Bringing the Boardroom to the Board

Sometimes the best way to make business decisions is to take the meeting offsite. And for these executives that means getting on a surfboard.

The Bay Area is known more for its brilliant minds than its righteous waves. But that hasn’t stopped many of the region’s top entrepreneurs from bringing the boardroom to the board.

In a great piece from 7×7 magazine, the minds behind some of California’s best start-ups, like Salesforce, Carve and AdRoll, make some of their best business decisions on the water.

“’We decided to sell our first company to Salesforce.com while on the water. That was over several, several surfing sessions,’” recalls Sean Whiteley in the story, who says he and partner Kraig Swensrud’s time on the water has been instrumental in solidifying their business relationship and has informed many recent business decisions. 

“The longtime friends grew up in beach cities on opposite coasts, sharing the same passion for the water. They moved to SF during the dot-com boom and, most recently, created the survey application GetFeedback, which they sold to Campaign Monitor seven months ago. Swensrud currently works as chief marketing officer for the company. 

“Making time to get into the water has been a challenge over the past 10 years, Swensrud and Whiteley say, but they use the time to hold mini board meetings and work through the minutiae of office life. Swensrud says surfing isn’t about having that ‘massive aha moment,’ but when they’re out on the water, they can discuss the bigger picture without distractions.

“’When you’re in the office and you have whiteboards full of sketches and you’ve got wireframes up on the wall, you’re nitpicking on all these little things. You can’t do that out here. We talk about things at a higher level.’”

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