Thank you Professor Kane for choosing to share your passion with us and leading the most engaging and interesting class I have ever taken.
Thank you Professor Doyle for connecting the class with so many interesting people at so many different companies (and for the liveliest case studies I have ever been a part of).
Thank you Kelsey and Matt for always answering my frequent questions and dumb requests with a smile.
Lastly, thank you to all my fellow classmates that made the amazing trip into one of the most memorable weeks of my life.
The Course: Expectations vs. Reality
When I wrote my introduction selfie, I made two main expectations that would become my points of emphasis for the semester: (1) learn how start ups grow into major blue-chip companies, and (2) learn how to think of and ask intelligent questions to carry meaningful conversations with industry leaders. In the adventure that has been TechTrek, I believe that I have accomplished both of these through many mediums, some of which were unexpected. While the cases were incredibly insightful and gave insight into the “official” story of how these major firms have achieved their growth, and the impressive presentations introduced many future projects that would help the companies grow, the Twitter feed might have been the most surprisingly helpful and comprehensive source of information that I have been using this semester. When you have 23 very bright individuals constantly tweeting the latest and most interesting tech news, let alone the rest of the tech community on Twitter, you get to know a lot about what is currently going on in the tech-sphere. This helped me think of relevant questions for our visits and keep me surprisingly very well in-the-know. I would highly recommend continuing, or even increasing, the usage of Twitter in the classroom.
Themes and Takeaways from Visits
Although we visited many tech firms of various shapes and sizes, there were a lot of key themes that strung together from all of our visits. First of all, many of the BC Alums raved about the alumni network and the willingness for other BC Eagles to help each other out. Another very noticeable takeaway was the difference in culture between East and West Coast. Although people are just as sharp and brilliant on the West Coast, it is still mind boggling to me how Executives and Co-Founders can stroll into work wearing sweats at work and be so nonchalant about it. It was also interesting to see how these firms were all so successful despite such variances in culture from company to company whether it was due to founders, company size, or values.
On a more specific note, it was also so interesting to see how Walmart eCommerce is poising themselves for a race with Amazon for eCommerce domination by being in a such a unique position of tremendous size and growth. As someone who wants to start their own company one day, it was moving to see how passionate (and good looking @katieibailey) Angus from Ouster still is after consistently working 12-14 hours per day. It was also so amazing to see how excited the Split team is about their future and how great their slide deck was. I had so many unique experiences that I would NEVER gotten at this point in my life if it were not for TechTrek.
- You’ve got to make the start up really hard to quit. I’ve been with the company for 10 years but every year has been different, and its never been boring. -Rich from WePay
- We don’t want well rounded people. We want really spike-y people who work well with other really spike-y people. -Pat Grady from Sequoia
- You know you have the right people for the job and that your company is running well when you have employees presenting fantastic and successful projects that you never thought of. -Doug Mack from Fanatics.com
- “Wait, you’re asking about momentum, which is a function of time vs. time? I don’t understand what you are asking.” @michaelrosmarin
- “The Android experience is a shitshow” @paulosdbc
- “Local experiences ARE part of Airbnb’s original mission” @mkrameisen
- “I want the tweets by two Wednesdays ago” @me
Favorite Part: The People
Without taking anything away from the company visits that we made, by far and away my favorite part of this trip was getting to know the other students on TechTrek. Although we all sat next to each other in class, we truly got to know who our classmates are on the trip. Although we only spent a measly seven days with each other, I felt closer connected to each person on the trip with each passing noise complaint or impromptu adventure into San Francisco. There are moments spent with people on this trip that I will never forget, such as visiting the LucasFilms, seeing the San Francisco bridge up close, getting the “molecularly perfect” ice cream, exploring Stanford’s campus, or losing my pad-folio in Google’s ball pit. This list could go on for a while.
Final Thoughts Moving Forward
Its only been a week since our trip ended, but I already miss it more than I would like to admit. I hope to never let go of the knowledge, experience, and connections that I made on the trip. I think the biggest indicator that we all genuinely loved the experience is how close we all have stayed together so far after our trip has concluded, which I hope will continue to be the case moving forward. When we walk out of Cushing 208 later this week, after we count off for the last time, it will be the end of an amazing experience that has significantly shaped my life moving forward. Thank you guys. #BCSTT #D