Cofounder & CEO at Mechanism Ventures
My Personal Mission
I think my purpose in life is to create the maximum positive impact on the world. Given my background and skillset, I think my biggest leverage comes from:
Launching and scaling ambitious companies that make a meaningful impact.
Aligning and inspiring smart people.
Raising a great family.
What I'm Doing Right Now
In 2019, I cofounded Mechanism. We are an early-stage venture firm that partners with entrepreneurs to launch and scale ambitious companies.
In our model, we work to identify and validate opportunities before creating every business. We then provide the growth expertise to gain early traction as well as the business support to create positive unit economics, profitability, and scale.
Our team has a track record of investing in and cofounding multiple companies with $100M+ revenue.
What I've Done in the Past
Cofounder & COO at Toptal
Cofounder & CEO at smsPREP
Chemical Engineering at Princeton
Mechanical Engineering Research at UNR and Stanford
My pevious titles and roles have included: Software Engineer, UI/UX Designer, Growth Consultant, Mentor, Gymnastics Coach
What to Expect with Me
I love working. I also have an obsessive personality and I am constantly thinking about my work. I’d much rather spend an evening with colleagues in front of a whiteboard than go out to a bar.
My work and personal life often overlap as I have strong, personal relationships with my colleagues. I find this approach to be both enjoyable and successful in driving trust, loyalty, well-being, and growth.
I care about people and I care about what they think of me. I think people are the most important part of entrepreneurship (and life) and they need to be happy, aligned, inspired, and empowered in order for a company to really thrive.
I do not like disappointing people. I think that if you’re smart enough and patient enough, it’s possible to make any situation a win-win for everyone. I always try to underpromise and overdeliver.
I have high expectations for myself and for the people around me. I am pretty good at giving people the benefit of the doubt and at being helpful/supportive, but in return I expect excellence. When mistakes are made, I expect people to own them and quickly improve.
I don’t want to work with bad people or amateurs. The costs are too high. In my mind, recruiting is all about minimizing false positives and false negatives, and I would much rather have a false negative than a false positive. Allowing a bad apple into your company or life can be devastating.
I believe ego creates blind spots and blind spots are dangerous. I always try to keep my ego in check and I expect others to do the same.
I believe good leaders do not create followers. They create more leaders. I am a fan of the following:
“With the greatest leader above them, people barely know one exists.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When a leader trusts no one, no one trusts him.
The great leader speaks little.
He never speaks carelessly.
He works without self-interest and leaves no trace.
When all is finished, the people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’”
- Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu
I try to iterate where it’s cheap, which is usually at the very beginning of something (e.g., a product, a project, or a company). I prioritize nailing down the vision and first principles for almost everything I do or am a part of. This is usually in the form of a 5WH and a roadmap, all done collaboratively. I find that this approach leads to success and excellence being achieved significantly faster and with far fewer problems along the way.
If we work together, I believe my job is to help you get everything you need and to get shit out of your way. I can help you come up with a dream-big-start-small approach and I can help you make market size your only growth constraint.
I believe companies need to be a meritocracy and I believe in the Founder's Mentality. I also believe that a meritocracy cannot exist with double standards, so it is important that everyone is held accountable. This means that expectations need to be crystal clear and it needs to be crystal clear when people are not meeting them. Failure to bridge the gap between reality and expectations is the only acceptable reason to dismiss someone (other than for cause) and a dismissal should never come as a surprise.
I am shy. I get nervous around people and I get especially nervous speaking in front of people. I’ve gotten good at hiding this, but it is something I deal with every day.
I am a strong individual contributor and I am good at adapting to whatever a company needs my role to be. That said, I sometimes struggle to delegate and I hold onto things longer than I should.
I make a lot of mistakes. But I am receptive, coachable, and I am constantly trying to improve. I seek and value feedback a lot, so when I get it, I listen.
I am trying to take better care of myself. I went nearly a decade without taking a break at my previous company and I don’t think that was smart. In the future, I want to have more balance and prioritize my health better so that I can be more successful in the long-term and not just the short-term.
I have a five-year-old daughter who is the center of my world. Keeping her safe and being as close to a world-class parent as I can be are top priorities for me.