When I was sixteen, I departed on an adventure of a lifetime - a summer exchange program in Paris. While I was flying over the Atlantic, my host family decided to take a vacation to Greece and the program team scrambled to find a home for me before I landed. And that is how I ended up with an Italian family who spoke little English, or French for that matter, with no children my age. It was a bumpy start and my host family noticed. I overhead them report to my professor, "Elle mange comme un petit oiseau." I was in the 19th arrondisement, an hour journey from my school with multiple metro changes. My host mother washed my clothes and they all turned out pink; and, I was at an amazing school (Stanislas - alma mater of Charles de Gaulle, Jacques Cousteau, Christian Dior) that took us all over the city - but I didn't know enough French (or was too shocked) to understand where I was or where I was going.
By the end of the trip, I was dreaming in French. I found awesome new (non-pink) clothes in the markets near Galeries Lafayette and an appreciation for French rap in the aisles of the FNAC. I walked through Van Goghs' fields in Auvers, stared at and re-enacted Rodin's Le Penseur, studied Picasso's blue period and surrealism, and visited Jim Morrison's grave at Père Lachaise. We ate truffles, discovered Kronenbourg 1664 and Gauloises, and acted like grown ups at a classical concert in Saint-Chapelle. We introduced our French friends to James Brown, the Macarena, and in return they taught us every slang term any highschooler could want to know.
It was a journey that changed my life. That changed me and my interests forever.
And that is how I would describe my journey from entrepreneur to corporate world.
One year plus one month of life in the Silicon Valley asa recovering entrepreneur, and I'm quite happy. The journey has been humbling, challenging, and a great growth opportunity. I came in very self-aware, cautious of my boldness, and unsure of how my talent would fit in. In a lot of ways, I felt underdeveloped and in fewer ways I felt overqualified - an interesting mix, but one that I hear is very common.
One year later, I still have a lot to learn but I'm comfortable and happy. While I miss entrepreneurship and the businesses I built (especially the people involved), I am very confident in my decision. I will write more about my journey soon, but in the meantime, I've found inspiration all over the web and in life lately and wanted to share.
Inspiration Found in the Midwest
- Mobile Media Summit in Chicago (#MMSChicago2014).
Matt Biespiel, Sr. Director Global Brand Development at McDonald's told us how McDonald's conquered the World Cup. It was amazing to hear how their team used mobile, art, culture, and music in their campaign. And I loved the point he made that we, as a culture, are really into art right now. Technology has drawn us closer to it.
Matt talked about the creation of this video. As a global campaign, the video had to eliminate the need for translation. And Matt noted that the creative brief they wrote pointed out, "if it feels like a commercial, we've failed." Love it.
- Mad Women.
A trip to Minneapolis had me in awe of the community there. I met the founder of MPLS Mad Women, who started the group last September as a "broad circle of support, professional development and networking for women working in advertising and related fields." The group has grown to 800 women in just 10 months - just in Minneapolis. Way to go ladies - and major props to Alison & Courtne!
- Little Free Libraries.
As I strolled through Minneapolis, I kept noticing little boxes with books in them. They looked like birdhouses - each painted by their owner and filled with free books for passerbys to take. I'veheard of the movement but had never seen one. They are everywhere in Minneapolis, and it was so fun to check them out. One box would be full of new age books, the next children's books.
Inspiration (& Entertainment) Found on The Web
All text below contains links. Excuse my current blog formatting!
- How startups such as Dropbox, Airbnb, Groupon and others acquired their first users. All marketers should read this. (Reddit)
- 7 Marketing Diagrams That Explain Content Marketing. Great reference by@orbiteers.
- Traditional Marketing vs Growth Hacking. Make a product people want vs. make people want a product.
- ShotHotSpot helps you find the best photography location
- Skillshare - I just discovered it! Great concept - these two classes caught my eye:
Hacking Virality: A design-centric approach to building sustainable viral growth(here)
PES (my favorite stop motion artist) is teaching aclass on stop motion. Here's the trailer:
- Hilarious.Discover the saddest, most lonely tweets you've tweeted. (via@swissmiss)
If anything in this post inspires you, I've accomplished my goal.
Before I sign off, I'd like to say my thank you's. To start, I'd like to thank California for much needed sunshine, friendly faces, and an amazing lifestyle. One big huge thank you goes to my team and colleagues for taking me in with patience and grace. And a very special thank you to Lisa C for opening her arms and network to me and for making me feel at home.