Around Silicon Valley the term “unicorn” refers to a startup technology company that is valued at 1 billion dollars or more. Aileen Lee, Founder of Cowboy Ventures, created this term to classify a seed-stage fund that backs entrepreneurs reinventing work and personal life through software.
The number of unicorns throughout Silicon Valley is rising—they used to be rare sightings, but are common in today’s landscape. Fortune 500 has listed Uber, Airbnb and Snapchat as some of the fastest moving unicorns on the market. Despite the excitement and buzz generated from its association, the CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan, despises the word “unicorn” and bans company employees from using the word. He believes employees should not be distracted by the label because it does not automatically change or improve product’s quality. “Even if you’re a unicorn for many years, if customers don’t like your product, very soon you become nothing,” he said.
Recruiters also commonly use the term to describe the perfect candidate with qualifications that goes past the capacity and scale of the particular job. During his presentation to startups, Victor Ho, the Founder of Five Stars, advised them to not settle for employees, but to hire people with skills and characteristics that are most important to the success of the company. He was able to recruit top-tier talent from well-known technology companies such as Facebook and Google by adhering to 5 rules during the recruitment process; being fearless, hiring a recruiter, making filtering a top priority, showing the candidate they are a perfect fit, and by showing the candidates you care about them.