I’d be curious to know how you approached making this list for yourself?

Hey Tobin, happy to share some of my thinking at the time! Feel free to shoot me an email (brandon@pana.com) if any of this feels unclear.

1. Post-product/MVP, yet otherwise as early stage as possible (ideally 5–20 employees)

I thought that anything post-20 people would already feel like a completely different organization than the ‘early days.’

Des Traynor, one of the founders at Intercom, has a really insight here that even with linear headcount growth (e.g. going from 10 to 20 people), the # of interpersonal relationships that exist between employees grows exponentially. As a result, there’s an added level of complexity to group decision-making and processes that can make it feel completely different.

2. Location that is not Silicon Valley, NYC, Chicago, Boston, or Washington D.C (b/c Venture for America will only accept placements in an emerging city)

Venture for America, for me, was a non-negotiable because I had already committed to the program during my junior year of college. I believe(d) in their mission of revitalizing communities through entrepreneurship, and everything I heard from older UNC alumni doing VFA was incredibly positive. They all lauded the strong sense of community.

3. (In a dream scenario) a company that has gone through either Y Combinator or Techstars

I wanted to work somewhere that embraced the lean startup methodology, and my bet was that any company going through YC or Techstars would have either been selected for (originally) and/or developed (over time) the lean startup tactics and mentality of rapid iteration.

4. Non-technical hiring needs, particularly in sales and marketing or account management

I was a Religious Studies major, so these were really my only choices in terms of functional role :-)

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Brandon Wong’s story.