Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fellow Blog Series: The Sun Never Sets on the Driptech Fellow (Part Three)

Mountain View, CA, USA 06:00 PST
Jessica Martin

“A single entry bond covers only one entry through U.S. customs. The bond amount is for the F.O.B (otherwise known as Freight on Board) value plus duties rounded to the next hundred. The charge for the bond is $4.00 per $1,000 of the bond amount with a minimum of $40.”

Ok, I think to myself. So that means a $25,000 bond would cost (I jot the calculation down)

$25,000/$1,000= 25*$4.00=$100.

So at what point would a continuous bond prove to be cost effective for us? I shuffle back through our customs invoices…

Jean: Jess…Jess.

Me: Yes, I say as I shake myself from the computer screen and take a break from the various intricacies of importing into the U.S. I take a look at the piece of paper Jean hands me from across the desk. It’s her latest draft of the job description (JD) for the China and India business development positions we are trying to fill in the next month or two. Along, with designing a system to manage our supply-chain, I’ll have a hand in hiring as well, mainly by narrowing down which recruiter in India, if any, we feel comfortable hiring to help us with our search for a local business development manager.

I‘m nearly through reading the JD when Peter bursts out of his office with a clap of his hands and a big smile. “Just had a great call with a potential investor!" Since I arrived at Driptech at the end of February, Peter has been busy with cultivating investors for the company’s Series A investment round while simultaneously growing the business. His days have been filled with investor calls and pitches from early in the morning to late into the evening. It’s not uncommon to have one or two of these potential financiers drop by for a tour of our part office, part engineering workshop, and part factory tucked in a discrete commercial-neighborhood of Mountain View.

Driptech’s mini-milestones and not so mini-milestones have been helpful in attracting attention from investors and the pace at which we continue to accumulate these milestones seems to be picking up. The day I started here at Driptech I was greeted by a blurry-eyed but triumphant looking group as I entered the office for the first time. The team had all been in since before 7am that morning packing punched tubing into a 40 foot shipping container. This marked Driptech’s very first full container shipment to India, or the most tubing sent to fill an order in India yet. You can watch Peter’s “Smashing Send-Off” here.

Whit loading Driptech's first full container

Back at my days as a research analyst on Wall Street, growth expansion was just a phrase to determine what bucket an investment fell into, but the phrase is much more tangible to grasp as it plays out here everyday before my eyes. Not a day has gone by since I started that a strategically important decision didn’t have to be made. The atmosphere reminds me of the summer after 3rd grade when my shoe size jumped from a kids size 12 to a woman’s size 6. My mom ran out to buy me new sneakers but was reluctant to invest in a new pair of dress shoes for fear I would jump another size by the end of summer. My project around supply chain management begs similarly ambiguous questions like, what are the right solutions, at what prices, that will work today but will also be dynamic enough to evolve with the company in the future? However, unlike my shoe conundrum, this project I think will be slightly more challenging but exponentially more exciting.

My day on the production line far from the subways, skyscrapers, and pinstripe suits of Wall St.

The sun has set here in California. All the managers have gone into Peter’s office to huddle around the computer for the weekly global managers call. I decide to head home to catch a bite to eat before jumping on a 10 o’clock call with a recruiter in India.

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