What’s Silicon Valley’s secret sauce?

After a few years basking in the orange glow of Y Combinator — founding one ultimately doomed startup, joining two VC firms, and becoming Chief of Staff at a Series C rocketship — I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes the San Francisco Bay Area so great for entrepreneurs. But I’m still a Midwesterner at heart.

If you’re living anywhere in the world but Northern California, you probably wonder why folks will agree to pay $4,000/month for a one-bedroom apartment consistently engulfed in wildfire smoke. You probably know that it has something to do with startups and investors, hype cycles and train wrecks, independent thinking and hero worship — but not too much more than that.

If you want to understand what makes Silicon Valley such a special place for startups, investors, and next-generation technology, subscribe now. The best way to find an honest, inside look at startup culture is to hear it from a fellow Outsider.

What to expect from Silicon Valley Outsider:

  • 🔥 Deep Cuts: If you want detailed notes of how the iPhone 37 launch event went, look elsewhere. I’ll highlight stories you might not hear otherwise: the human side of startup news, the Silicon Valley lore “everyone” already knows, and the nascent trends that haven’t yet made it to prime time.

  • 🧠 Context: You can always count on me to use real-people words; I detest jargon. When unavoidable, I’ll define my terms in parentheticals. (Where “parentheticals” means little asides like this one.)

  • 💪 Training: This isn’t a “give you a fish” newsletter — I’ll share my sources and help you develop a Silicon Valley media diet of your own.

About your correspondent

I’m Christian Keil, pronounced “Kyle.” I grew up in Minnesota, went to Michigan, and moved back to Minneapolis to work as a management consultant — before I was bit by the startup bug and moved to the Bay Area in 2017.

I’m currently the Chief of Staff at Astranis, an Andreessen Horowitz-funded, Series C startup making next-generation internet satellites to get the world online. I also advise Empowerly, a startup that helps everyone, not just trust-fund babies, get into the colleges of their dreams.

Subscribe to Silicon Valley Outsider

How to break into the startup world when you live outside the SF Bay Area.


Christian Keil

Chief of Staff at Astranis: we build internet satellites that connect the world.