Avocode at 500 Startups; Week #9: We're on our own

Mission #1

“Take over and don’t fu*k up”

It’s quite a weird feeling to have a 1000m2 office on the top floor of the highest building in Mountain View almost to yourself. Most of the people weren’t showing up lately and the office was almost empty.

On Monday, Vu was talking to investors in the city and Bolek was setting up his new MacBook (which he finally managed to pick up) so it was just me and a couple of other loners.

Starting Tuesday, Bolek and I were supposed to stay here to represent Avocode for 3 weeks without any of our founders, because Vu left to Prague to sync with the team at our HQ.

Vu's goodbye barbecue party. 100% halal.

How did we do?

We’ve sent out a wave of decently successful e-mail reminders about Avocode 2.8 update. We’ve also presented the past week numbers to Nemo and got many valuable insights (as always — Thank you Nemo!).

We also deployed our first paid ad campaign. Here's the key visual:

The campaign has been running for almost a week now and we already noticed a significant increase in our sign-ups. I guess this means: Mission accomplished.

Mission #2

“Let your guest host us.”

Okay, we didn’t really plan for this one, but that’s how it turned out. We hosted Petr Béla (Ex-CTO @Chute) and his friend Nikola. Instead of us taking care of them, they took a great care of us (#mamabears).

This was waiting for me on the kitchen table every morning:

Thank you guys, good luck on your next adventures (and please come any time again).

Mission #3

“See the tallest trees in the world.”

As usual we wanted a bit of adventure during the weekend. Together with Alison we drove to the Muir Woods National Park in the north of San Francisco.

On our way there we found out that the parking lot in the park was so full, that we had to take a shuttle for the rest of the way. We drove to Pohono, where we waited an hour in line for the bus and then finally got to the Park (by 3pm).

This was nothing like Czech National Parks which are meant for people to actually go in, bike, hike and enjoy the quiet nature.

In Muir Woods, there is a boardwalk trail for no more than 3 miles with signs all over it not to step on the actual park soil. In short: the UX of American national parks is super polished, so people can only come in, eat, take pics and not walk for too long. That translates to hundreds, maybe thousands of visitors that are pretty much covering every inch of that boardwalk.

Maybe it's not the best idea to go to a National Park on a weekend before 4th of July…

Altogether we spent about two hours in the park itself and 7 hours on the journey there and back.

These pics look quite peaceful, but trust me, it took some effort to cut out all those people from the frame.

It’s great to look at something different than your laptop screen for a change.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still worth it. We had a great time anyway. We tried to filter out all that yelling and kids chatter and clear our minds for a bit.

The red woods that are 116m tall and 2000 years old on average were stunning. The main difference between Red Woods and Sequoias is that they are taller but their trunk is much slimmer, but still pretty damn huge. Like this:

Mission #4

“Don’t get caught.”

On Sunday we organized a little Frisbee chill session in the park behind our house. Alex (CEO @Beauty Date) and Robert (Venture Partner @500 Startups) showed up. Rob brought an Aerobie, a super fast frisbee, that was invented by a Stanford profesor Alan Adler.

Though we were running quite fast we could not escape the law.

A little while after Rob left, a park ranger stopped by in his truck.

“Excuse me, is that alcohol that you carry?” he asked.

“Yep” I replied.

See, we thought that if we had it covered it’s OK. You, know we’ve seen that in the movies). How Czech of us….

“The rule is that you cannot “open-carry” alcohol in this park. If you have a container of an alcoholic beverage, it has to be empty.”

“So I just spill it, is that ok?” I said.

“Well, unless you want me to give you a ticket right here right now.” he reached for his pocket.

By then I was already spilling my beer on that green lawn in front of his eyes.

He also made us immediately take rest of the (closed) beer back home, only because we live right next to the park. Otherwise it would again be a ticket.

“Aight folks, I appreciate the cooperation” he said on the way back to his truck.

“Thank you sir, next time we’ll know better.”


Matt out. 🎤💥

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