I’m not a huge fan of unsolicited advice, overthinking, defeatism, or mayonnaise. I wouldn’t have mentioned it if it wasn’t important.
An alumnus of the original High School of Performing Arts in New York City, I played Carnegie Recital Hall when I was twelve, having started formal piano lessons at the age of six. I was the kid who routinely disappointed my parents’ party guests by playing Brahms and Rachmaninoff when they were hoping for Billy Joel and Barry Manilow. Lacking the discipline to compete in a conservatory environment, I opted to grow my hair, play in rock bands and attend Hunter College, majoring in something that came naturally to me: creative writing. I confess to having had fantasies of being the coolest English professor imaginable, sort of like the main character in “Wonder Boys.”
I spent two semesters as a teacher’s assistant for my favorite professor of all time, graduated in 1990, then moved on to tutoring part time at Queensborough Community College Writing Center.
In 1992, I picked up and moved to San Francisco, where I embarked upon my corporate career. This led to a string of positions at organizations ranging from non-profits to global financial institutions. Somehow, I’ve managed to be the go-to guy for everything graphics-related, though I lack any “formal” visual design training. My father, however, was a professional advertising artist. Perhaps there is a correlation.
After a brief ten-year stint in New York as Director of Corporate Communications at a healthcare organization which ended unceremoniously via Blackberry, I returned to the West Coast and, ironically, to the non-profit sector, as Design and Information Technology Manager for BayBio, a biotechnology trade association in South San Francisco, before joining Quaddra Software, a San Jose startup building a very cool storage analytics and management tool to make sense of unstructured data and enable hybrid cloud scenarios.
I devoted some time to the Lean Startup Circle, a group dedicated to applying lean startup thinking and building lean startup leadership. If you’re interested in some trends and schools of thought within the startup community, it might behoove you to grab yourself a copy of Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup.
Throughout it all, when I find myself in Windows environments, I can’t stop myself from automating things, such as Microsoft Office, particularly Excel. If you happen to be using it, chances are I could give you back years of your life and save you untold sums of money in the process. Let me surprise you.