Dec 17

NYC Mesh

Given that it looks like Net Neutrality is going to be killed shortly I decided to look into find a non-censored Internet Connection. NYC Mesh is a pretty interesting volunteer project doing just that.

I signed up and one of their team came out and did a site survey. It looks like I’m a bit too far from the Brooklyn Supernode for a direct connection, but hopefully we can find a 1 hop solution in the coming weeks. If you’re interested in having a net connection not controlled by a media conglomerate I suggest you check them out and get involved.

Mar 12

Why NYC Now


The last bubble was a bit crazy.

In the summer of 1999 I graduated school with a degree in CS and took a job in NYC with a startup. Well, that isn’t exactly true. The startup I agreed to work for, i33, was bought out, not once but twice, between my accepting the offer and my first day. 1999 was a crazy time.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well I wanted to give a little bit of a backdrop, for those that didn’t get to experience it, on how crazy things were at the height of the last bubble.

Anyway, things feel really different now.

11 years ago when I was new to NYC most of the programmers I knew worked for banks or, if they were lucky, hedge funds. They were expected to dress well, no hoodies, and programmers who worked at startups in NYC were seen as oddballs. When I told people I was a programmer at a startup, I left my first job for a company of 7 people, it wasn’t seen as a cool thing. It was more like I was living in my parents’ basement. This was because banks paid so well that the best coders went there, so either you weren’t as good as them or you were a bit crazy: turning down the money to take a flyer.

There were a couple hacker type gatherings; they mostly revolved around Unix programmers and beer. Again, they were a lot of fun, but a good turnout was 20 people; nothing like the NY Tech Meetup today.

Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot of unbounded optimism, but as a you coder there weren’t a lot of hero’s in the NY startup scene. I remember some really amazing programmers helping to start hedge funds. Hopefully, today they would start a big data company.

Things feel pretty different today. There are a bunch of tech savvy founders who are doing interesting things, and you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a startup incubator. I believe NYC is close to, or has passed, the point where the ecosystem is self-sustaining and I’m really excited about tech here now.  I’m hoping that I can help young geeks do great things in NYC; basically I want to help techies succeed in NYC because I remember how overwhelming it was the last time.


Feb 12

I Love Living in the City

love-nycLike many of you, I expect, one of my new year’s resolutions was to start blogging again. To kick things off I thought I’d describe where I’m at and what I’m up to.

Let’s start with the obvious big changes. About 7 months ago I left SF to take a job at DFJ Gotham in NYC, and I really couldn’t be happier. Shortly I’m going to write a blog post about the NYC tech and startup scene, but not today. I’m back living in the financial district, a few blocks from my first apartment here in the city back in 1999. I must say, the neighborhood is so much more livable now.

The Job: I’m an associate at DFJ Gotham, an early stage venture fund where we invest mostly in Seed and A rounds of tech companies, and I’m learning a ton. The people I work with are awesome, and being at a small firm let’s me see how all the different parts of the business work. While USVP was an amazing experience I was sheltered from a lot of how the sausage was made when it came to the internal workings of a fund; now I’m the one making the sausage.

I know this sounds trite, but I’ve just been having such a blast. I love the “new” New York tech scene, my job, and all the great people I’ve been interacting with. It is really good to be home.

<FEAR, an LA Punk Band, wrote “I Love Living in the City” about New York, and though the song is meant to be negative it made me homesick when I heard it the past few years. Enjoy.>