When I was 9 years old, my dad quit his job. He was in his 40's at the time, and my mom was homeschooling my brother and me full time. In other words, we had $0.00 monthly income.
Of course, my father didn't quit his job to sit on his ass all day; he started his own business. My dad has the heart of entrepreneur. He is great with people, and he is fiercely independent. At the same time, quitting your 9-5 job in your mid-forties with two young kids is going to be difficult.
I saw my parents struggle for ten years. My mom had to go back to college to get her Masters in Teaching so she could get a decent job. Meanwhile, she worked full time in retail, while my brother and I attended "real" school for the first time in our lives. My dad was so stressed out that he left us for a brief period. This is not a pretty story with a romantic ending; this is real life.
Until 10th grade, I have no recollection of a peaceful interaction between my parents. Before that point, I only remember fighting, yelling, and mistrust between them. I don't know exactly what this taught me other than the fact that being an entrepreneur is stressful. It made me rebellious, it made me mad, and it made me sick, but what the hell could I do? I was in Jr. High. I was just starting to figure out that there were girls; that school mattered; that life was hard.
In high school, much of this changed. My parents moved back in with each other. My mom was making just enough money to keep food on the table, and my dad's business was finally taking shape. It wasn't easy, but it was life. I never expected my parents to give me allowance. I started to work at the corner grocery store the day I turned 15 (the legal working age) for $5.17 per hour. I made all A's in school, and played football for four years (although I was admittedly an awful athlete).
I don't say any of this to illicit pity. I've have never expected pity or sympathy from others. I only say this to tell you that being an entrepreneur is hard. That's why I love it. I'm not the kind of person who seeks the easy road. If I were, I would work for GE, making widgets for laundry machines (my first internship).
Because I realized at a young age that things are not handed to you, I can't see myself being anything other than an entrepreneur. In some ways my father is an inspiration to me. We have long talks about running a business every week or two, and I love learning from his mistakes and successes. In other ways, my mother is an inspiration to me. When my dad left to pursue his passion, she stayed painfully loyal, and I deeply respect that.
Anyway, that's my story. After 4 and a half years of college, two years of internships, and one year of owning my own business, I regret nothing. Every piece of my life has led me to where I am now, and I love it. My final question for you:
Do you love what you do?
Here is a list of presents that I'd really like to see before the next christmas:
1. Make content searchable. There was that great post I read and now I cannot find it anymore. People search is great, just as much as content search!
2. Interest-based sharing. I spent hours curating my circles and now I have VCs posting their kids' pictures and high-school friends posting about technology, help!
3. Make sparks useful or get rid of them. I never clicked on a spark since I added them, integrate them in the stream or get rid of the crappy stuff (see link).
Thanks! I promise I'll be a good boy!
I'm watching a range of these new kinds of apps. Like Highlight, Sonar, Banjo, etc. This one caught my eye for a couple of reasons. 1. It's also on Android and iPhone. 2. It doesn't show "freaky" map details about where you are or were. 3. It tries to filter out people who wouldn't be interesting to you so noise level stays down. 4. It is more efficient on battery than the others because it doesn't need to so perfectly hit the GPS. Anyway, here the founder spends a lot of time talking to me about this new genre. These apps will be hot at SXSW and are already spreading through San Francisco like wildfire. Get Glancee here: http://www.glancee.com/
I previously interviewed Highlight: http://youtu.be/1RTWry5hSTk I like Highlight because it's faster and it includes maps, which is cool for someone like me who doesn't care that you know exactly where I am but I know it freaks some people out.
In San Francisco I can already tell that both have their fans.
At SXSW these apps are going to be very hot as a way to meet people and make meetings.
I'm loving these apps, mostly because everyone on them right now is a major geek. That will change as these things go from the "tech bubble" crowd of early adopters to a more mainstream audience.
Anyway, more on what I think about these two apps soon.
- Product Manager, 2012 - present
- GlanceeFounder and CEO, 2010 - 2012
- Software Engineer Intern, 2010 - 2010
- Santa Fe InstituteResearch Scientist Intern, 2009 - 2009
- Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyResearch Scientist, 2007 - 2009
- University of Illinois at ChicagoComputer Science, 2006 - 2008
- Politecnico di MilanoComputer Engineering, 2002 - 2008
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