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Plan ahead. The jump from D.C. to Silicon Valley is a big one. Start planning for it at least six months ahead. Begin taking trips out west and building your personal network. Meet with everyone you can, especially those who work in areas that interest you. Join professional networks and LinkedIn groups and go to industry happy hours. (This part should be easy for any seasoned D.C. politico.) After that, donít be afraid to jump. Silicon Valley can be tough to penetrate from the outside but, if you take the risk to come out here, youíll almost certainly find something cool very quickly.
Oh, and leave all of your suits behind (seriously, you wonít need a single one). Spend your money on designer hoodies and Tesla Roadsters instead.
Mike McNerney is a former Pentagon official and attorney who now works as an adviser to a number of startups. He currently lives in Palo Alto, Calif., and is a Truman security fellow.