A Windy Path into Venture

Here’s a very brief sequence of events that eventually led me into the venture world. Certainly there’s a lot more behind the story, but this is how I’d quickly “connect the dots” over the last two years:


  • In the summer of 2010, when I moved to Silicon Valley, a mutual friend introduced me to Ping Li of Accel. Ping was very gracious and met with me from time to time, offering advice on what he thought I should do and listening as I navigated my way through deciding what I wanted to do.
  • In late 2010, Erick Schonfeld, MG, and Arrington invited me to publish a long paper I’d written about Quora. That December, Quora exploded, the initial pieces I wrote were well-received, and they invited me to be a contributor to TechCrunch.


  • In February of 2011, I met John Lilly. I’d been reading his blog for a while, and was introduced to him by the head of a company I’d been advising (Dygest). It turned out that his firm was hiring, so I got to know them really well, but came up a bit short. I became friends with John through the process and stayed in close touch with him, often emailing/chatting about startups, new ideas, themes, career advice.
  • In December 2011, I floated the idea of creating a weekly “TV Series” using the TechCrunch TV studio. Jon Orlin, who used to produce TV for CNN, suggested a few themes and helped me create “In the Studio.”


  • In January 2012, I asked Lilly to be one of my first TV guests, and we cut an interview around his recent blog posts, specifically dealing with health data, sensors, apps, and hardware. One of the few people to comment on it was someone named Alex Gurevich from Javelin Venture Partners.
  • In March 2012, in Austin for SXSW, I ran into Alex for the first time in real life in the middle of a really overcrowded startup party. He recognized me from the videos on TechCrunch and specifically mentioned the one with Lilly, where we discussed health data. That had never happened to me before, and he wanted me to meet one of his colleagues, Noah Doyle. We followed up by email but the messaging trail faded out after a few notes.
  • Later in March 2012, I invited Ping Li from Accel “In the Studio” for an interview. Like Lilly, he’s interested in big data, but on the application side for enterprise, and I helped him a bit on looking at a lineup for his firm’s conference on Big Data.
  • On May 9, Accel held their Big Data Conference at Stanford, during one of the breaks, I ran into Alex who was outside. I told him I was going to leave my current gig, and he casually suggested an EIR-type role for the summer, but that he’d have to talk it over with the folks who manage the firm he works at. I spent a few days with Alex and his partners, and in early June, they graciously invited me to come in for the summer as an EIR at Javelin and see the process from the inside for a few months.
  • Yesterday,  July 2, was my first day as an EIR.