Clearly, I’m behind.
My bad guys. Let me give you some first impressions of 500, 9 days in.
The program is super diverse, whether its the kind of business (home furnishings to on-demand lawn care), the geography (California to Bangkok), the teams (20yo – 50yo), everything. Its VERY apparent, deliberate and makes for some interesting conversations.
Everyone here is in a hurry, in a good way. I think they kind of try to strike fear in your heart – like “DEMO DAY IS COMING”. There are certain numbers that everyone is aspiring to have so they can raise a solid round of capital at the end.
The space overall, is really nice, as per above. The office is located right in Downtown Mountain View, 444 Castro Street. Close to all Mtn View ‘spots’ which, admittedly there are not that many of. It was recently totally remodeled, so all the conference rooms are super new and well equipped, I’m digging the open workspace because its social and it kind of reminds me of Goldman. One of the few cool things there.
The office itself has a big staff – the 500 staff. Way more people than I expected. We all get a POC (point of contact) and a distribution POC (you can guess this) to help us focus on growth. We also have all kinds of staff, neatly organized into a spreadsheet, with various areas of expertise. The ones I’m focused on connecting with are in growth marketing – which is basically like how to grow your business from behind a computer. In so far as I can tell.
Events range in frequency, but almost nothing is mandatory. You go to what you think is helpful and relevant – for me, that was almost everything. I will do another post about learnings so far, I think thematically it will be quite different than this one. Examples of talks we’ve had so far are: Design Sprints: What are they and how to do them, Building a Growth Machine, The One Metric that Matters and A/B Testing 101.
I’m feeling really good, everyone is cool, helpful, nice, perhaps a little nerdier than I’m used to from finance (maybe I’m nerdier than I’m used to) and lots and lots of talented engineers. I think the social calendar is going to start picking up a lot as we get to know each other and get deeper into each other’s businesses and ways to help. I have to say, the 500 network really goes deep and wide. And everyone is trying to help everyone else. Sort of the direct opposite of the culture that Wall Street fostered. It’s late, I’m SO behind in publishing so f*** it this thing is going up.
In short, the program really boils down to 2 things: grow & raise money.