First mistake: I arrived in a suit. Well not a full suit with a jacket and tie, but leather shoes, suit pants and a tucked in business shirt, which is still definitely way too much for Pollenizer. I don’t think Polly (colloquial term for Pollenizer obviously) has a dress code written down anywhere, but if it did it would probably say something like “dress like a uni student” and “no velcro sandals with socks” just because that’s never okay. The uni student thing is very convenient for me because I just so happen to be one, and I’m interning at Pollenizer for 6 weeks.
Rule Number 2: No velcro sandals with socks
Most of the other students in my course (commerce, don’t judge me) ended up getting big-wig internships at corporations in the city. Instead, I was placed at Pollenizer…”What’s Poll-izer?” people would ask me since it obviously wasn’t a big 4 accounting firm, consulting firm or one of the banks. I would try to explain, but somehow I knew that everyone I explained the business to didn’t quite get it.
Despite the commerce student desire to go to a big corporate, I was actually incredibly happy to be allocated to Pollenizer. I’m very interested in the startup community, and I even came to the Pollenizer open day last October 2012 before I even knew I was interning here, totally by coincidence. So being allocated here instead of a bank (more what I was bracing myself for) was a very nice surprise.
Usually in internships you’re the one who does the photocopying and gets all the coffees. Luckily Pollenizer is a tech business and shares everything online, so no photocopying for me! In regards to the coffees, when I arrived on my first day, there was a bit of confusion. I was chatting with Rob Love (GM of Product and Engineering) and then Nicola Farrell (Office Manager) came up to us and asked “Lawrence, have you done the coffee thing already?”, and sadly my mind immediately clicked into intern mode. Obsequiously I replied “Oh you want me to get the coffees? Sure!”. She wasn’t asking me to get coffees though. Pollenizer has this online form which everyone fills in on Monday morning to select their coffee, and Nicola was asking if I had filled it in already. Imagine that, someone asking an intern if they had made their coffee order. Things were definitely going to be different around here.
I was interning directly under Phil, which meant I wasn’t going to be focusing on a particular business they were building, but rather on a whole bunch of things that Phil was looking at. I spent my first week doing research into the startup ecosystems of South-East Asian countries. This was relevant for Pollenizer as they had expanded into Singapore and are trying to gain more knowledge of what’s going on in SEA.
At 4pm on Friday we had something called Cross-Pollenization which is basically a forum at the end of the week where people can share their work for the week and gain feedback from the Polly family. It’s all in an informal setting in the garage-turned-community-room with some drinks. Afterwards we spilled out onto the lane way next to the building and played some handball, a tradition at Pollenizer. If I had still been wearing my suit like at the start of the week it would have been difficult, but by Friday I had regressed into shorts and thongs.
The next week I was helping out with the analytics for Pollenizer’s new website. The new website was going up soon and there were certain funnels and events that needed to be set up. This was a great exercise for me because I could easily see that what I was doing was something that was actually useful. Also it was knowledge which I would be able to use on my own websites. I’ve made pretty basic websites in the past for my photography or for friends and I’ve never really tracked specific events or goals so this was interesting.
It’s been 2 weeks and I have enjoyed my time so far here at Pollenizer. The work is interesting, ‘The hive’ is a nice working space, and I’m learning plenty of things which are useful for my own projects. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to intern really.
TL;DR Pollenizer is a cool place to intern.