Today was our second to last double visit day, and boy did we have some great companies lined up! As the title has already given the names of the two organizations away, I don't think I need to flat out tell you whose doors we made our way through. It all began with a short trolly car ride down Market Street, trolly F to be specific. We were probably on the train by 10:00am, following a short walk from our stop we filed into the Strava building. By the way, Strava is a company that allows users to track and share runs and bike rides through a geolocation enabled application. You can find out more here: Strava
We had the pleasure of meeting with Michael Horvath, the CEO and one of the founders of Strava, probably one of the highlights of the day for me. Besides Jon Jenkins at Meld, all the way back in Seattle, Michael was the only other CEO we have meet with. Moreover, he was the only CEO we have meet that has taken his company of five and turned into an organization larger than 40 people... pretty impressive in its own right. The first thing Michael did was give us a tour of the office space. Similar to Facebook and YouTube, Strava had an open floor plan with stand up desks, unique meeting spaces, and gave off an energetic, creative, and collaborative vibe, you felt productive just by walking through the place.
Following the walk through, we all sat down at the largest conference room in house. Michael wanted to share some detail about his company and what he thought about entrepreneurship and the common good. In summary, Michael loves what he does, obviously, and has enjoyed watching the company grow from an idea into something tangible, something that users all over the world love and are excited bout. Going along with the concept of social good, Michael feels great that he has been able to create over 40 jobs and connect runners and cyclers from all over the world. At the same time, that has created some entrepreneurial walls to jump over.
Michael explained that it's already a difficult task to translate their content to another language, but even harder when you try to add localization to the wording. What does this mean, it means that the lingo and feelings toward biking and running aren't the same all over the world, so they have word their international sites in such a way that hooks a user and keeps them coming back. Moreover, Michael also mentioned that there are other challenges when working across multiple countries and time zones, simply coordinating all of their work can become complicated.
After our visit to Strava we walked a few blocks down the road to Pinterest. There we would be meeting with Dan Frankowski, one of Brad's colleagues from past work with Net Perceptions and a Data Scientist for Pinterest. However, before our meeting, as a wonderful and gratefully appreciated treat, Pinterest invited our entire group to lunch in their cafeteria. By far, they had the best meal options and snacks out of all the places we have visited, topping Google and Facebook!
Once we finished lunch and had some goodies to snack on we migrated into a conference room for a short discussion. Again, we heard a brief overview of what the company does and where they are headed. I thought the coolest thing they are developing is what they call Flashlight and the software that is also used to suggest related posts. Flashlight allows a user to highlight a specific portion of a picture, as if they were using a cropping tool, and then see posts that also contain the same object. For example, one could highlight a couch, chair, plant, car, painting, anything really! This feature also populates the search bar with tags of what it believes the highlighted object to be, giving the development a very practical aspect.
Returning home for the day, Jake and I went out for a few hill runs, and then I ran to twin peaks... gorgeous views!