PIE Day 1

Hello there followers of Switchboard. Mara here. It’s been a while hasn’t it? There have been some exciting developments afoot. Allow us to share.

Switchboard was accepted to Wieden + Kennedy’s Portland Incubator Experiment. This means we are given mentors, money, office space and free beer and popsicles (I am not kidding) over the next three months as we hatch. I’ll be documenting the process here. Follow along if you’re interested to see how Switchboard goes from an idea sketched in a Moleskine one morning during brunch with a friend to a useful product your community can use.

Yesterday was (my) official first day. Some highlights: 

1. I went to a ruckus tech party at the new, beautiful office space of Puppet Labs (founded by Luke Kaines ’96). It’s a giant geek loft with vintage video games and conference rooms named after Muppet characters.

Also, I present my first utilikilt sighting without commentary: 

I took refuge for a bit  in their library and spent some time with Paul Graham’s Hackers & Painters.  This quotation about empathy and hacking resonated.

2. I listened to a podcast from Asana founder Justin Rosenstein called “Leading Big Visions from the Heart,” from the Stanford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders series. He said this thing that I’ve never heard a founder say: 

"I think that the common success metric that companies use to determine whether they are doing the right thing is something like page views or…minutes spent on the site. And I think they do that not out of malice but because it is the easiest thing to measure...And yet I would be much happier to have a product that people are are spending five minutes on per day instead of 20 minutes on per day if those five minutes would make them happier. In fact that would be much, much better because it means they can get back to their lives.”

Sean and I often look at the minutes spent on Switchboard and, like Justin, we’re really psyched when that number goes down.