From TU Wien to Silicon Valley and Beyond - Reflections about Consciousness, Systems Change, and Technology - A talk

Charly Kleissner as a speaker at PIONEER TOMORROW: Insights Unplugged #91 at TU Wien

Many people dream of the great opportunity to make a career in Silicon Valley. For Charly Kleissner, this dream came true. After graduating in computer science from TU Wien, he went to the "Mecca for technical entrepreneurs" and was significantly involved in the development of the NeXT operating system. But what does it mean to work in Silicon Valley, what influence did his education at the TU Wien have and what are the biggest differences’ Even before his lecture, he chats a little from the sewing box.

What influence has your education at TU Wien had on your professional career’

Charly Kleissner: My education at TU Wien enabled me to get a job offer from Hewlett-Packard (HP) in Silicon Valley. I was very happy to accept this offer, HP even financed my relocation. The project for which I was first hired as a technical manager and later as a development manager was a distributed database project, which was also a topic of my dissertation.

As Senior Vice President of Product Development and Engineering, later Chief Technology Officer of Ariba (now SAP Ariba), I was able to contribute my technical know-how to lead the development of the largest B2B e-commerce platform. This know-how also comes in part from my research at TU Wien.

My training as a systems thinker has enabled me to focus my investment strategy on system change over the past 20 years, especially when it comes to design flaws in our economic and financial system.

What are the biggest differences between Vienna and Silicon Valley’

Charly Kleissner: Silicon Valley continues to be the Mecca for technical entrepreneurs, a globally unique ecosystem of venture capitalists, universities and start-ups that continues to attract world-class technicians from all’over the world. In Austria, there is still a lot of room for improvement in terms of an entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem and culture, starting with term sheets, which are often far too complicated and require a notarial deed for every small change, to employee-friendly compensation structures that also make it easy to invest in companies.

On the cultural side, it’s the other way around: Vienna is uniquely rich when it comes to the cultural scene. In Silicon Valley, on the other hand, it’s all’about developing the next cool and world-changing technologies and products. Of course, this has an impact on the quality of life.

For families living in Silicon Valley, education and the health care system are of course also very important; and how much it costs to finance a good education for the children and to be covered due to illness. And in this respect, the European system is much better for the average citizen than the American system. Nevertheless, the top universities globally are still in the USA, and in some health areas the USA continues to be the world leader, if you can afford it.

More Info on the lecture and registration