Year in Review

This year I spent a lot of time iterating on SimpleGeo’s products, working with partners, listening to customers, recruiting employees, and trying to establish an open culture at the company. Being a founder of a startup is an extremely stressful job. I tell the people at SimpleGeo that I hope they all found a company someday so they’ll know how awesome it is and how terrible it is to be a founder.

The rest of my year was filled with travel, good friends, good food, time with Diana, and the usual insanity. A short recap follows.

  1. I started the year with a trip to Singapore the Global Leaders 2010 summit. It was a pretty surreal experience debating the relevance and consequences of metadata with the former CIO of Google and the Chief Privacy Officers of Microsoft and Oracle. Extremely enlightening debates.
  2. I tried to spend more time blogging. Most of it was about startups, engineering culture, and entrepreneurship: Fail fast and often, HOWTO: Recruit Rock Stars, HOWTO: Maintain a Rock Star Culture, and Why I’ll never own another server.
  3. In February I met a girl on OkCupid of all places. She’s improved my life greatly and I’m happy she continues to put up with me.
  4. I also went to Atlanta in February for PyCon. Mike Malone and I gave a talk on using OAuth, OpenID, and other open web technologies in Python and Django. If you’re into OAuth and use Python, check out my python-oauth2 library.
  5. March brought my 30th birthday and SXSW. I spoke on a panel with a bunch of really smart people about how location and location-aware applications are going to change the face of social networking, mobile, and the internet.
  6. I went out to Dublin for Funconf in April, despite it being canceled by a volcano, and ended up in Amsterdam for Queen’s Day, which is basically the Dutch version of St. Patrick’s Day.
  7. SimpleGeo raised $8.2m in June of this year to ramp up operations and bring simple tools for location-aware applications to market.
  8. Diana and I went to South Africa for the TECH4AFRICA conference. The trip was intense overall. We met a ton of great people, hung out in Johannesburg, saw Soweto, went to Cape Town, and visited a game reserve.
  9. The Madikwe Game Reserve was one of the highlights of the trip to South Africa. Waking up to monkeys on your porch and zebras wrestling behind your cabin is a surreal experience.
  10. At the beginning of September I moved back to San Francisco. I’ve given up attempting to move anywhere else at this point. San Francisco is home now and that’s fine by me.
  11. September also brought my first two angel investments, which sounds really weird to be saying. I placed small bets on StyleSeat and Kiip. They’re both ramping up operations and doing well. Excited to see what Melody and Brian cook up in 2011.
  12. I went back to Dublin to attend the postponed Funconf and also went to London to speak at Future of Web Apps. I’ll be speaking at the Las Vegas Future of Web Apps this summer as well.
  13. We hired one of my mentors and good friends, Jay Adelson, to be CEO of SimpleGeo in November.
  14. In November I made good on my promise to get a geek tattoo and to get an old school Americana tattoo by getting a single tattoo that professes my love for the Internets.
  15. November also brought a happy ending for a startup I’d advised from nearly inception. ngmoco:) sold to DeNA for $400m. Huge kudos to the team over there. Incredible watching them grow from 9 employees to over 100 in two short years.
  16. A project that I started over a year ago, gained steam through 2010, gained a team, and was released into private beta in early December by Jesse and Ben. aims to give you advanced tools for mining the unstructured data locked up in your email inbox.
  17. Just in time for 2010, I started work on finishing my left sleeve. It’s going to be Mechagodzilla vs. Godzilla fighting over a fictitious skyline comprised of buildings from cities I’ve lived in.

Despite thinking there was no way I could top last year’s travel schedule, I somehow managed to set a record for miles traveled, sights seen, and continents stepped on. I traveled less days this year with “only” 137 days on the road, but managed to travel 124,392 miles (200,189km), visit 10 countries, 4 continents, and 32 cities over the course of 29 trips. My year in cities is as follows.

  • Boulder, CO
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Austin, TX
  • Ann Arbor, MI
  • Lansing, MI
  • Detroit, MI
  • Singapore, Singapore
  • Atalanta, GA
  • Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • London, UK
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Toronto, Canada
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Glenwood Springs, CO