Joining a new family
During my sophomore year at the University of Michigan, I took a class called “Entrepreneurship Practicum.” It was a bootcamp in the “lean startup” method taught by one of the cofounders of Aardvark, and I became really interested in how people capture ideas and reminders. In fact, it was around exactly this time in 2011 that I sent out the first “alpha” invites of what would eventually turn into Fetchnotes:
From that janky, manual prototype, one thing led to another and I ended up deciding to stick with it after the class. Little did I know that this email would end up defining not only my career, but launching the careers of several others that, at one point or another, have been a part of the Fetchnotes “family.”
A little over four years and hundreds of thousand of downloads after I sent that email, and exactly 3 years to the day since we launched publicly, I’m excited to announce that Fetchnotes is joining a new family: Driftt.
You can find the details on our blog, but the short version is that we both want to help people spend more time doing the work they love and less time fighting the tools they use to manage it. When we showed each other what we were working on, it was clear there was a perfect fit.
Driftt will be keeping Fetchnotes up and running, eventually integrating it into the new product they’re building. I’m damn proud of the work we’ve accomplished — especially having started as a bunch of college kids — and I have the utmost confidence in David and Elias (Driftt co-founders) to continue writing a story worth telling. As for our team, we won’t be going away just yet — we’ll be helping out both during and after the transition in an advisory capacity. Otherwise, we’re all moving on to our next adventures.
Personally, I’m excited to announce that I’ve joined another Michigan-bred company: Occipital. Occipital is amongst the OG of TechStars (Boulder 2008), and they have a track record of taking technology at the frontier of “possible” and turning it into simple, compelling consumer products. That’s what they did with RedLaser (acquired by eBay) and 360 Panorama, and that’s what they’re doing again with Structure Sensor.
In the 1980's, Microsoft and Apple were born on the wave of personal computers entering our lives. In the 1990's and 2000's, all of those computers started talking to each other, and companies like Amazon, Google, and Facebook were born enabling until then unheard of experiences. In the last decade, mobile devices have now put the power of a computer into anyone’s pocket, with awareness of who and where you are, and it has anointed a new class of soon-to-be behemoths like Uber, Square, and many others on which the jury is still out.
The next generation of computing — spatial computing — is going to be about understanding and interacting with the physical world around us. What kind of game-changing products will be enabled when you can look at a space and instantly know its dimensions? Or when you can add life-like virtual objects to your physical world, and create virtual representations of physical objects as easily as taking photos? Or when we can point our phone at an object, and it knows not only what it is, but everything the Internet knows about it?
Beyond what that means for technology and apps, what does it mean for society when the physical world becomes hackable?
I think these are some of the most interesting questions of our generation, and I’m excited to work on answering them. Specifically, I’m leading an initiative called “Augmented Home,” where I’ll be bringing the coming wave of spatial computing into our homes. That’s all I can say for now, but I’ll be sharing more developments soon. Of course, if this kind of mission inspires you (and you like playing with really cool toys), get in touch.
So, for the 4th time in 8 years, I’ve packed my life into a few bags and moved across the United States to chase something new. This time, I headed west for San Francisco to start writing my life’s next chapter.
“For West is where we all plan to go some day. It is where you go when the land gives out and the old-field pines encroach. It is where you go when you get the letter saying: Flee, all is discovered. It is where you go when you look down at the blade in your hand and the blood on it. It is where you go when you are told that you are a bubble on the tide of empire. It is where you go when you hear that thar’s gold in them-thar hills. It is where you go to grow up with the country. It is where you go to spend your old age. Or it is just where you go.”
— Robert Penn Warren, “All The King’s Men”
In the cheesiest way possible, I’ll close this chapter by saying thank you to all of the people (especially those for whom I don’t have photos!) that have been in it, from our earliest days in TechArb.
To the last few years in Boston.
People with which I’ve celebrated launches, fundings, and now M&A.
And occasionally caused some collateral damage.
It was a chapter in which I met some of the most passionate, hardest-working, and talented people I’ll ever work with.
People with whom I shared my “entrepreneur firsts” like printing company t-shirts and business cards.
People I’ve had dinner with every Thursday night for nearly 3 years.
Even if it’s been years since they worked for us.
People I’ve been on stage with for some of the most formative experiences of my life.
People with whom I’ve celebrated three separate 21st birthdays.
People that started (and are still!) dating after meeting at the company.
People I’ve seen get freaking. married.
People that I’ve sang karaoke with in order to raise money.
Not to mention many other shared awkward moments.
People I’ve slept on the floors of walk-in closets with when we first moved to Boston.
Where we lived through not just one, but multiple Storm of the Centuries.
As well as a terrorist attack only a few miles away from our office.
People whose family became my family when they came to visit.
And whose family I stood in for when theirs couldn’t make it to graduation.
Lastly, people who, no matter when they joined or left, how long they stayed, or the circumstances of their departure, were all still thrilled to grab a beer at Ashley’s together right before this deal got signed.