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.
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.
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.