Unbelievably, I forgot to announce on this blog that I am moving back to New York. As of Sunday I will be based out of Brooklyn Heights — returning to the city I left almost four years ago.
With that said, here is an ode to my time in DC.
When I arrived in DC I was doing securities litigation, studying for the LSAT and thinking I would join the ranks of K Street lawyers. I came to DC largely because I didn’t know anyone here and I didn’t want to do what all my other friends were doing ’â€œ namely live in Boston.
Quickly I realized that my interests were not in law, but rather in business. I passed on the LSAT and instead devoted time to finding a new job in finance. The problem was that no one wanted to hire a hippie from Maine with a degree in environmental science (oh the irony!)
One day I happened upon a job that sounded fascinating: a private equity fund investing in companies damaged during the Iraq war, helping them to rebuild and expand. After doing that for a while, I took a course in statistics thinking I’d apply to Bschool and hopefully go somewhere in Boston. However, I quickly found that DC offered me too many opportunities. I was making good money as a freelance consultant and writing business plan for startups. I even tried out a stint in international trade and in project finance. I then met Andy who inspired me to be an entrepreneur and who got me interested in philanthropic work.
I still recall one fateful car ride home with a VC I was helping on a telecom acquisition: “what do you know about web 2.0″ he asked. “Nothing” I replied. I literally had no clue what he was talking about.
Soon after I decided to enroll at the Bschool where I had taken my stats class. I had a great group of friends and I was starting to become interested in technology. I also felt as though I was learning a lot about the world ’â€œ every job (freelance or otherwise) I had gotten had been through networking. Connections. I’d just finished Tom Friedman’s book (globalizaton), I was passionate about entrepreneurship and I was learning about web 2.0’ why not start a company?
With my best friend we started IntelliGrad. Since then IntelliGrad morphed into a new iteration of online alumni networking targeted at private high schools and colleges. Last spring after hosting the Vision to Venture Capital Conference, I had the good fortune of meeting another talented guy who I’ve teamed up with for another project, more on the enterprise level, but uber revolutionary.
DC has been a great city. Mark, I’ll miss the lunches. I’ll miss the coolest address for an apartment ever: 1919 19th Street. I’ll miss eating bagels in the park with all the moms (hey I can work from anywhere!) and enjoying my Sunday brunches. I loved the Free museums, Dupont Circle and getting accosted daily by the guys at the Scientology Center wanting me to take a stress test. I even liked the Amtrak rides to and from Baltimore. A warm goodbye to the SCLA squash crew and all the great friends I’ve made at OpenCoffee, Social Media Club, etc, etc.
All in all, it’s an exciting time and I am a very lucky guy. New York should be a fun new life chapter and I look forward to stealing and taking with me some of the energy that has been brewing in the DC tech community.
My DC List:
Favorite Coffee Shop: Caribou Coffee on 17th
Favorite Wifi Hangout: LoveCafe on U
Favorite Tourist Site: Botanical Gardens
Favorite Museum: Phillips Collection
Favorite Blog: BYT
Favorite Bar: CafÃƒÂ© Saint-Ex
Favorite Restaurant ($$$): Butterfield 9
Favorite Restaurant ($): Mama Ayesha’s