Year in Review

2011 was a tumultuous year for just about everyone in the world, particularly Osama bin Laden. I’m no different than the average person on the planet and can be included in the masses thankful that an extremely stressful year has come to a close. 2012 is already shaping up to be an exciting time for myself and Diana, but more on that next year. The following is a highlight reel of my 2011.

  1. January started out with me working at SimpleGeo in San Francisco, Diana in Denver, and SimpleGeo’s team still split between Boulder and San Francisco. All three of these facts would be upended by the end of the year.
  2. Also in January, I went out to the UK to work with Holiday Extras for the second time. I made three more trips to Hythe, UK and have been extremely impressed with the team. It’s been a pleasure to watch passionate people reinvent many aspects of their technology stack, team, and processes in such a short period of time.
  3. The beginning of the year brought more tattoo work. I’ve been slowly, but surely, working on finishing the rest of my left arm. I don’t think I planned on getting two full sleeves when I started out, but I strangely find that it’s completing me in some weird way.
  4. I went to Grand Rapids, MI to talk to a local user group there about scaling, managing engineers, and general geekery. Thanks to Atomic Object for having me out!
  5. In early February my dear friend Josh “Dorkboy” Lynn came out to San Francisco for a trip. We drove down HWY 1, went to a basketball game, and ate a few hundred burritos.
  6. February also brought the closing of the Boulder office. A few people moved to San Francisco to join us and a few people moved on to other opportunities. The lesson learned is that startups are far too small to sustain two offices unless absolutely necessary.
  7. Finally, in February,, a side project of mine that ended up becoming a company with two amazing founders, received $500k in seed funding from the Foundry Group. I continue to be impressed with the hustle and professionalism of Ben and Jesse.
  8. In March I went to the entirety of SXSW. Diana joined me for the last day of Interactive and all of the Music portion. I nearly didn’t get out of Austin at the end due to craziness at the airport and was thoroughly burnt out on the entire event. It’s too big, too corporate, and far too hectic for my taste. I doubt I’ll be spending as much time there this year.
  9. In late March, SimpleGeo launched SimpleGeo Storage, which was built entirely on top of a distributed graph database system that our team developed internally. This patent pending technology is some of the most impressive technical work I’ve seen happen in a startup and I’m proud as hell with the team and their work. In particular, it was a pleasure to watch Mike Malone challenge himself and grow into an absolutely spectacular engineer.
  10. In April I went out to Denver a few times to see Diana showcase her artwork for her senior thesis. In May I once again traveled to Denver to watch Diana graduate from Metro State. We then packed up her apartment and moved her out to SF so that we could live together. This March 2nd will be two years. I can’t imagine someone filling a void in my life as completely as Diana has.
  11. Also in May was a trip to Amsterdam to speak at a location related conference. I managed to visit Amsterdam three times this last year and would happily visit it three hundred more times. I’ve never felt so at home in a foreign country as I do walking the canals of Amsterdam.
  12. May and June also brought the first serious interest from potential acquirers at SimpleGeo. We got pretty far down the road with one potential acquirer before walking away. This was my first foray into the dreaded M&A process and it set the tone for all future discussions with acquirers.
  13. In June Diana and I went to Vegas for the Future of Web Apps conference. The Carsonified crew are, in my opinion, some of the very best in the business. I gave a talk titled Starting Your Startup, which appeared to be well received.
  14. In June I started following the Four Hour Body’s Slow Carb diet. I ended up losing 35 pounds over the next five months and now weigh under 200 pounds for the first time since high school.
  15. July brought a trip to Europe with Diana. We went to Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and the UK. It pretty much rained the entire time we were in Europe and we both got sick. We tried to make the best of it and managed to take in some great sites in Rome and Paris. We had a great time hanging out with friends in Amsterdam. I think Diana might share my feelings on Amsterdam after the trip.
  16. In September conversations to sell SimpleGeo started to pick up steam. We talked with quite a few companies about the possibility and, at the end of October, ended up being acquired by Urban Airship. As part of the acquisition, I moved on from the company.
  17. After leaving SimpleGeo, I dedicated myself full-time to, a product management tool that I’ve been wanting to build for almost my entire career. We launched as an invite-only beta on the 3rd of December.
  18. At the beginning of November Diana and I bought an RV with the hopes of driving around the Southwest all winter. We made it as far as San Diego before and a new puppy caused us to rethink the trip. Our current plan is to head up to Seattle for a couple of months.
  19. Puppy? Yes, we got a puppy. He’s a Lhasapoo and his name is Sheldon.

Another year, another ridiculous amount of travel. I flew over 110,000 miles to two different continents and visited 17 different cities throughout the year. Needless to say, jet lag is my copilot. My year in cities follows.

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Denver, CO
  • Portland, OR
  • San Diego, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • East Jordan, MI
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Rome, Italy
  • Hythe, UK
  • London, UK
  • Paris, France
  • New York, New York
  • Austin, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Orlando, FL
  • Seattle, WA