Evernote Accelerator Week One and Two

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Preamble #

The very first Evernote Accelerator is a 4 week no-equity program that resembles a seed accelerator. This accelerator was created for Evernote to showcase the winning Devcup 2013 finalist teams who set out to bring products from virtually nothing to producing an MVP, and to provide API, engineering, and design help. Some teams even pivoted their direction to iterate on the original product they won the Devcup with.

We spent 2 days before the start of the accelerator associating ourselves with our surroundings. The Oracle buildings are literally next door to our hotel and the giant body of water on their campus is fascinating with a huge fountain that turns on during the weekdays.

Oracle Campus

Accelerator Week 1 and 2 #

We were greeted on the first day in the office with this AMAZING mural created by Carlos, the graphic designer at Evernote. This is on the wall facing our desks and makes me so happy to see it .

Evernote office welcome-wall

My wicked setup for the Accelerator courtesy of Evernote - 27” Apple Cinema Display, wireless keyboard and trackpad.

Evernote office setup

We got these wicked Accelerator swag bags that came inside of a printed Evernote canvas bag containing an Evernote Accelerator sweatshirt, an Evernote t-shirt, and a few stickers.

Evernote accelerator swag

Oren Michels @ Mashery #

On the wednesday night of the first week we had Oren Michels from Mashery come speak to us about how they started and where their company is at now. Mashery is a service that creates APIs for companies with no experience or knowledge to create their own. The talk was not terribly exciting, but it was interesting nonetheless.

The first weekend #

Not knowing what to do, we headed out on an adventure in our rented mini-van. I finally got to visit the Tesla Motors dealership and sit inside of a Model S. As soon as I can afford it, I’m ordering one; this is now my life goal.

Tesla Model S at the dealership in Palo Alto

Gavin (driver seat) and I inside of the Model S. The dashboard and the centre console are mind blowingly huge. The car can remember seat positions of certain drivers and you can save profiles at the tap of a button.

Inside the Tesla Model S

…and then of course we got to visit the McLaren dealership. The McLaren MP4-12C is even more beautiful in real life than it is in any video game or on any episode of Top Gear.

McLaren MP4-12C

There is a giant spider on the roof because it was near halloween when we visited. Piss-poor location to put it if you ask me…

McLaren MP4-12C side-view

Guy Kawasaki at Evernote #

Tuesday morning, we had world-famous Guy Kawasaki come and speak to us about the top 10 mistakes he has personally seen entrepreneurs make. It was an amazing opportunity to meet the man that helped revitalize Apple by aiding in the marketing of the 1984 Macintosh.

My favourite saying/takeaway from his entire talk was his analogy and comparison of venture capital money to that of the drug crack.

“Don’t take crack unless you need to” Guy Kawasaki

Jason Calacanis at Evernote #

Arguably the father of the original web blog, Jason Calacanis came to Evernote wednesday evening of week two to film TWiST(This Week in Startups) and was interviewed by Rafe Needleman.

Walking in the Footsteps of Giants #

Friday was one of the biggest days in the Evernote Accelerator: it was our pitch at Sequoia Capital.

Myself and all the Accelerator class about to enter the Sequoia Capital building

I’ll start off by saying thank you Jun for some of your amazing photos! Follow him on Twitter, he’s a wicked photographer, and an interface designer for Biscuit.

When I signed up to be a developer for a company who pitched me a gig in their sweatpants, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. I was working for a real estate company building websites at the time and felt comfortable with my job. Little did I know the road I would inevitably choose in life would take me this far and more.

On November 1st, Gavin and I pitched the app Postach.io that is cofounded by himself and Shawn Adrian to Sequoia Capital at 3000 Sand Hill Road.

For those that don’t know (I didn’t before this trip), Sequoia Capital has had their hands in many of the largest tech companies around the world. To list a few: Apple, Google, YouTube, PayPal, Instagram, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Electronic Arts, Yahoo!, NVIDIA, Atari, Airbnb, Kayak, Meebo, Admob, Zappos, and LinkedIn.

Gavin Vickery and I prepping for the Sequoia pitch

Sitting in that boardroom freaked me out a little bit, but fortunately I didn’t have to deliver the pitch

Gavin Vickery pitching Roelof Botha

On the far left is Roleof Botha, a partner at Sequoia and sits on the board of many notable tech companies including Jawbone, Eventbrite, Instagram, Weebly, and most notably, Evernote and Tumblr. He listened to our pitch and provided some excellent feedback and even followed up with an email later in the day. How crazy is that?!

So far, my expectations have been blown out of the water completely in this Accelerator.

Blowing off steam #

To unwind after our crazy second week, we took to the track at K1-speed Electric Go-Karts near SFO airport. Holy shit… if you’ve never driven a go-kart before, this is the place you want to go in San Francisco! They have an official ranking system used to track and clock your lap times and if you go in a large enough group, you can buy a 3-race package which includes 12 practice laps, 14 time-trial qualifying laps, and a final 16 lap F1-style race!

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