for W3c validation
Note: as I’m currently evaluating and interviewing for product manager opportunities, I’m publishing many answers to the product, behavioral, business, and life questions I’m researching/practicing publicly rather than keep them private in a Google doc.
Walk me through your background
The Maker / Creative
My father and both grandfathers instilled a strong sense of problem solving and making at a very early age.
When most people break a chair, the first reaction is “let’s go buy a new one”. Not in my family. When a chair breaks, you figure out how to fix it — ideally, with tools and spare parts you have on hand.
I grew up creating and fixing all types of things with my hands. I’ve ripped apart car engines, doors, and axles. Rebuilt houses. Remodeled porches. Built and repaired computers. Built a deck. I’ve designed and built a television stand as a christmas gift. Diagnosed and fixed RC cars, as well as toy tonka trucks.
When I walk into a house, I often immediately start thinking about what’s behind the walls and how the structure was erected. When I look at a computer, I start wondering how the motherboard, hard drive, memory, and screen are connected. When I push the pedal down in a car, I’m thinking about what levers and sensors are used to make the car accelerate.
My love of solving problems as a kid led me to the technology of our generation — computers.
Did I buy a fully working computer? Of course not. In middle school, I saved my money — and pieced together a motherboard, monitor, graphics card, hard drive, RAM, and disk drives and built my own instead. I played with 2D & 3D animation software in the late 1990’s. Later, the fascination with computers led me to learn HTML/CSS in order to build web pages (& web businesses).
Upon completion of high school, I entered college with a dream of being a computer engineer. After realizing I didn’t want math and physics to be my life — nor did I want be stuck behind a screen with little human interaction — I switched degrees from computer science to construction management before finally settling on business administration. That turned out to be a fantastic decision, as it gave me an outlet to think strategically/critically from a business perspective and enabled me to do that within the startup technology environment.
From my earliest days of selling lemonade, selling candy in middle school, mowing lawns, and demolishing houses — I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I believe a big part of that is the sense of independence I grew up with as the youngest child of a single mother.
Once I figured out what “tech startups” were my senior year of college, I immediately knew that’s where I wanted to land career wise. The tech world moved at lightning speed compared to the traditional corporate world. Tim Reha, whom I interned for spring of 2005, helped me navigate the startup waters following my return from Europe in the fall of 2005 — and within a month helped me secure a job at Zillow.
The rest (aka my professional career), is history.