"Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical, and expecting more than others think is possible."
(CA skim sessions)
It has been a very busy second week in CA! Since the last skim session, the Ravens won an incredible football game to advance to the AFC Championship Game in New England this weekend. I attended the AFC Championship Game last season, which was one of the most soul-crushing events of my life. I actually "quit sports" for seven months until joining the Orioles 40 man roster in September and enjoying their wild playoff run. I'm excited for another chance to knock off Brady and go to the Super Bowl in Ray Lewis's last season. Jess and I watched the game at a sports bar in San Francisco while wearing our matching Ravens jerseys. We made lots of friends with surrounding 49ers fans, and we agreed that Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh Super Bowl would be great.
After the second game finished, Jess and I headed home because I had to get up early to play in a beach ultimate hat tournament at 10am on Sunday. The weather and turnout were great, which included most of the players from Revolver (2012 World Champions, 2011 and 2010 USA Ultimate National Champions) and Fury (7-time defending women's USA Ultimate National Champions). This was by far the highest level of beach ultimate I had ever played, and it was an excellent learning experience to start the new year training with these elite players. This was also the first time I played ultimate in two months since pulling my groin again in Boston. I'm certainly not 100% healthy, but the time off has made a big difference. I have been spending a lot of time on my rehab exercises during this trip. I look forward to playing a full weekend of beach ultimate with Shotgun for Pull in Santa Monica at Lei Out this weekend. Training for the 2013 season with the DC Current and Major League Ultimate has officially begun!
I caught up on some emails and reading Sunday evening before heading down to Palo Alto on Monday morning for several meetings this week. On Monday, I met up with a friend at Morgan Stanley, and we did a walking tour of Stanford's campus after getting lunch by the business school. It was very cool to get to see the school and tell him more about Waveborn and our strategic growth plans for 2013. After Stanford, I headed over to WePay to be reunited with fellow Boston College computer science alum, Bill Clerico.
Bill started WePay five years ago, and the company has now grown to 50+ employees. Bill shared a lot about his experiences at WePay and gave me some good advice about what to focus on at Waveborn over the next few months. This included spending extra effort on making all of our marketing materials look beautiful (see attached at the bottom of the page) since that is all we have to sell with until our next shipment arrives in April. We also talked at length about the importance of growing the brand and the brand's following through word of mouth marketing and positive engagement on social media. Bill suggested the use of a kickstarter program to do some crowd funding to raise money for the new pairs and sell them via different contribution levels.
I spent a lot of time this week putting together and editing our Waveborn Sunglasses Survey 2013 to send out to various groups to solicit their feedback on our new styles, colors, and polarized lenses. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey and be entered to win a FREE pair of Waveborns. I still remember filling out WePay's first surveys when Bill started the company several years ago. Hopefully these survey results lead to similar company growth results haha.
Monday night I arrived at a hacker house in Palo Alto to crash for a few nights. It's much cleaner than in the video, and they had a spare bedroom that was open. Very nice to have my own room after a week on the couch in SF. Thanks again to the team at Hawthorne Labs for letting me crash here - you should download their app, Circle - Who's Around You. It's pretty sweet and just reached over 1,000,000 users since being released on Android phones last month. This place is the closest thing I've seen to life as depicted in The Social Network. Needless to say, I've gotten a lot of work done here while wired in.
On Tuesday, I had a great conference call with a potential investor at Canaan Partners. After the call, I headed over to Facebook to have lunch with a friend and get a tour of their campus. It was very cool to see the offices, which holds 2500+ employees. The food was free and delicious, and they even have vending machines that give away various tech devices (keyboards, laptops, headphones, phone chargers, etc). One of my biggest takeaways from my tour around Palo Alto was the high quality free food that companies provide for their employees each day. This is definitely something I want to bring back to the DC work environment. It obviously improves employee morale and makes sure everyone is well fed to perform their job functions at a high level. It is also nice to invite people over and provide them lunch for free (thanks!).
After leaving Facebook, I hoped on a long conference call with a Red Bull field marketing specialist in NY to learn more about their experiences with campus reps and come up with ways to build out our Waveborn Brand Ambassador Program. One of the key takeaways was the idea of brand "activations" that the ambassadors need to do each week to allow us to track their engagement virtually. I struggle a lot with managing virtual resources, so hopefully this should help. I am building out a secure reporting platform on the wiki for BAs to use to communicate with one another and their managers. As our BA program grows, I look forward to sharing lessons learned with other companies trying to start similar programs to help them connect with their desired audiences and get others to promote brands via word of mouth marketing. It is easy for campus reps from various companies to work together to plan large scale events that benefit all parties involved. I look forward to building out our BA team and planning future events with campus reps at Red Bull, Spikeball, and other companies.
After my meeting with Red Bull, I headed to a nearby park with Evan (Founder and CEO at Hawthorne Labs), and we tossed the disc around until it got dark. It was nice to put cleats on for the first time in 9+ weeks. I was pretty sore the next day, but I can feel my legs getting stronger and healthier. When we got back to the house, I had a google hangout with Roxie and Tyler to catch up on all things PunchRock related. It was wonderful to see their beautiful faces again. Then I wired in for the rest of the night to work on various projects, including several hours drafting up Waveborn investment contracts and researching all the proper terminology.
Wednesday morning started off with a few hours of laptop work, finalizing our survey and sending it out to various groups. We already have 100+ responses, which is great. Keep passing it along to your friends/teammates! Then I had a conference call with the Agents of Change Tour, which is going to come down to DC in March/April to host an event at PunchRock. It sounds like a great opportunity for us to collaborate with this group and connect them to the social entrepreneur scene in DC. I had lunch with another potential investor to discuss Waveborn's niche market as the only social good sunglasses that are hand crafted in Italy. We also talked about some ways to expand through B2B sales and increased digital marketing/distribution with Thrillist.com and JackThreads. I'm excited to continue to develop these relationships with potential investors after I leave the bay area.
After lunch, I headed over to Stanford StartX and toured their facility. I wanted to learn as much as possible about how they add value to the companies/founders in their accelerator program. One of the biggest ways is offering great mentoring relationships. This is definitely something that is lacking at PunchRock, and I think we will definitely need to launch a mentorship program in the coming months. It is also a great way to connect VCs/investors with companies to provide guidance for the company even if they can't provide funding. However, the biggest perk of working at StartX is immediate access to all the other founders who are at various stages in their respective companies. They can provide first-hand experience about various tools, tactics, and any road bumps that come up along the way. We also discussed the potential of spending the summer at StartX working on Waveborn as a visiting founder...
After wrapping up that meeting, I headed to the office where the Circle team works to take a few more conference calls about funding and investment contracts. I have been wired in for several hours back at the house and am wrapping up all my loose ends in the bay area before I drive down to Santa Barbara to enjoy the coastline. I will be in Santa Monica this weekend to compete at Lei Out, a beach ultimate tournament, with a team of Georgetown alumni and various west coast friends. Next week, my schedule is full of meetings with show rooms, retail stores, and surf shops in the LA area. I am also working on putting the finishing touches on my first book, Becoming So Good They Can't Ignore You. You can download the latest draft of the book at the bottom of the page. I will be sure to post a recap of the weekend's festivities in my next skim session. Thanks for following along with my adventures!
(LiquidSpace making strong moves)
Field Vision under Advice under Ultimate
5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Measure SEO Rankings under Fix Course
[wb] Waveborn B2B One Pager 2013 (attached below)
[wb] Waveborn Elevator Pitch (attached below)
[wb] Waveborn Generic One Pager (attached below)
[wb] Waveborn Sunglasses Samples 2013 (attached below)
Becoming So Good They Can't Ignore You - DRAFT (attached below)
Lei Out 2012 - Shotgun for Pull Recap (attached below)
Waveborn Sunglasses Survey 2013 (fill it out!)
Waveborn Convertible Promissory Note - DRAFT (sent to Jonathan for review)