TheBridge profile: Zvika Krieger
Name: Zvika Krieger
Current city: San Francisco, CA
Current job: Co-Lead the World Economic Forum’s new Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco
Past job: U.S. Department of State Representative to Silicon Valley (based in California); Director of the U.S. State Department’s innovation lab in Washington DC; Senior Strategist at the Department of Defense
Q. Job advice in three words? Post Series-C Companies
Q. Describe one way how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your new job. Understanding the interplay of politics, economy, and culture in diverse countries and markets (which I gained at the State Department) is valuable for start-ups and tech companies looking to expand beyond the Bay-area bubble.
Q. Best advice you’ve received? When trying to transition from government to tech, don’t tell folks in Silicon Valley that you’re interested in working at a “social impact” company. With the exception of a dry cleaning delivery app (and maybe even them), almost every company here sees themselves as social impact -- and DC folks need to broaden their aperture on what “social impact” means.
Q. What can Silicon Valley teach DC? Government does not have a monopoly on impact. There are times when Silicon Valley is better positioned than DC to tackle global challenges. Government should share its expertise, highlight areas of particular need, use its convening power to bring together key stakeholders, and then know when to get out of the way.
Q. What can DC teach Silicon Valley? Government may be lumbering, bureaucratic, and risk-averse, but it often has valuable expertise, experience, and networks. Especially when trying to tackle global challenges, Silicon Valley should resist the temptation to ignore traditional stakeholders for the sake of “disruption” -- you’ll end up making the same mistakes that government, NGOs, and international organizations made ten years ago, and you’ll eventually come crawling back with your tail between your legs. Also, there is a whole world beyond Highway 101. Entrepreneurs are doing amazing things around the world, and investing in them is not charity -- it’s good business.
Q. Last time you were completely unplugged? Burning Man. Even though you can now get cell reception there, it’s a good excuse to go off the grid for a week.