Showing posts with label silicon valley organization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label silicon valley organization. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Despite the name change, SVO continues to break ground with small business owners

When asked to write my first article to cover an organization AND see the insides of Avaya Stadium, I was totally stoked to do it for The San Jose Blog! Plus, getting some h'orderves and a drink doesn’t hurt either!

View of the Avaya Stadium sign welcoming SVO (Photograph by John Huân Vũ)
That opportunity came on the evening of Thursday, June 8, 2017 at a June Networking Mixer hosted by the Silicon Valley Organization (SVO). I had only heard of SVO once when Josh Santos wrote an article about its name change earlier this year. Josh stated that the removal of San Jose from its name followed “an unsettling trend preceded by The Business Journal and The Mercury News, our two top news publications.” However, like Josh Santos, we are both “not completely opposed to the idea” especially when it can “better raise our [city’s] global awareness.” Put simply, the San Jose Chamber of Commerce is now the Silicon Valley Organization.

Let’s start out with the venue. As shown on their infographic below, Avaya Stadium seats 18,000 people with free wireless internet along with indoor and outdoor patio suites. Sweet deal if you want to be involved in the game! On hand were two employees of the San Jose Earthquakes who gave us the rundown of the venue and their field known as their “sanctuary.” The highlight for me was seeing the insides of the locker room (sorry, no cameras). Inside the locker room, there are high resolution photographs depicting the evolution of the San Jose Earthquakes spanning from its infancy to their location today at Avaya Stadium. However, what amused me the most was the nicely pressed and folded uniforms, undershirts, and grey underwear briefs for every player ready to use for the next game!

During the networking mixer, I met a lot of people whom I got to hear more about SVO, why they are part of SVO, and most importantly, how they benefited from SVO. I met a handful of first timers who were invited by other SVO members or wanted to check out if the organization is right for them. The people who impressed me were those who were part of SVO (before the name change) for 5, 10, or even 15 years. I met realtors, caterers, photographers, doctors, graphic designers, and salespeople from other sports teams, banks, and hotels. Most importantly, the people were generally friendly, open to talking about their business, with diverse backgrounds in industry, age, ethnicity, and national origin.

View from one of Avaya's patio suites (Photograph by John Huân Vũ)
They all had one thing in common: SVO opened doors for their small business. As a software engineer for a big company, listening to their stories really brought me down to how small businesses are thriving (and struggling) every day. I also realize how stupid I was for not having business cards! I met a woman who works as a caterer but attends the SVO events to network with others who might be a florist or finding a business owner that needs delicious lunches. People said that it was much better to put a face to a business name instead of reading a review online. The SVO also builds business partnerships and even friendships along the way.

When asked about the membership fees, a SVO member and sole proprietor said that, “If I can just get one referral for my business, then that just paid for itself for my annual membership.”

For future events, networking opportunities, and ribbon cutting, check out their website at

-John Huân Vũ