Tag: andrew_boni

True's Braughm Ricke, WeGame's Jared Kim, the Business Plan, and Wrapping Up

Andrew Boni NBC Trauma Set

Me in front of the set of NBC's Trauma, set to debut this Fall

It’s amazing how quickly this summer seemed to have passed. Well, you know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. I have to say that I miss the program and San Francisco in general. I’ve been going through San Francisco withdrawal lately.

Anyway, in the last week of the program, I met a good friend from home for lunch, finished my business plan, gave GigaOM a facelift, walked onto the set of the new NBC TV series Trauma, heard from True’s Braughm Ricke and WeGame’s Jared Kim, helped film a NewTeeVee webisode, and more.

On Monday, my buddy Tim had a flight from Tokyo, Japan to Philadelphia, PA with a 6 hour layover at SFO. So, he took BART from the airport and met me for lunch. It’s strange seeing a friend from home come in a new city across the country. It makes the world feel so much smaller. Later that night, I had to go and put the finishing touches on my business plan for a media company that I’d like to start, Jetcomx Media Lab. Up to that point, I had been so busy with GigaOM stuff that I was only about 40-50% done with the business plan. But, I’ve always been a last minute, down-to-the-wire kind of guy, so I knew that I would be able to get it done. I spent about 4 hours hunched over my laptop working on a little table in the corner of a downtown Starbucks before I decided to retire back to my apartment and finish the plan. We didn’t have our own internet connection at the apartment, so I had to leech off of San Francisco’s free wifi network, which is shoddy at best. Fortunately for me however, the wi-fi gods were with me that night, and I was able to submit my plan just before the deadline. It felt great to have finished it, although I know that I could have easily spent another month or two conducting more research and perfecting it.

On Tuesday, I was walking to Pier 1 like I normally do, when I noticed that there was a huge commotion going on in the Justin Herman plaza. It turns out that a new NBC primetime drama known as Trauma was shooting an episode there. It was the first time that I had ever been on the set of a TV show. After seeing the set and the actors, I’m actually looking forward to checking out this NBC drama sometime in the fall.

GigaOM New vs Old

GigaOM: Old vs. New

On Wednesday, I worked on designing a completely new header for GigaOM. Om gave me some guidance on what he was looking for, and I made it a reality. I think the new design is much more aesthetically appealing than the old design. Along with the new header, GigaOM also had its fonts tweaked for better readability. Later that night, I put the finishing touches on my TEC commercial. It actually turned out to be much longer than what Christiaan and Shea were expecting; the thing was that I had so much footage I wanted to share that I couldn’t bring myself to cut any of it out. It was also more of a montage than a commercial, but I felt that it had the perfect tone for wrapping up the program.

Thursday was our last True session of the summer. We sat down and listened to Braughm Ricke and Jared Kim. As we ate lunch, Braughm went over the roles and duties of a venture capital firm’s CFO. Throughout his presentation, he answered a myriad of questions that we seemed to have. After that, Jared Kim, founder of WeGame.com, came in to chat with us.

Jared’s story is pretty remarkable. A native of South Korea, he founded his first company at age 16 while going to boarding school in China. He was able to scrape up a couple of thousand dollars from his dad to start the company. Over time, Jared managed 70+ people. As he later told us, it was a very difficult task to undertake. There was constant tension between various employees at the company and it was hard to build a sense of camaraderie. After that, he moved to the US and went to college at UC Berkeley. There he began to work on something known as Yaqqer.

Yaqqer is a location-based mobile social network that connects college students through their mobile phones. Yaqqer allows you to broadcast your current location to all your friends via SMS. In college, students always want to know where their friends are or what they are doing. Yaqqer helps solve this common need.

After Yaqqer, Kim moved on to found WeGame which is essentially a YouTube for gamers. He told us how he miraculously managed to get people like WordPress’s Matt Mullenweg and XFire’s Dennis Fong to advise him.

Once we finished talking to Jared, it was time to present our research papers/business plans and showcase our commercials. When that was finished, we went out to eat at Paragon, which was the place where we ate lunch during our second week. We came full circle in a sense.

Friday was my last day. I started off the day by working on a new design for jkOnTheRun. After lunch, I helped Liz Gannes and Chris Albrecht of NewTeeVee film a chat that wrapped up the biggest online video news of the week.
[blip.tv ?posts_id=2446160&dest=-1]

After that, we had a small get together across the street at Osha for my departure. The GigaOM crew was kind enough to present me with a cool San Francisco t-shirt, among other things. When that came to a close, Greg and I went back to the office. We ended up staying there until about 10:30pm due to the fact that I had to clear all of my data off of the MacBook that GigaOM had let me borrow. It was definitely a surreal moment when I left the office for the last time, knowing that I wouldn’t be back in there on Monday.

All in all, I just want to say again that this experience has been better than I could have dreamed. I ended up learning and doing the kinds of things that I came out here hoping to learn and do. I was able to meet and befriend an amazing group of people. I was able to hone my skills/knowledge and apply them to my own ventures. I learned a TON about the VC industry, tech industry, and startups in general. I just want to say thanks to Christiaan, Shea, Jon, Phil, Om, Paul, Jaime, Chancey, and everyone else who made my summer the stuff of dreams.

Socialcast's Tim Young, GigaOM's Paul Walborsky, True's Puneet Agarwal, BackType's Chris Goulda, and GigaOM Pulse

Andrew Boni GigaOM

Working hard...or hardly working?

Hey all — I can’t believe that week seven of the program has already come and gone. This week was cut a little short due to the fact that we returned from the company off-site retreat on Tuesday. The retreat was an amazing time — I got to meet and befriend people who I had previously only known through email, Skype, or Google Talk. It was also a great opportunity to see my co-workers in a non-office type of environment. This kind of interaction really helps to facilitate a sense of camaraderie.

For the rest of the work week, I worked on a couple of different things, including implementing a Google search referral related posts box (that’s a mouthful) on GigaOM, implementing commenting via Twitter on GigaOM, and developing something known as GigaOM Pulse.

GigaOM Google Search Referral Related Posts BoxThe purpose of the Google search referral related posts box is to present the Googler with a list of potentially related posts at the top of the current post. This is designed to help increase the users time on the site, increase the number of pageviews, and decrease the bounce rate.

Regarding the commenting via Twitter, Intern Greg came up with the idea to allocate a unique Twitter hashtag to each post on GigaOM. If people wanted to post a comment using Twitter, they would just include the unique hashtag in their tweet somewhere, and it would automatically get pulled into the comments section of a particular post.

Now, you may be wondering why people would bother to comment via Twitter rather than in the regular comments section of GigaOM. Well, we figured that many people have their own platform/podium from which they like to comment on (in this case it’s Twitter, but it could just as easily be Facebook, Friendfeed, or their own blog). So why would someone like Om (who has 650,000+ Twitter followers) comment on some small, obscure blog, when he can post an insightful comment on his own soapbox for hundreds of thousands to see? It’s a win-win situation for both the commenter and the blog.

GigaOM Twitter CommentingYou may also be wondering how this is any different from retweeting. Well, when most people retweet, they simply post the title of the article and then a link, while providing no additional comments. That’s why we also included a designated retweet link. As far as we know, GigaOM is the first major online publication to implement Twitter commenting in this fashion. It will be extremely interesting to see how successful this pans out to be and what other publications (if any) decide to copy us.

GigaOM PulseOne of the most interesting things to be developed on GigaOM is something known as GigaOM Pulse. Om came up with the idea, and wanted Greg and I to make it come to life. In a nutshell, GigaOM Pulse is a live Twitter feed/aggregator of everyone who works at GigaOM that updates in real-time. The purpose of Pulse is to give GigaOM a more personal feel and make the readers feel like they have a connection to the founder, CEO, writers, editors, events people, sales people, and tech people. It’s a really cool service that more websites should implement.

Also, this week at the True Ventures Thursday session, we heard from Socialcast‘s Tim Young, GigaOM‘s Paul Walborsky, and True’s own Puneet Agarwal. Tim gave an awesome presentation that essentially gave us his entire background and how he got to where he is today. He talked about how he used to design websites for various artists and events within the entertainment industry before he founded SocialCast. Tim, an avid reader, mentioned how he reads for 2-3 hours each day. He also made a great point when he said that reading blogs may add breadth to your knowledge, but reading books adds depth. On entrepreneurship, he also said that, “you learn more about yourself than anything else.”

GigaOM’s CEO Paul Walborsky talked to us next. In his presentation, he highlighted Amazon’s acquisition of Zappos.com and Jeff Bezos’ subsequent commentary. Paul also gave us examples of how older companies are losing out to newer, more efficient companies. For example, GigaOM vs. the New York Times, Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble, and Netflix vs. Blockbuster. We also went over the idea of exploiting the value curve. Paul also introduced us to what he calls the BLT business model. He left us with the notion that, “You can make money back, but you can’t get time back.” This is the third time that Paul has given a presentation to me, and I’ve noticed that he is a very engaging and charismatic speaker. Being a great public speaker is an amazing asset to have.

Last but not least, we heard from Puneet Agarwal. He talked to us about some of the new and emerging technologies that are being utilized in the start-up world. Integral services and components that used to cost thousands and thousands of dollars are now available for next to nothing. New companies are taking advantage of services like Skype, GTalk, Salesforce, and Google Docs, to name a few. We also discussed Amazon’s AWS cloud and various SaaS (Software as a Service) companies.

On Friday, I was lucky enough to have a face-to-face chat with Chris Goulda, the co-founder of BackType. Since BackType specializes in comments, Greg and I pitched him our Twitter commenting idea, and he seemed to really like it. Chris also told us a little bit about his background and BackType’s history. The company was actually initially funded by YCombinator and subsequently funded by True. I’ve been using BackType’s software on my personal projects for some time now, and I absolutely love it. I think BackType definitely has the potential to make it big in the coming months.

Palo Alto, Danny Shader, John Burke, and Stanford

True Palo Alto
This week GigaOM’s Director of Product Management, Jaime Chen, returned to the office after trekking to Europe and Africa. It’s good to have her back, since she makes everything more organized and makes sure we meet our deadlines/goals.

On Tuesday, Jaime set up a meeting and a conference call with one of our consultants to talk about an exciting new project. Later in the day, I implemented an iPhone-likeiPhone password field password field onto one of the landing pages of GigaOM Pro using jQuery. It’s pretty nifty; try the live demo of it here. Also, this week my changes on Earth2Tech finally went live. I redid the header and category/search bar, among other things.

Also, Greg came up with a really great idea for integrating Twitter into GigaOM, so we formulated a plan on the white board and put it into action. We tried to split up the project in half, so I worked on the code for the backend, while Greg did the front end stuff.

Also, this week we decided to try a new sandwich place in the area called Specialty’s. What’s neat about Specialty’s is the fact that you make/customize your sandwich entirely online. You also enter a time that you want to pick it up and then pay for it online. That way, when you go to Specialty’s you just grab the bag(s) with your name on it and head out the door. It’s a highly efficient way of conducting business, especially since the wait for sandwiches in the Ferry Building (next door to GigaOM) can be 20 minutes or more, causing some people to go somewhere else for lunch.

I also met with Liz Gannes, Editor of NewTeeVee, to discuss some tweaks/changes that are going to be happening to her site.

This week was a bit odd, due to the fact that our usual Thursday afternoon session at Pier 38 in San Francisco was pushed back and moved to Friday afternoon at the Palo Alto office. It was a nice change of pace though. On Friday morning I took the CalTrain down to Palo Alto, which took about 50 minutes. It wasn’t a bad ride and I got a decent amount of reading done. I was the last one to arrive at the office. Luckily, though, there was still some sushi left for me to eat.

After lunch, we got down to business. We were fortunate enough to sit down and listen to Danny Shader, who has one of the most impressive resumes that I’ve ever seen. His career spans a couple of decades and includes working as Vice President and General Manager at Amazon.com and Vice President at Motorola, among other things. Danny gave us all great career advice. He basically said that in Silicon Valley, there is too much money, too many ideas, and not enough people acting on them. He then went on to say that to make it out in the real world, you need integrity, hard work, brains, and character. Integrity is especially important – if you have no integrity, it’s going to come back and burn you in the end. Word gets around quickly, and everyone out here in Silicon Valley talks to everyone. Danny also said that with today’s technology, many of the jobs and tasks that used to take hundreds of people to complete now only require a fraction of that.

After Danny’s talk, we heard from True’s very own John Burke. He is normally based out of Northern Virginia, so getting to meet him out in Palo Alto was a real treat. He told us about his background and previous companies. Right after college, John worked for a start-up, and he mentioned that his parents had difficulty understanding why he wanted to do it. I found that point pretty interesting. After that, he worked for a large construction company where he learned that big companies weren’t a good fit for him. At age 24 he decided to start his own company, and ended up selling it for millions in 1997. He then went to HBS at the age of 31 where he networked with lots of like minded individuals. One of the pieces of advice that he gave us was that it’s not necessarily what you learn while at business school, but rather who you meet and connect with. I’m definitely keeping that in mind. John also told us that if we want to do something, we need to “just get out there and do it!”

Afterward, Stephanie, Alex, Cameron, and I went and explored Stanford’s gorgeous campus. The weather was absolutely beautiful too. It was a great Friday afternoon.








reCAPTCHAs, Phil Black, Brad Garlinghouse, Om Malik, and the Giants

The TEC Program is halfway over already. It feels like we just started.

This week, I mocked up some new contact forms for both GigaOM and GigaOM Pro. One of the key features of the contact form is the implementation of something known as reCAPTCHA (slightly different from a regular CAPTCHA). In case you didn’t know, reCAPTCHA is a project spawned from researchers at Carnegie Mellon that prevents internet bots/scripts from doing various things and utilizes crowdsourcing to digitize books. Whether or not you are familiar with these, you’ve definitely encountered them before. reCAPTCHAs are usually placed at the end of registration forms, contact forms, or any other type of form that can be abused.

The way it works (and how it’s different from a normal CAPTCHA) is that the user is presented with two random, distorted words that were scanned from areCAPTCHA Image book. One of the words is known by the reCAPTCHA software while the other word isn’t. This is because one of the words was printed too poorly for OCR technology to properly read it. The user then squints to read the two distorted words and types both of them in. If reCAPTCHA sees that you got the known word correct, it assumes that you are a human, and therefore got the second word correct. After enough iterations of the unknown word being answered with the same word by thousands of other people, the reCAPTCHA software marks the word as known. It’s an ingenious process really.

From reCAPTCHA’s site:

About 200 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that’s not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into “reading” books.


Pretty interesting stuff, really. I’ve known about reCAPTCHA for years, but when you actually implement it into something yourself, you learn so much more about it.

Here’s a great video if you want to learn more:

Let’s see…what else did I do this week? I created custom plugins for GigaOM, Earth2Tech, jkOnTheRun, NewTeeVee, and WebWorkerDaily. I also created some new sign-up forms for GigaOM pro and added a couple of nifty features. The other intern and I also continued to implement various A/B tests on GigaOM Pro on a bunch of different things. The data that we get back from these A/B tests is always really interesting.

On Thursday, we were lucky enough to sit down and listen to True co-founder Phil Black, ex-Yahoo! SVP Brad Garlinghouse, and GigaOM founder Om Malik. Phil gave us a rundown of nearly everything that goes on when True Ventures makes a deal with a start-up company. We discussed a whole range of things, some of which included topics like ownership levels, LLCs vs. S-corps vs. C-corps, exit strategies, and getting funding. It was the kind of stuff that you need to know if you want to set foot into the world of VC.

After Phil, we talked with Brad Garlinghouse, a former Senior Vice President of Communications and Communities at Yahoo! who was in charge of Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, and Groups. He is also the author of the infamous Peanut Butter Manifesto, and he discussed it with us at some length. He also gave us a couple pieces of career advice, one of which was basically that at the end of the day, your job is to make your boss look good. Pretty interesting advice coming from a former CEO and high-level exec. We also talked about things like brand stickiness, consolidation of niche sites/companies, and economies of scale. You should note that Brad came in with nothing at all – no computer, Powerpoint/Keynote slides, or even notes – and he still gave an amazing presentation.

After Brad, Om Malik (who’s also my boss) came in and told us about his background and where he came from. It’s quite an amazing story. If you ware ever lucky enough to meet him, you should ask him about it. He also gave us an awesome presentation on the evolution of technology and what the future holds. Although it was the second time that I saw that particular presentation, I managed up pick up on a lot of points that I missed out on the first time around. Many of Om’s observations (and subsequent articles) come from the fact that he looks 3, 4, or 5 layers below the surface. He told us that we shouldn’t take anything for face value.

“If you want something badly, you have to just go out there and get it.” —Om Malik

He also talked to us about things like Moore’s Law, cloud computing, the emergence of 4G in mobile, hyperconnectivity, digital pollution, antiquated media models (The New York Times, HBO), micro-niches, and more. Om’s presentation really encompassed everything that I’ve been seeing out here in Silicon Valley.

Afterwards, Phil and Christiaan took us all out for a great Mexican dinner. After that, we all went to AT&T field to watch the Giants play the Padres. Lincecum was pitching for the Giants and had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning. We had great seats in right field; three home runs were hit relatively close to us. Take a look at the pictures:


GigaOM Pro, Jasper Malcolmsen, Hiten Shah, Tony Conrad, and more

Another stellar week out here on the west coast. I’m learning 20+ new skills/concepts/ideas every day – and not just tech related – I’m learning how the core of a start-up operates and how business is conducted. I absolutely love it.

So, this week I redesigned the landing page on GigaOM Pro. After meeting with GigaOM’s SEO guy, we felt like the old landing page just wasn’t cutting it – it was waaay too long and there was an explosion of information. So, I went in and streamlined everything.

I also had a face-to-face meeting with Kaite Fehrenbacher, Josie Garwaithe, and Celeste LeCompte. They gave me a good deal of feedback on a bunch of mock-ups that I had made for a couple of the network sites.

I was also fortunate enough to have met Sphere founder Tony Conrad, although not in the greatest of circumstances. As I was walking into the office on Wednesday morning, I saw a man at the front desk asking where the GigaOM office was. Naturally, I told him that I worked there and I could show him where it was. As we were walking, I just assumed that since he was a little confused on directions, he might be an outside designer or consultant. So, I flat out asked him if he was, and I ended up embarrassing myself a bit. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy though, and again, I was glad to have met him. It’s funny because I’ve been following him on Twitter for about a month now, yet I didn’t put two and two together.

Thursday was definitely the highlight of the week. The True interns, Christiaan, Shea, and Hiten Shah, and I rendezvoused at Pier 38 for lunch. We had awesome pizza from South Beach Cafe – I need to remember to visit that place sometime before I leave. After our meal, we listened to both Jasper Malcolmsen of Bloomspot and Hiten Shah of CrazyEgg/KISSmetrics speak.

While in the session with Jasper, we discussed things like how to form a business, where to get ideas for your business, massively scalable systems, shopping engines, A/B testing, Facebook advertising and many other things. A few of the key points that I took away from Jasper regarding how and why someone starts a business are:

  • To satisfy an unmet user need
  • To capitalize on a business model opportunity
  • Because they are extremely passionate about the industry/market/sector both as a business and a consumer
  • Because they previously worked in a relevant domain (Jasper previously worked at Yahoo!)

Afterward, Hiten Shah took over and gave us a talk. He founded both Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, two services that I have actually been used before meeting him (although one much less than the other). I peppered him with a few questions regarding CrazyEgg, his visual click tracking analytics software, since I used to use it on my personal websites. His software was like the coolest thing I had seen at that time. There was nothing like it. He also spent a good deal of time teaching us the ins and outs of being a Twitter power user. He showed us different tools and techniques that he leverages, and everyone got a kick out of it. Definitely a great Thursday afternoon.

Week 3: GigaOM's Structure 09 Conference and more

Structure 09

The main conference room at GigaOM's Structure 09

Om Malik speaks to Facebook's Jonathan Heiliger

Om Malik speaks to Facebook's Jonathan Heiliger

So much to talk about. Last week was great. I was fortunate enough to attend the Structure 09 conference, as well as the corresponding VIP party.

A quick day-by-day recap of my third week:

On Monday I had a meeting with our SEO/marketing guy Jon Wirt to discuss some changes that needed to be made on GigaOM Pro.

Tuesday was pretty typical. I did some graphic design, coding, and general development. Knocked out some of my tasks for the week.

Wednesday was the Structure 09 VIP reception. It was located at Terra SF, an art gallery/reception area in SOMA. Paul Walborsky was nice enough to invite me. In fact, he said that it was mandatory that I attend, which was fine by me. At around 5:00pm Greg, Jon Wirt, and I walked over to the venue from our office. I know I’ve been saying this a lot recently, but it was another amazing experience. There were probably 100+ people in the room, representing companies like Google, Sun, Microsoft, HP, Akamai, Salesforce, Amazon, Yahoo!, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Automattic, and more. I was lucky to be able to chat it up with people like Scott Beale of LaughingSquid, among others. It was an amazing opportunity, and I’d like to think that I made the most of it. I also got some free swag from MediaTemple, including a sweatband that I’ll probably never wear.

Thursday was the big day: Structure 09 was finally here. I had to be at the Mission Bay center at 7am, so I woke up at 6am, and was out the door by 6:30am. My original plan was to take the bus there, so I walked to the stop which was about 10 minutes away. As I was waiting for the bus, half asleep and day-dreaming, I see a car pass me, then pull into reverse. “Andrew! Get in,” a voice shouts. It turned out to be my co-worker Jon Wirt. I thought it was the most random thing for him to actually see me on the side of a busy road and actually pick me up. It was nice.

We get to the venue right at 7:00am and got settled. We ate some breakfast, and I met up with the TEC crew, including Christiaan and Shea. They came bearing gifts; each of us got a brand new Flip Mino video camera in order to document our experiences and create a commercial for TEC. At around 8:05am, we all went upstairs into the main conference room where Om Malik kicked off the conference.

It was a long but amazing day. There were panels on topics like databases, web apps, cloud computing, bandwidth, and venture capital. Om had chats with Sun’s Greg Papadopolous, Amazon’s Werner Vogels, Facebook’s Jonathan Heiliger, and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff. There were workshops with Microsoft, Juniper, Cisco, HP, and AMD. There was a keynote by Akamai’s Paul Sagan and mininotes by HP’s Russ Daniels and IBM’s Willy Chiu. Once again, I had never seen anything like it. The amount of technical experience and accomplishment in the room was awe-inspiring.


On Friday, I sat in on a meeting with one of GigaOM’s outside consultants to discuss new changes that were going to be happening. It was another eye opening experience that allowed me to see how a company deals with consultants. I’m glad that I got to sit in.

Take a look at more Structure 09 pictures.

Week 2 Highlights at GigaOM and True Ventures

Om Malik at a Bunker Series Session

Om Malik speaks at GigaOM's Bunker Series session with the legendary Bill Hambrecht (Photo taken on Om's Blackberry by me, courtesy of GigaOM.com)

Just finished up another awesome week out here in San Francisco with GigaOM and True. Highlights of my week include meeting the other four interns (Qiyun, Stephanie, Chris, and Nik) for lunch at Paragon, attending one of GigaOM’s Bunker Series sessions, learning about the venture capital industry/silicon valley in general with Jon Callaghan & Tod Sacerdoti, and celebrating GigaOM’s 3rd anniversary at La Mar.

Lunch at Paragon on Monday was great; it was an opportunity for the four of us interns who had a week of work experience under our belts as well as Christiaan to get to know the four new interns. We told them about our experiences during our first week and what they should expect at their start-ups. All of them were really excited to get started, which was great. I loved how Nik told us that he took the train from Chicago to San Francisco — he was on it for 48+ hours. That’s ridiculous! I don’t know how he did it — I’d go crazy with cabin fever.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was given a couple of new tasks: one was to implement some changes to GigaOM Pro, a new subscription-based research service that GigaOM just launched at the end of May, while the other was to whip up some Photoshop mock-ups for changes that needed to happen on Earth2Tech, jkOnTheRun, NewTeeVee, and WebWorkerDaily. On Wednesday, I sat in on a company-wide meeting that GigaOM held. It lasted a couple of hours and we talked about a wide variety of things, all of which I’m probably not allowed to discuss. Overall, the meeting gave me a good idea of how a real meeting at a start-up is conducted.

Thursday was by far the best day of the week – it was also the busiest. Earlier in the week, me and the other GigaOM intern Greg were invited by Paul Walborsky, GigaOM’s CEO, to go and check out GigaOM’s 2nd Bunker Series Session held at True’s headquarters. The event is an invite only gathering in which a veritable who’s who list of tech people attend. I arrived at Pier 38 at around 8:30am and was immediately greeted by a slew of CEOs, CTOs, presidents, and vice-presidents of various tech firms. A few people that I recognized was BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen, Jaiku founder/Google employee Jyri Engeström, and Dropbox founder Drew Houston, among others. I’d say that there were about 40-50 people there in total. As soon as I stepped in, I was lucky enough to mingle with one of Yahoo’s original employees/Dipity founder Derek Dukes and David Marcus of WR Hambrecht + Co. At around 9:15am, Om got on the microphone and let everyone know that the session was about to start. He introduced the guest, WR Hambrecht + Co. founder Bill Hambrecht, sat down, and they began talking. The session was highly interesting and gave me insight into the realms of investment banking, venture capital, angel funding, and dutch auctions.

After that, all of the TEC interns gathered at the True office, and we had lunch with Christiaan, Braughm Ricke, and Jon Callaghan. It was an unseasonably hot day. We then watched a great presentation that Jon had prepared for us on the history of True, what they do, and who they fund. We also discussed topics like valuation, equity, cloud computing, and failure for a good amount of time. After that, Tod Sacerdoti, the founder of Brightroll, came in to talk about his company with us. He told us about the beginnings of Brightroll, what they currently do, and who/what/where they advertise. He also fielded a bunch of questions that we had for him. After that, Jon gave us three books: The Four Steps to Epiphany by Stephen Gary Blank, Raising the Bar by Gary Erickson, and the Dr. Seuss classic, Oh the Places You’ll Go! It was a really nice gesture for him to give us the inspiring literature. I’m looking forward to checking them out.

I thought that the presentation/meeting with Jon and Tod was awesome, due to the fact that we were able to have conversations with these two founders in such an intimate environment. You rarely get to be in a situation like that, so you’ve got to make the most of it.

Once that came to a close, I had to headed over to La Mar, a chic Peruvian restaurant on Pier 1½, where the entire GigaOM team was gathering for the 3rd anniversary celebration. We all chatted it up and ate great food. Everyone was in a terrific mood. People started to leave by 8pm, so me and about 8 other GigaOM people moved to a couch outside on the deck. There, we ate even more and just talked about random things. I have to admit that when Paul and Om are together, hilarity ensues. They were telling the funniest stories and jokes. It was an amazing time, and I’m glad that I stayed late despite the fact that I was quite tired.

Friday was pretty straightforward. I had a meeting with Katie Fehrenbacher to discuss a couple of design changes that she wanted me to make on her site, Earth2Tech.

Week 1 with TEC and GigaOM

Obligatory Golden Gate bridge photo

Hey all, Andrew Boni here. What an amazing week it’s been out here in San Francisco.

First off, a little bit about me: I was born and raised in New Jersey, I go to school at Boston College, and I’m going to be interning with GigaOM for the next 8 weeks. I feel like I’m really fortunate for Christiaan and True Ventures to have paired me up with GigaOM since web design and development is a passion of mine. In my free time I run and maintain a couple of websites, and am interested in creating a start-up, so working with a company like GigaOM is right up my alley.

After being at GigaOM for over one week, I have come to several interesting realizations:

  1. I can honestly say that by working with the people at GigaOM, I have learned and acquired skills that would have taken me weeks to learn otherwise. I never would have come across some of the tools and utilities that I’m using, on my own. I never would have been able to figure out how to use SVN or how to properly configure such vital software like WAMP and Aptana. I’ve learned what it’s like to sit in on company meetings and how they are run. I’ve also been able to refine my ability to socialize — before coming out here, I’d never been out to drinks with tech professionals who were 10+ years my senior. Now I can say that I have.
  2. By working in the environment of a start-up like GigaOM, I’ve found myself fully immersed in/surrounded by technology and other technology enthusiasts. It’s a very unique atmosphere. In my previous work experiences, I found myself talking about banal topics like the weather, the movies, sports, or celebrities during lunch or downtime. Not here though. At GigaOM, I’ve been about to have meaningful conversations about Facebook or Twitter or Digg with my peers that I’d never be able to have with anyone else. Back home in New Jersey, it’s tough for me to find people like these to engage in conversation.
  3. I’m constantly surrounded by brilliant people. Whether they’ve written for Forbes.com, worked for companies like Yahoo!, CNET, or Second Life, developed for WordPress.org, published a book, won a prestigious scholarship, or even attended an elite university like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, UPenn, or MIT, every person that I’ve met thus far has done something remarkable.

Here are a couple of pictures that I snapped:

GigaOM's office is on the left

The view from outside GigaOM's offices


That’s all for now. I’ll be updating every week, if not more often. You can follow me on Twitter.