Oxford Comes to Silicon Valley


Oxford’s legendary Said School of Business .. meet Biz.
It was really that casual.  UK’s best and brightest flying 5321 miles (I looked it up) to meet face-to-face with the current title-holder for world’s hottest company, Twitter.  Trading in a classroom in England for a startup with a beautiful view of the San Francisco skyline, nearly a dozen soon-to-be-on-the-job-market MBA students from Oxford University hit town to chew the fat (in 140 characters or less, of course) with the guys who started the tweet revolution.
Say what you will about the global meltdown, and criticize tech startups all you want for their makeshift workstations, messy hairdos, and funky kitchens, one thing will always be true:  The future of business knows where to turn to for advice, and that’s where the action is. And when it comes to action, you’ve gotta love Twitter. As Co-Founder Biz Stone said today, “it’s the tool we didn’t know we needed, but now we need it.”  Flying around the ‘net at warp speed, the only thing business reporters are doing more than tweeting, is speculating on who will buy Twitter, and for how much.
For the Oxford MBA students, it wasn’t about valuations, it was about access to the current stars of the entrepreneurial world.  Admitting that they, too, want to start companies, you would have thought the graduate students were led into the Hogwarts cafeteria for the first time, instead of the admittedly plain lobby of Twtter’s HQ.  MBA student Alexandra called the morning “a very good lesson to learn,” while her classmate Jon told me that since “the silicon valley is the epicenter of entrepreneurship,” it makes sense to come here, even when “we had our choice of anywhere in the world to go.”
After standing in the back of the room unable to resist twittering about the whole thing (@scottbudman: “twittering at twitter about today’s story on twitter”), I asked Biz Stone what he thought of the Oxford students choosing to spend their spring break here, and he called it “an honor,” saying “this is the place people come to make big things happen.”
So give it a few years, and then look for the next big startup to spring up, with a  great view of the City skyline .. and a fish ‘n chips place down the block.
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