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San Francisco, absorbing as much as I can

Friday 26th of February our second learning journey of Team Academy started! Besides that San Francisco has a 9 hour time difference compared to Amsterdam, Team Academy knew we as teams were strong enough to face an even bigger challenge, a trip of 25+ hours. We first flew to Istanbul for 3.5 hours and arrived around 4 in the morning, after inspecting the airport most of us made a decision to stay in a lounge. In the lounge we had WIFI and could get some drinks to kill the time, but after 2 hours of chatting with each other and watching some series you could see on our faces that we were exhausted. Like most of the people in the lounge we grabbed some chairs and made our own made beds, some were more comfortable than the others but when you’re tired you can sleep on everything.

After having some hours of sleep we could finally board for the plain towards our destination, San Francisco. I was exhausted and was really looking forward to sleep in the plain for some hours, by the time that I sat down in my chair, team mates were already going crazy about the movies we could watch during the flight, I can tell you the movies were good for my entertainment but not for my sleep. After 13 hours of flying we touched ground on American soil, personally my first time! Let’s see what ‘The American Dream’ is all about.

Team Laserbeam and Team Bite are both staying in different AirBnB houses, so we said goodbye to each other on the airport knowing that we would see each other in 2 days in the training session. We as Team Bite ordered two Ubers that brought us to our house, even though we already were travelling for a long time the team found there last drops of energy to get some food and look around the neighbourhood. Team Bite’s house I near the neighbourhood of Castro, one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States. We found a Mexican burrito place where we got a quick bite, I’m glad that I didn’t order a big burrito because I couldn’t finish the regular one. We walked through Castro and we noticed quick that people weren’t overreacting that there are much homeless people in San Francisco. It’s quite confronting to see this quantity of people living on the street, so we decided to go home. The moment we got home everyone knew it was time to go to bed.

The next morning we woke up early and walked through the city to see what I had to offer and to find a grocery store for groceries. We made around 22.000 steps and had a good idea of how San Francisco looked like. Again we got confronted with the amount of homeless people living on the street, everywhere you walk you will see them in San Francisco. We went back home and had our first team diner, we talked about what was on the planning for us the next morning, a combined training session led by Jeannot and myself.

Jeannot and I prepared a training session that needed have something to do with San Francisco but it also needed to be active. We decided to mix both teams up and divide them into 4 groups. We gave them a description of a company that was booming and was founded in San Francisco, now it was up to the teams to find out what kind of company the description was about. Everyone went onto the streets to talk to people that lived in San Francisco, some people needed to get out of there comfort zone but found out that American citizens are really open to helping people! Everyone enjoyed the activity and Jeannot and I could gladly look back on a successful training session. The afternoon session was a workshop of Peter van Laanen, an entrepreneur who had lived in San Francisco for 18 years. He explained us what we should and should not do on business level in San Francisco. A really cool customer visit that gave us more insight in doing business in San Francisco, also Peter opened allot of doors for us to get in contact with contacts within his network!

Tuesday we had our project day, we are working on the Impact Hub a co-working space were all kind of entrepreneurs are working but also were you can attend different activities. In the afternoon I could arrange a customer visit with Age Sluis. Age has been living in San Francisco for 2 years, he helps start-ups to get in contact with the right companies but also helps them with what they should expect from the business life of San Francisco. Age told us about how we should pitch in San Francisco and gave us tips on what we should do in a situation that we need to pitch our company.

For the rest of the week we visited the Draper University, an entrepreneurship and accelerator program of 8 weeks. Really cool program, but the customer visit itself felt more like an introduction towards the program, maybe my expectations were a little higher of the visit. Besides all the cool visits we also did another joint training sessions and had more project time. My experience so far with the joint training sessions are amazing, you can see that we have two different teams but that doesn’t stop us from helping each other and to learn from each other!

Friday both teams attend the Launch Festival, a cool festival for start-ups but also companies such as Uber. Everyone of both teams made their own program to visit start-ups or dialogues, I mainly went to the main stage where I could see Uber talk about different business opportunities. One of the things I was impressed about is that Uber wants to be a connector within bigger cities, that you get notifications through your smart phone about different whereabouts. On top of that you get notifications you’re Uber drive can also anticipate on what your needs are and give his own suggestions on it! After the big guns had their talks it was up to the start-ups to do short pitches about their companies, they were rated by a jury who could also ask them questions after. What I found funny to see is that all the pitches were around user experience, everything was told from a view that we as customer understood what the company did, it felt like you were actually using the product live!

So yeah, Jetlag gone, Check. Settled in house, Check. Cool customer visits, check. Great training sessions, check. Getting a feeling of the city, Check. Let’s have 3 more of these weeks!


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