It’s been busy. Days have been long. Things are great!
The last two days have been an experience of constant learning – a real life school into networking, interviewing, shooting (video & photos) and pitching. The pace has been super fast and to add to the challenge we still haven’t recovered from the jetlag. However any difficulties have been rewarded tenfold with the experience, knowledge and skills learned.
Wednesday we headed down to Palo Alto and Stanford. The drive was filled with talk of Silicon Valley wonders and who is who in this place. The HQ of Oracle and the offices of IDEO were pointed out with keen recognition. Of course, the Stanford campus was a welcome sight again – we doubt these people never get tired of going to school.
At Stanford we met up with Forrest Glick at the STVP (Stanford Technology Ventures Program) office. He and the team are responsible for the eCorner portal which we are interested in. Really hospitable and helpful people – Forrest took time out of their busy day to talk to us and offered us a box of cinnamon buns. Those sweet pastries weren’t the only thing we got to enjoy here, oh no, definitely not.
Forrest gave a comprehensive explanation of the process and structure they have developed and which is making eCorner a success. For example their podcast is appreciated by a wide audience in part because they are made available nearly instantly after each talk ends. Forrest also gave numerous specific tips which will be very valuable when it comes to organizing and developing our own archive service at Aaltoes. We feel like we were given great support in the form of the various insights from eCorner.
We also attended the ETL (Entrepreneur Thought Leader) talk and saw Forrest and his team in action. The talk was an interesting one given by two generations of entrepreneurs, a mother and a son, Sandra Kurtzig (ASK Group inc. & Kenandy) and Andy Kurtzig (justanswer.com). And of course, you will be able to catch their talk on eCorner.
After the talk we had a quick look and talk around at the Stanford Entrepreneurial Week ending party – a themed week full of talks, seminars and mini events.
We then headed out to meet some of the Startup Life interns working in the area. We had a date set up at a restaurant in Palo Alto and enjoyed a casual talk and shot some interviews with Anne Liiri and Raimo Tuisku. Anne is interning as a part of the marketing team at Apptivo. Raimo is a developer and interning at UserVoice.
Both seemed very happy with their roles and companies and it was a pleasure to hear about their experiences so far. The interviews went well and the footage can be seen in future Startup Life promotions. Considerably
In the evening and back in San Francisco, half of our team + Raimo went to the Nordic Game event to learn some valuable lessons. ALWAYS carry a dozen business cards with you! In tech capitals of this scale, events and invitations emerge so fast, you basically never know where you’re going to end up next. Though we’re all flooded with these pieces of paper, the social aspect of receiving and being able to give something back, leaves you in a much better position than mumbling something under your breath about the hotel locker. Thank god most of the embarrassment was saved by swift Linkedin communication and contacting (mostly accepting).
The Nordic Game event was overall a chance for networking, preparing our pitches for SXSW and getting an idea of the Nordic game scene. We were surprised how many people had not yet heard of Aaltoes and it’s message. Every time the notion of “Europe’s Silicon Valley” was mentioned, it began to get more resonance. Lots of interesting conversation took place, ranging from ‘mind-controlled gaming’ to the future of Finnish gaming scene in general. One of the most prominent topics was the difficulty in penetrating the Asian market, China in particular. For Aaltoes and Startup Life there were also interesting news. Jouni Keränen the COO of Apple Toons, a company which has been notably successful in China, showed interest in hosting a few internships at their HQ in Shanghai! The future lies within the East!
Thursday was an administrative day. We promoted the Startup Life throughout the Stanford campus, took care of the general organizational things and prepared for the upcoming SXSW days. We also had a meeting with Jussi Valtonen another startup life intern in the area.
Jussi was able to give us some valuable insights on working around the valley.
On his mind the whole working mentality and the level of involvement are on a different level in the Valley. Every team member truly gives a full hundred percents, and there really isn’ a possibility to just tag along! Work is project based and really fast paced. As a part of a team you have a full responsibility, but also the possibilities are endless. For Jussi the internship has been a great window for gaining hardcore international experience. On his mind Startup Life internship is actually best described as Space Travel! You can never know what it’s like before you’ve really done it! But afterwards the feeling and experience gained are awesome!
The application period is still open until next wednesday! Sign up and see for yourself!!!