Coast to Coast

My journey from Melbourne to California

G’day, and a happy belated Australia Day to all my fellow Aussies. I hope it was a good one. I know it’s been a tough few weeks in certain parts with all the bushfires, so here’s additional thoughts and prayers for things to get better.

For those who don’t know, I am Australian. If you’re from around there, I hear you need to start planting some trees to help repair what’s been damaged. If anyone else wants to help, consider making a donation via GoFundMe.

SABA SAYS ::: GO EXPLORE

I moved to the U.S in 2014 after getting accepted into my dream university, Stanford, to complete a post-graduate course in Global Management. Whilst it was an easy decision, it wasn’t an easy transition. I had pack up my room, shut down my business, give some tight hugs, get on a 24 hour flight, figure out how to drive on the other side of the road, and learn to speak slower.

Another thing I learnt was that a ‘furnished dorm’ included a mattress - but no pillow, sheets or blankets. Oops. Luckily, I had done some networking via Facebook Groups prior to coming and contacted Al Karim - who did the most gracious (yet evil) thing, and took me to Bed Bath & Beyond. Problem solved: yet wallet empty.

Point I’m trying to highlight here is, I think that Bay Area people can get a lot of slack for being arrogant, self-serving and elitist. Yet, within my first few hours and the rest of the trip there I felt anything but.

Yes, your Uber driver is likely going to pitch their startup to you, but the aspect of community there is pretty strong. It doesn’t beat Boston (#1 for sure!), but it’s up there.

Bay Area is great. Expensive, but worth it. Lots of homeless, but hopefully that’s changing. Needs more public transport, but at least it’s better than LA. And the food clearly compares to the quality+taste+authenticity you can find in Melbourne.

My favorite thing to do there, as cliche as it sounds is to cross the Golden Gate bridge...

…Day and Night.

SABA SAYS ::: STARTUPS RULE THE WORLD

During one of my lectures at Stanford, my kickass professor (Rebeca Hwang - one of the most amazing women I know) invited a guest speaker (wait till I tell you who it is), who brought his own special guest (CEO of Australia’s largest unicorn).

Needless to say, this was an incredible experience. I was star struct, learnt a ton, got madly inspired, and was so on my A game that I received a job offer by the end of the week.

“But, Saba, who are these people?”

  • Guest Speaker: Guy Kawasaki. A best-selling author, and Chief Evangelist of Canva, and previously Apple.

  • Guest Speakers Guest: Melanie Perkins: CEO and Co-Founder Canva.

Canva for me has been one of the best and most useful innovations in the last decade. As a designer (who grew up using Adobe Illustrator), turned marketer, the quality of the designs able to be made at lightning fast speeds is sensational. I can’t recommend it enough.

(FYI, I didn’t end up accepting the job as it meant leaving the U.S, and I had just got a taste of what the land of opportunity has to offer.)

(Photo: © Saba Karim)

SABA SAYS ::: READ THIS

Unlike any other book I have read, When Breath Becomes Air is a masterpiece, about Paul Kalanithi, a Stanford Neurosurgeon who shares his journey on battling stage IV lung cancer. It’s 'devastating and spectacular’, an emotional rollercoaster, moving and inspiring, and ever so powerful. Read it!


TALKING ::: TECHSTARS

Ironically, today I want to share with you details about our newly announced accelerator. The Techstars Future of Longevity Accelerator, which is run in partnership with Pivotal Ventures - a Melinda Gates founded organization.

We’ll be sourcing startups focused on innovative and creative caregiving solutions to address the unmet needs of individuals providing and receiving elder care. Please reach out if you’re interested in applying, or know someone who is.

POPULAR ::: POSTS

On dealflow…


On customer feedback…

THE ROSE ::: ACTIVITY

  • Thorn: As hard as I try not to, my email inbox keeps turning into my to do list. I’m receiving 50-60 emails per day and it’s killing my productivity. How do you avoid interruptions during the work day? Suggestions appreciated.

  • Rose: Another brown immigrant just became CEO of a large American corporation. Arvin Krishna becomes CEO of IBM, joining Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, Sundar Pichai of Google and Alphabet, Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, and Satya Nadella of Microsoft.

  • Bud: Related to the above, although my goal isn’t to become the CEO of a large corporation - because I love startups and disruption too much 😉, seeing people that look like me gives me hope that I too can make a bigger impact one day.

“These young guys are playing checkers. I'm out there playing chess.”
– Kobe Bryant, (1978 - 2020)

#RIPKobe and all the victims in the devastating crash on Jan 26th.

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