One start-up offered a coveted engineer a year’s lease on a Tesla sedan, which costs in the neighborhood of $1,000 a month, said venture capitalist Venky Ganesan.”
Perhaps it is reports such as these that have made events like OpenCo, which give individuals an inside look at some of Silicon Valley’s hottest tech companies as well as other San Francisco industries, so intriguing to people. Or maybe it is having the opportunity to look at prototype products being made by Lit Motors or getting an uncensored look at the technology used by audio platform developers SoundCloud to create their software.
“When you think about tech companies, you think of them as being very private with proprietary technology that you don’t share and be open because somebody might steal your idea, but this completely the opposite,” Perry Simpson, who heads up sports-related e-commerce website Gryndo and was a member of the OpenCo tour, told Nayak. “Here you get a visceral sense of their culture, you put a face on the technology company.”