6 years later

I started at TokBox six years ago today.

It’s been an amazing journey to say the least. I interviewed with 20 companies my 5th year of college. I got a ton of first round interviews because I’d worked my ass off to build a killer internship resume. I just couldn’t close the door though on a bunch of companies (Mint, Facebook, Apple, Google to say the least).

But TokBox took a chance on me.

It all started with Timmy Wenzel who did my pre-screen interview. Turns out he had no idea what he was asking, but damn did he have me fooled. I came out to SF, interviewed with Ron, Nick, Kundan, I think Jason. It was scary. I wore a tie, and they all made fun of me. None of them are TokBox-ers today 🙁

I got my offer letter, and asked Timmy for more money. He said no. I took the job offer. Just asking Timmy for more money scared the shit out of me, but my dad said I had to do it. Timmy later told me if I’d asked again he would have said yes. I couldn’t though. His hair was too perfect.

There is genuinely only one other job I think I would have considered, and that was to go work for Steve Jernigan. I didn’t believe in the product Part of me thinks I should have just followed Eishay wherever he went. The road would look so different had I done that. I’d be a much, much better engineer though

Over the years the faces changed (a lot). Micky joined that November. I chased her the following January. Ian came the following May. Deidre came and left in that window. I think she was just 2 years too early. She and I just couldn’t convince folks quickly enough that the API was a legitimate thing.

It’s felt like three different roles. I exploded as an engineer under Yang. I exploded as a PM under David. And now only God knows what I’m doing under Scott. But all three of those experiences are A+.

In this epic state of nostalgia I think about all the things we could have done differently. What if we’d killed the load time llama, and just converted to an HTML based site? What if we’d hired that CTO guy? What if we’d handled the pivot differently from a company organization point of view? What if I’d left when everyone else was seeming to go?

The horizon for a VC-backed platform company is very different from a consumer-app company. We lost on that big time. And yet, Telefonica is allowing us to do great and big things. Silver linings abound.

I’m most proud that Janine and I convinced Ian to pivot. The technology was always meant to be a platform play (even if I had no chance of being the engineer to make it really happen). I told Ian once, “You’ve got me and Janine. That’s all you need to make this thing happen”. I was almost right.

I’m most sad about how many people we churned through along the way. I’ve never worked anywhere else, and so I don’t know if it’s typical to have such a “death” toll. It was a steep emotional cost to say the least.

This week Ian’s back. The vibe in the office is full of energy. The opportunities in front of us are so clear, so full of potential. The time coming up looks so much more full of potential than the time passed.

And I think that’s a sign that after 6 years… I did something right. Something to be proud of.