Fresh in San Francisco: Once-in-a-lifetime |10-day |experience

Tech April 02, 2017 06:32

By PONGLADA PANIANGWET
SPECIAL TO THE NATION 

FRESHKET, an agricultural-technology marketplace for restaurants and suppliers to connect with one another with ease, was the winner of dtac Accelerate's Batch 4 last year. As an award for being the best-performing start-up, we received a mentorship programme from Google Launchpad, catered specifically for us. 



Being in San Francisco for this programme was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I would like to share it with everyone. 

Until the first day that we arrived at Google Launchpad, I had to say I planned for things to flow naturally, and not systematically planning in advance. 

I wanted everything to be real. So 11 mentors asked us loads of questions and gave us many useful comments. We divided into three teams, which were business, tech, and operation. 

For the business team, we had four mentors to give us guidance. 

The first question asked was, "Who is your customer?" which got us discussing this for two hours. We thought we knew who our customers were, but this question got us thinking deeper about whether we were sure we knew our customers well, and why we chose them to be our target customers. 

Even though we worked every day, finding new information and opportunities all the time, we had to admit that we did not filter our customers thoroughly. It just was not good enough. 

When we were first asked this question, we were confident, but after hearing many voices and ideas, we started to rethink. There was no right or wrong answer because each mentor gave us different opinions and reasons. 

They did not just give us plain answers. Instead, what they did was guide us to think in aspects we had not touched on before. No matter what the answer might be, it was for us to decide. We needed to clarify the decision of each choice we made, with every single thing that we did. Each answer had its own path, and the path we chose would decide the direction we would head in. 

This exercise was valuable to us, because it got us thinking more clearly than before and helped us to focus on the direction Freshket was heading towards.

Only a few hours into the mentoring session, we were blown away. 

In the next article, I will share more on the second day of the workshop, how intense it was and how we improved from the first day, along with more awesome experiences and lessons we've learned on the trip.

Ponglada Paniangwet is chief executive officer and co-founder of Freshket.