How a Potluck Brunch Led to My New Job at Percolate

[well]Update: I realize this post makes it seem like moving to a new city and landing an awesome job was a walk in the park. It wasn’t. There was definitely lots of long days of networking, doing consulting work to bring in extra cash, coordinating with friends for new places to crash, and doubts about what the heck I was doing. I’m grateful to all the help I had along the way.[/well]

I moved to New York City in the second half of January as a free agent. I slept on couches, met up with dozens of people for coffee meetings, and explored a variety of opportunities within NYC tech.

After deeper conversations with a number of great companies including Meetup, Invision, and Skillshare, I ultimately decided to join the Growth Team at Percolate. I actually hadn’t heard much about Percolate before I moved to New York, but like many great opportunities, it emerged out of serendipity.

A Working Brunch

I was at a brunch co-hosted by my friend Derek of Greatist, where I met Sandeep, the cofounder of Delve News. We spent some time talking about his product, which is kind of like Reddit meets Yammer, in an email. Then we got onto the topic of my job exploration. I told Sandeep a bit about my background and interests, and he offered to introduce me to the cofounder of Percolate: Noah Brier.

I went home and looked at what Percolate does (technology that helps brands and employees create and publish better content and do it faster) and saw that they didn’t really have any product manager or marketing roles that interested me.

But as Sarah says, “always take the meeting with the big boss“.

You Never Know Where Coffee Will Take You

So I met Noah for coffee and we talked about Songza, content marketing, and a bunch of other things. He was smart, genuine, and ambitious. He told me he didn’t need another product manager, but he liked my startup and blogging background and asked if I had a few minutes to chat with some other folks at the company.

2.5 hours later, I had fascinating conversations with five other folks on the team – all friendly, sharp and interesting people. A few days later we met again: I got a demo of the product and they asked me join the growth/marketing team. It wasn’t an easy decision because I was excited about the other firms I was speaking with as well, but ultimately the opportunity to build a world class technology platform in content marketing, a space I am deeply invested in, just wasn’t something I could pass up.

I mentioned when I took on this new free agent status that I wanted a role in product, and I ended up joining the growth team. Why? Well, to quote the advice given to another very smart lady, “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.”

Just Getting Started

On March 10th, I sat down with the rest of the marketing team: Chris, Kym, Craig, Diego, Sofia, and Graydon for the first time. Onboarding at Percolate is really well thought out and something I hope to write about soon.

In my first two weeks I wrote two blog posts, saw the company announce a $24M Series B, tried to learn the names of my 100+ coworkers, gave my first team presentation, and downed numerous beers and several tequila shots with the team. The feeling of growth is ever present, from the constant shipping of new products and apps to the new business that closes on what seems like a daily basis.

Of course no company is perfect and while I know I’m in the honeymoon phase, I can still recognize that Percolate has many areas that could use significant improvement. Overall though, I’m very grateful and excited for this new adventure. I’ll of course keep you all posted on how things progress.

This blog post would not be complete without two plugs:

  • Brands: if you’re struggling to deal keep up with the pace and volume of content required to stay relevant, come learn how our technology could help you make 4x the content in half the time.
  • Talent: if you’re a really great designer, engineer, or business person in New York, San Francisco, London, or Austin and ready for an amazing adventure (and a chance to work with yours truly), come join the team.
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Jason Shen

Jason is a tech entrepreneur and advocate for Asian American men. He's written extensively and spoken all over the world about how individuals and organizations develop their competitive advantage. Follow him at @jasonshen.

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