“Don’t offer to ‘get on a call’. Get on a jet” – Jason Lemkin, Founder of SaaStr (https://www.saastr.com/)
I always love going to America. It’s often completely different from what you expect, and I always come back feeling like I’ve had a glimpse into the future.
A few weeks ago my wife George and I went to the US with our good friend and advisor Bruce MacTaggart. The purpose of the trip was to interview customers of Strea.ma and gather feedback so we can improve it. This is a really important part of having a successful SaaS product. Most of our customers are based overseas and we rarely get the chance to talk to them face to face. Airfares are so cheap at the moment that it makes it a no-brainer, especially now that Air New Zealand flies direct to San Francisco, LA, and Houston. The flight to Houston really opens up the whole of the south, including Mexico and the Caribbean, and Texas is really cranking. Austin, the state capital, is growing by 70,000 people every year and unlike Auckland it has plenty of room to expand.
In Austin we met the team at Capital Factory, a start-up incubator and we had a meet-and-greet with Michael Brown, director of innovation at SXSW, the huge festival for business, entertainment, education, and lifestyle that is held in Austin every year. We got taken out for authentic Texas barbecue lunch by WP-Engine, our web hosting suppliers. We also had the good fortune to be entertained at Gaylord Hotels’ 2000-room Opryland resort in Nashville, Tennessee, on the same weekend as the Country Music Awards and the NHL ice hockey finals. I bought a cowboy hat in Nashville and wore it for the rest of the trip.
And we finished up by meeting Josh and Eyal at Property Matrix, who are clients of Mogul’s UI/UX services, in Culver City, Los Angeles. The electric car revolution is well underway, especially in LA. Josh and Eyal took us out to lunch in a Tesla Model S. 100% electric, not a hybrid. When Eyal put his foot on the gas (I mean, the ‘go’ pedal) we took off so fast my sunglasses flew off my head. We parked in a special electric-only car park (no parking meter) with chargers that charge the car up for free in 40 minutes (a full charge gives you 400km range). After that, we were noticing Tesla cars everywhere. Now I really want one.