San Francisco, Day 1

Our trip to the Bay Area last week was action packed, to say the least. After a long drive from Eugene to San Francisco, we had an evening to rest up before our first day of business visits. FSAC split from the main group to conduct their own visits (look for another post soon!), LCE and CSBP hit the ground running with the executives from Ticketfly. CFO Bob Komin is a relatively new addition to the Ticketfly team, but as a UO undergrad alum, he was more than happy to share his experience with our group, and give us advice on how to maximize the power of our MBA.

Klout was second on our agenda, and provided us with a fantastic visit that helped us understand what it’s like to be part of the San Francisco startup scene.  Students enjoyed learning about Klout’s mission of “empowering every person by unlocking their influence.”  During our visit, we also learned about the company’s formation, and its goals for the near future.  Students also learned about the importance of social media in today’s society and the influence each Facebook and Twitter user can generate through sharing content. The reward-based gamification of social media via Klout was also very interesting, as it provides incentive for individuals to target their online interactions in order to achieve personal gain.

The next startup on our schedule was Dropcam. At Dropcam, we observed a great example of “recognizing business opportunities”, as the co-founders explained how they sort of fell into their company by initially trying to help out their parents. They then went on to explain the challenges of ensuring that their product could add value for their customers, and the difficulties they faced as they tried to segment markets, and straddle the line between producing hardware and providing software for their customers.

After Dropcam, we visited Equilibirum Capital, a visit that has been highlighted in detail here. Then we were off to the Capital One Innovation Center for an interactive group exercise with Josh Greenough, another UO alum. Josh focused a great deal on the innovation that is taking place nowadays with the increasing prevalence of mobile technology and transactions. He also discussed the role his team plays at Capital One, which is intriguing because they serve as an incubator inside of a much larger banking entity– two groups with very different levels of risk tolerance.

Although our first day was not finished yet (still on the docket was a wonderful dinner at the Century Club), our official business visits were complete. And in spite of the hectic scheduling, I think that everyone felt stimulated by the fast pace and excitement of San Francisco and its rapidly evolving tech environment, and hungry for more (and also that dinner at the Century Club!).

Written by Andrew White

Andrew is an MBA Candidate in the Center for Sustainable Business Practices. A native of Massachusetts, he came to UO to refine his business skills and build his expertise in the sustainability arena. His primary interest is in helping organizations implement environmentally and socially sustainable strategies for long-term success, and he is a regular participant on many of the MBA intramural sports teams.