Having left the 18th week behind, our program is now considered of legal age in most parts of the world(!). All jokes aside, we are thrilled for the wide array of new experiences every week has been bringing along with new connections in our network and new ideas to ponder.
We started off the week strong with Frederik Groce’s visit to our office on Tuesday. Frederik is an associate at Storm Ventures, a venture capital firm working with B2B oriented startups in the greater California area. Having previously served as an analyst in the firm, Frederik now handles the evaluation of prospective investments, source deals and portfolio company work in order to manage the “go-to-market fit” as the associate. Frederik’s background is truly impressive, having accumulated more than 15 million dollars for Stanford Student Enterprises, including their accelerator program. He specializes in supporting minority college students from underprivileged communities in the East Bay through mentoring with the East Bay College Fund. Our teams were overjoyed to have the chance of connecting 1:1 with Frederik and were grateful for the time he committed for elaborating on his experience as a mentor.
One of the most exciting events of the week was doubtless our visit to the ServiceRocket company for our meeting with its CEO Rob Castaneda. ServiceRocket works with the objective of changing customer engagement for fast growing software companies in order to establish successful implementations. The cloud based platform they offer for optimizing the software utilized by customers and companies, produce solutions for training, support, implementation and tools. Rob initially elaborated on Entreprise Sales & Customer Success. According to him, there are 3 levels to approach this situation: why, how, and what you sell. Staring with the “why” question is extremely significant, since if you start from “what”, you will be restricted to being transaction based.
“In 10 years everything is going to change; many of the companies that we so dearly depend on today will be long gone”, he started, hinting the importance of adjusting the startup foundation accordingly. He then shared that the frequency, tools and communication that continues between sales and product team depends on the sales team reporting on the product team. Within their company framework, accountability is of high priority. “Sales team is not gonna make the product successful. Product team is gonna make it successful”, he shares. According to his input ServiceRocket is a customer driven company, presenting them with some challenges. One of these challenges lies in front of scaling when it comes to the repeatability bridge during hiring. The second is differentiating their product in a pool of a myriad products with a methodology and thinking behind them. Responding to these challenges, Rob went to strategy sessions city to city like roadshows, posted on sales and customer successes and made sure to keep the context balanced. ServiceRocket approaches the field as an infinite game where no one wins or loses; this inspires continuous working. In his concluding remarks, Rob underlined the importance of the workplace ecosystem and a sense of mission by asking “People working for a why vs. people working for a what(transaction and paycheck”, which will yield a better product?” His words truly inspired us. Following this section of the day, the teams had the privilege to have 1:1s with Rob, as well as an exclusive tour of their office. The teams absolutely adored the office space and its futuresque feel.
On Thursday, we welcomed Justin Fraga to our office for an entire day; Justin is the lead UX Designer of Disney Interactive. Justin presented on UI/UX introductions, case studies and design tools/processes to the teams. He stressed the “importance” of design thinking as concept that is, unlike current misconceptions, fiction. His work on interaction design and his experience in connecting digital experiences with the physical with smart technological tools truly intrigued the audience.
The last update from this week was the publication and release of our interviews for CNN Turkey in their Technology Everywhere program. Make sure to catch our teams’ interviews!
We are grateful for all the new opportunities for exploration, experience and connections this week allowed for our teams. We can’t wait for what’s next!