8.06.2007

Here goes...

Hello, world!

This blog is something I've been wanting to do for a while now. I can't tell you how many times I thought "you know, I should start a blog." But nothing came of it. Unfortunately, this became a theme for me- many things I've wanted to do or thought I would do, but never actually invested the time and effort to accomplish. That apathy ends today.

You see, today was a big day in my life. But in order to explain, I should back up a few years. Back in school, I studied engineering and business. I loved the program I was in and particularly enjoyed discussions about moments in history where technological innovation transformed human life as we knew it. I often dreamed of sparking such a moment- of changing the world for the better by unleashing the power of technology. I've had more ideas on how to do so than I can count, but often lacked the confidence and conviction to execute on them.

I became convinced that I was just shy on experience and that with a little "business" training, I would be ready to chase my dream. This lead me to the worlds of financial services and consulting- respectable professions and great training, but also quite conservative by their very nature. I often enjoyed my work- it was intellectually challenging and my coworkers were great. In a short time, I came to think that maybe this could be the path for me. But at the end of the day there was always something missing. I ploughed on for a bit longer, pretending to be content, but my frustration grew and became apparent, especially to those closest to me. And eventually, I just stopped getting excited about my work altogether. This killed me- I was never the type to not care; it just wasn't in my DNA. Then, one night, working late in a hotel room, I realized the core of the problem: I was settling.

So, I started interviewing in various fields I thought I might enjoy and could be successful in- VC, PE and the like. In the back of my mind, though, I still had these unshakable dreams of leading technological transformation, being on the cutting edge and seeing what others couldn't. I tried to convince myself that VC might be good for me, but the more I justified that was, the more I realized that exciting as VC could be, it would only be a half-step, another form of settling. VC can keep you up-to-date, but never REALLY cutting edge. By definition, to invest in something, someone else must have thought of it first. I just couldn't settle for "good enough" again.

My turning point came when an alumnus of my last employer asked me to interview for his group. He worked in strategy for one of the internet giants and I thought to myself "now, THIS could be cool!" I started interviewing with his group and felt an unusual sensation- after each interview I left, well, excited! I started talking about the opportunity with my friends and found myself going on and on about the state of the industry, although I seemed to always end with "granted, they're not [COMPETITOR], but who is?"

It didn't take long to realize how stupid that statement was. I idolized COMPETITOR. I wrote half of my thesis on them. I was an adamant user of their products. So why was I wasting my time with anyone else?

I pulled up COMPETITOR's website and began searching through job postings. Within 20 minutes I found five I was interested and I sent off an application. My odds of getting in were low. This company prides itself on taking the best of the best from the industry and I, well, I wasn't even IN the industry! My odds were slim, but I had to try.

Interviews went well with COMPETITOR and my dream company offered me a position- two in fact. There was a catch, though, they wanted me to leave New York and come to their headquarters in the valley. Professionally, the decision was obvious; personally, it was much more difficult. Most of my friends and family are on the east cost. My girlfriend of over two years is on the east coast. I weighed the pros and cons and kept hitting a stalemate. At the end of the day, though, I realized I could never really be whole and good for anyone else if I didn't take this chance. I'd always be left asking "what if?"

And so today was my first day. I have arrived in silicon valley.

Of course, this means I now HAVE to start the blog I've always wanted to- no self respecting techie can be blogless! This blog will serve a number of purposes. It will be pragmatic- a way to share my views with the world and to receive feedback, a way to become ever more in-touch with my community and to clarify my own thoughts. Even more so, however, this blog is a metaphor for my personal and professional transformation. It's about doing the things you've always wanted to and not settling for a job half finished.
This is only the beginning of my story. After all, this journey was never about getting a certain job; it was about becoming a part of a world that I'd admired from the outside looking in. It was about reclaiming bits of me that I'd lost by settling for "good enough." And, in the long-term, it's about achieving my goal of finding the cutting edge, living the valley. I have a lot to learn and many people to learn from if I'm to get there. And I'd be lying if I said I knew exactly how I'm going to do it; at this point I'm lucky I can even find 101. On many levels, I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel like a virgin- confused, excited (though not sure why exactly), nervous and naive. But most of all, hopeful that a meaningful change in my life is about to happen and good things will come of it. I invite you to join me as I test this feeling and add to the story with comments of your own.

7 comments:

Ashleigh said...

That sounds so awesome. I was going to ask how you ended up out there. I know the culture at COMPETITOR is an awesome company culture, and I, too, have investigated working for them. In the mean time, I have this law school thing... ;)

Megan said...

This is so exciting for you! I really miss you though!

Mike said...

someone fill me in.. what the fuck is the word competitor everywhere.. are you already ashamed of where you work...? fill me in please.

dpm said...

I don't want to give away where I work, nor blaspheme any competitors publicly, as that would be rude...

Olivia said...

Welcome to the west coast :) Hope everything lives up to your expectations!

jennifer said...

I can't even find the words to tell you how much I admire you, and always have. I know you will succeed. You are one of those rare people who was put in the world to do great things. We can't wait to visit you in Cali....mostly so we can do the LL Cool J "goin' back to Cali" rap on the plane.

Dan said...

Good luck man, we'll miss you here out east!!!