Both Fastspot and Venture for America have words they aim to live by. And although those words might be different, their values and beliefs could not have been a better match.
This year, Fastspot joined the ranks of over 230 companies across the United States as Venture for America Company Partner. Venture for America is a non-profit program that places recent college graduates at startups in emerging cities to help build businesses, create jobs, and make an impact. But being a Company Partner goes far beyond committing to hire and train young professionals.
Individuals who join the program as Fellows are committed to upholding the Venture For America credos and I believe that Company Partners should help their Fellows stand by these values.
These credo statements are all very important to me and they’re one of the big reasons why I chose to apply for Venture for America. Just in my last few months of working at Fastspot, I’ve seen the values of Venture for America exemplified by not only the individuals that work here but by the company as a whole.
1. My career is a choice that indicates my values.
Making sure that my professional pursuits align with my values is how I’ve chosen all of my internships and jobs. And making the decision to come to Fastspot was no different. Some people might say that I have the tendency to be too selective about the companies I apply to work for, but I want everything I do to be an accurate reflection of who I am.
And although building websites might not seem like the most noble pursuit, the reasons why other people chose to work here, let me know that I would be surrounded by a community of people that saw this work as bigger than themselves.
“It’s just a website, we’re not saving the world. But you might think we are by the intensity of our conversations…At the root of it we just care. And it feels good to be passionate and help people.” - Kim Koenig
2. There is no courage without risk.
Everyday, all of the Venture for America Fellows live this out as they move to new cities and join companies with uncertain futures. And all of the Company Partners live this out as they chase their dreams. In other words, we all appreciate what it means to be an entrepreneur and we appreciate the people who support them.
Fastspot is a little older than most of the other Venture for America Company Partners, so the risks that we face are different. But fifteen years ago, we were in a similar place to many of the current Partners. Many of the people that work here now have been with Fastspot since the beginning, and have stuck by each other to make it into the company it is today.
That’s the kind of spirit I love. People who are in it for the long haul to build something great.
“I started when there were only five people, so it’s always been like a family.” - Tim Buckingham
3. Value creation is how I measure achievement.
Talk is cheap. And one of the reasons I love Fastspot is because it’s all about what you can do. No one cares where you went to school, what you studied, or what kind of degree you have. We have amazingly talented people from diverse backgrounds that together do fantastic work.
4. I will create opportunities for myself and others.
Although it isn’t articulated quite this way, I think this is at the center of how we do things that Fastspot.
One of the reasons I got to be an intern at Fastspot was because there are people here that were willing to give me an opportunity. Almost all of the people who work have backgrounds in either a design or development. And a good portion of them went to art school. I fall into none of those categories. But I still got to try.
I see this in the way that people here are constantly out in the community serving as judges for college startup competitions or as teachers at community programs. I see it in the way we view our projects and clients. We see every engagement as a chance to empower someone to tell their own story. A client is never just a set of hours or a deadline to be met, but people that we can help to be their best.
“Our job is to help our clients change. We’re not just creating websites for our clients, we’re helping them understand who they are. We’re helping them to become better storytellers and not just by us telling the story for them, but by empowering them to be those storytellers once our work is done.” - Tracey Halvorsen
5. I will act with integrity in all things.
Just as picking a job can be a reflection of who you are, your day to day actions also speak volumes. And a company’s day to day polices can also speak volumes about their character as well. From Fastspot’s everyday actions, I can say that we value the people who work for us and with us, we value great work, we value the ability to not take ourselves too seriously, and we value making ourselves the best we can be.
When I signed my Venture for America contract in January, I did not think that I was going to end up building websites with a fifteen year old company. And from an outside perspective, my experience might seem very different than that of my peers who are working at companies just getting off the ground. But I don’t think I could have found a company that exemplifies Venture for America more than Fastspot.
To learn more about Venture for America and to see the experience of both the fellows and founders, check out Generation Startup.