While looking for ways to find customer development interviewees, I stumbled on some slides by Jason Evanish, who leads product at KISSmetrics and recently authored a post about taking your 20s seriously that touched a nerve and landed on the frontpage of HN. I asked for clarification on a particular slide and my query sparked a conversation that moved from Twitter to email and ended with an offer to meet for coffee near his office in San Francisco. It’s so thrilling and helpful to talk with someone about the CustDev process who has actually done it before, so I leapt at the chance and booked a meeting for the first possible weekday. The meeting was great and I came away with actionable next steps and a new ally in the battle against just-do-it-style company building.
During our meeting, I referenced Voxer, the walkie talkie app, and Jason mentioned that they had offices in the same building as KISSmetrics. I had turned on Highlight, the ambient social network so polarizing that it has defender Robert Scoble nearly getting into fights, and its founder, Paul Davison, liked my status post.
There is something undeniably magical about being located in a hub buzzing with activity around something you love. I visited SF for a few hours and I got personalized advice from an authoritative source, a friendly social gesture from a notable founder, and the knowledge of further potential connections in the immediate vicinity should I have something worthy of connecting about. These are incredibly loose ties that you could argue don’t mean anything. You can walk by notable people all day and it won’t necessarily better your career, but it might be that a door has opened before you. If you can see the door, then you have manifested the opportunity to walk through it. One thing is certain: you’ll never find out if you don’t move forward.