Last month we took a trip to California for a group of meetings ranging from tech to fashion to relationship. One of our stops was THE FACTORY. I didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into, but parking on the deep hills of San Fransisco Billionaire Row and walking into what seemed to just be another lavish Victorian, turned out to be so much more.
Opening the door ever-so-non-chalantly was Tom Chi (Program Manager - Microsoft, Senior Director - Yahoo, Founder - Google X, CoFounder - Magna Labs, and current CPO - The Factory). From there we were whisked away into their Coffee and Tea room, where we met MiMi.
MiMi is the kind of un-assuming, kill you in your sleep, kind of girl. Petite / Gentle / Polite - yet holds more power than anything you could ever imagine. The master of marketing and connections including everyone from Coca-Cola to Third Eye Blind (and everyone else in between). We talked business, future, education, startup procedure, we ran the whole spectrum of conversation before that lead into the tour. And quite the tour it was.
You see; The Factory is an old Victorian Mansion that has now been transformed into a CIA like headquarters for the worlds top business innovators and bad-asses. Equipped with a 24 hour Batista, Hyperbolic Chambers with controlled melatonin lighting for optimal sleeping, a very literal in house Safe Room with 14 inch concrete walls surrounding on all sides (where you are locked in the dark if you are having a disagreement or need to re-connect), a Tea Room with calming walking stones leading to a lifted wood based Indonesian style tree house with floor pillows for contemplating, and every other crazy thing you could even think of.
We were in the Mecca of Innovation. We were in the Mecca of Creation.
And that's exactly how they like it. Here’s how things work at the Factory: A team of around 20 people will work on three or four products at a time, launch them, tweak them, find a market — and then recruit a separate group of people to run those companies and take them to the next level. “The goal here is to iterate quickly,” MiMI says. And - in a novel twist to start-up incubation, EVERYONE at The Factory will have equity in any of the companies being spun out.
The future has arrived; and its offices have a quarter-pipe in the living room and no one wears suits.
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