My name is Michi and this is my technology/startup blog.
I’m a web engineer (PHP/Ruby). I’ve spent much of my youth and early adult life programming away on the weekends. Coding is both a means to an end and a hobby for me.
That said, my ambitions revolve around building products, teams, and companies. I’ve worked almost exclusively for startups.
It all started with bruinmatch. A for-fun dating site for UCLA students. It had maybe a 100 people register, but I didn’t make it for money. I made it to learn. At some point around that time, I also, with two others, did bruinfood. That site was wildly popular for its time — every student knew about it. Of course, we were dumb and failed to monetize it, and it languished.
A little while later, I joined Hydra (acquired by Adknowledge), where I was one of the early engineers. In fact, I remember the first time I met the CEO, which was at lunch in a cafe along with the other 8 or so people — who were mostly meeting for the first time as well. That team knew how to throw a nice party. I watched first hand at the growing pains small companies go through. It was invaluable.
Meanwhile, I was doing a side project called uQuad with three others. It was a social network. Yes, if you’re reading this in 2011, it probably sounds pretty lame. But this was 2005. Facebook was just barely getting started and our app had every feature under the sun (events, groups, blogs, chat, etc). If I knew then what I know now, life probably would be quite different for me today. Instead, I let the great idea die on a vine while I learned the tough lessons of: picking the right partners and “if you build it they won’t necessarily come.”
Then I went to Verifi, where I was literally the first engineer on the team. My interview was in the master bedroom of an apartment, and my “office” was the bedroom next to it. From our humble beginnings, we took that company to 70 employees in a sweet office in Beverly Hills. I built out and managed the engineering team there. I made lots of noob mistakes, and learned a ton of life lessons. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity the CEO gave me. Thanks, Matt.
Then I left LA to chase my startup dream. But I knew getting to SF and then suddenly doing a startup was a little too risky, even for me. So I joined a small startup called Payvment as the VP of Engineering. I learned the ropes about fundraising in the valley. Believe me, I took notes. I even helped close the $6M series B. When I felt I was finally ready to do what I moved up here for, I made the hard decision to venture on my own. I even did a little consulting at Visa’s innovation group to pay some of my bills (no pun intended) while I got my act together.
And now, with my business partner and friend Brian, we’re kicking off our next startup, Splurgy. This marks our sixth attempt at a startup, and our second one with us both doing it full time. It is our first that got funding. Wish us luck!
In this blog, you’ll find stories, lessons, and mishaps I encounter along the way.