I’ve just graduated Berkeley in December 2011. I graduated with a degree in Political Science. The things you’re going to read about me are not going to make sense if you come from the paradigm of “only coders can do X or only business grads can do Y.” That’s bullshit. You know it as well as I do…..
Previously I was a marketing analyst intern at Yoo-Mee Games where I crunched numbers and made recommendations to bosses who were in a turf war over who would get me for their projects. My boss, a director of Marketing that will remain anonymous was in a turf war with the CEO over who would get me for their pet projects. Why me… Why a Poli Sci kid and not some biz whiz? Well for one, I worked my ass off on everything. Everything. For two, I actually did have business knowledge, I was previously a business major as a freshman and left the field to study something more interesting: South Asian Politics. For three, I was taught business by my parents who own 7-Elevens in the LA area… I worked there as a sales associate until I proved myself and then transitioned into the back office where I figured out ways to make money more efficiently. In a sense, by the time I got to Yoo-Mee as a 22 year old I had already had 13 years of business schooling. So I outperformed my peers there and tried to make my bosses look good when they weren’t pirating my ideas. Eventually, Yoo-Mee games was slated for merger with another company. The parent company, Hooked Media Group had certain goals in mind that my bosses were not meeting. They were laid off and I was given a new chance to lead my own group and ideas.
I became a product generalist for a stealth startup group within Hooked Media Group. By that I mean that I did Product Management, Business Analysis, Marketing and Business Development. The idea of the CEO was to create an app on Android that was “fun, social and gave game recommendations to the user.” Off of these ideas, I developed an overall plan for the product. Working along with 2 other interns, I designed wireframes, wrote specs and created a product plan. The coders among you will say that this is impossible since I don’t have a coding background…. I have nothing against coders, but you don’t need to be a coder to be a product manager and you certainly do not need to be a coder to write specs and draw wireframes. It’s interesting how many people who have interviewed me disqualify me as a candidate since they think that it is impossible that I could do all of these things. Anyways, after that I focused on the competitive strategy for the product where I analyzed all of the competitors in the space such as Heyzap and Openfeint but also Appreciate as well as looking at what my peers in iOS were doing. Then I wrote the entire marketing plan which was interesting given that everything on Android is disconnected. I took the initial iteration of the game recommendation system that another intern had made and simplified it after researching Amazon, Pandora and Netflix recommended to the end user. Look up Amazon’s patented recommendation system when you get the chance, that this is AMAZING! Netflix was the easiest to copy, at best it was a system that classified movies into 4 dimensions. Too easy. Finally I worked on Business Development, which I initially hated because of the cultural image of traveling salesmen. Its surprisingly rewarding as a career choice, given that many CEOs came up through the business development division if their companies. I left Hooked in October 2011 to wrap up my education at Berkeley (I was in danger of failing at least 1 of my classes at the time) and to party 1 last time at Berkeley. They made a great offer that has not been matched since, but I chose to turn it down.
Now I’m a Social Media Marketing and Business Development Intern at Keiretsu Forum. I go to parties, network and check out if there are any interesting startups that should be funded. I market on Meetups, if you are a member of any of them, you might have gotten an email from me about the Ahead of the Fashion Accelerator (shameless plug). I also do it on Linkedin, which is a much friendlier beast surprisingly.
I’d love to be at a VC in 10-15 years after I get my MBA. Something about finding new opportunities and nurturing it is very appealing to me.