I came to the valley in 2002 in the wake of dot-com crash. I just graduated college and ended up at Berkeley studying intellectual property law and building file-sharing networks out of the information school there, and what I was really interested in was this weird world in which children were getting sued by giant corporations (Napster and alike). Then I made the very good choice not to become a lawyer and went and decided to write a bunch of code for the internet archive instead. Spent a bit of time there in building out web crawlers and large-scale big data storage stuff. That was an interesting experience. Afterwards I started a social-local-mobile startup, but it didn’t quite take off.
I found this little company called Pivotal Labs and ended up spending quite a few years there, learning how to be an engineer and then ultimately learning how to build a company. After a meaningful acquisition [of Pivotal] I got an offer to be a VC, so about a year after working for the new company, I jumped over to the venture side and have been working in it for about five years now. It's been fun, and a really valuable learning experience. Today I spend time helping companies.
These were all good jobs and experiences at the time that I took them. You could plan a career path and what you will do first, and the next thing, and the next thing… but at least in my experience, life sort of happens.
I met these Internet Archive people through a professor that I was working with and then I started a company with some people I've met in grad school, and then I found these pivotal folks because I had this real problem, and a guy that worked for me was like oh, I know I was reading books and you should just talk to these guys, they know what they're doing and so forth. I think these things have sort of happened to me, these opportunities that presented themselves, and they've all been wonderful for where I was at and where I wanted to go.
Pivotal, for example, in many ways these are the best people that I ever worked with but when I left, it was just a great time for me leave. I had this opportunity to go into venture, to learn about new stuff.
Hopefully we’re all growing as we go and the answer to what is “the best” changes along the way.
Transcript in progress...