5 people I wish I could start a company with.

Charlie O'Donnell had a post today about “Five people that I wish I had something more interesting to say to” which I thought was really fun to read and think about (plus it pointed out Marco Arment to me who I now find fascinating and have started to follow as well).

Anyway, in the comments of the post, I mentioned that Charlie himself would make my own list of five…and then he responded wondering who the other four would be…so that’s what this post is about. Only instead of listing five people I wish I had more interesting things to say to…I’m making it a list of five people I wish I could start a company with (because I’m under the delusion that I have interesting things to say to each of these people, we just never find the time to actually have most of those conversations!).

Oh and the other small disclaimer that I would like to make is that, like my life in general, this is a moving target…my opinions and thoughts change over time (sometimes quite rapidly, and often in completely different directions)…so this is really just a lis of five people I would love to start a company with right now:

1. Charlie O'Donnell - since he sparked this, I’ll start with him. What I love about Charlie is that he’s always looking for an angle to help, a connection or some random person or project that he’s heard about that he thinks might benefit what you’re trying to do…not to mention he’s got gobs-o-charisma, knows just about everyone, but somehow stays pretty humble and continues to put the work in (his passion for everything he does or gets involved in is a very big plus in my book)…I’ve told him before that I want in on his ‘next’ venture (though he’s said he probably won’t head back down the startup path directly again) and I’m sticking to that (I’ll wear him down eventually)…follow ceonyc on Twitter and I think you’ll see a bit of why he makes my list.

2. Whitney McNamara - he’s the brains behind conversationlist.com and most of the other 'cool’ things I’ve been playing with related to wow.ly…and while we don’t really have a 'business plan’ around wow.ly (and so no current plans to turn it into a business), I would jump at the chance to 'officially’ work with Whitney. In addition to being another guy that really has his hand on the pulse of what the 'cool stuff’ going on in the tech. scene is, Whitney is also one of those tech. cross overs that seems to be able to grep the tech. side just as much as the business side…and he’s a deep thinker that’s always brings value to any conversation I’ve ever seen him partake in. When I have a 'real’ idea that I’m thinking about, he’s one of the first people I beg for feedback from…follow whitneymcn on Twitter and you’ll see all this plus become hip to some great music and the NYC coffee scene (and I don’t even drink coffee)!

3. Hilary Mason - Hilary made Charlie’s list as well (and really there aren’t many people I know that wouldn’t include Hilary on their own lists)…Hilary and I also try to do the Cheeseburger club* together about once a month, and just getting to chat with Hilary about tech. stuff is often my favorite part of each month! I’ve always heard that if you’re going to build a company you want to surround yourself with people that are smarter than you…and for my money there’s not too many that are smarter than Hilary…but besides being able to talk data, math, and programming with the best of them one of my favorite things about Hilary is that she’s actually all about the people (though she probably doesn’t think so). At the end of the day, in my opinion, everything Hilary does is really to help bridge the gap between machines and people…and she genuinely cares about fixing the academic computer world and making life a little better/easier for the programmers who will follow in our footsteps. Like everyone else on this list, Hilary also lives the 'computer life’ often spending her free time hacking and/or playing with data just because she loves it…follow hmason on Twitter and you’re brain will probably get a math workout from time to time, but you’ll smile the whole time too!

4. Kiril Savino - Kiril is the main tech. guy behind GameChanger and a big Python and Mongo guru/fan…GameChanger is basically the company I *should* have been building statsfeed into (of course they are starting with a focus on the recreational market and I would have started on the professional market, but the core concept of statistic collection and distribution they have is brilliant and what I should have thought of years ago had I been smarter). More than his sports interest, and his awesome company/project, I would love to work with Kiril because he’s one of the most focused and passionate tech. people I know…sure he’s got little side ideas and interests (plus a wife and kid) but for the most part, he eats, sleeps, and breaths GameChanger right now…and that’s why he’s the real 'secret sauce’ behind why GameChanger is going to be so huge. And of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s fun to hang around and an experienced tech guy that would likely put most of my actual code to shame…follow kirilnyc on twitter and you’ll see what I mean.

5. Darren Herman - Of all the people on my list, Darren is the only one that’s not deeply involved on a day-to-day basis with the NYC tech. start up world right now (he’s got a bit more 'corporate’ position with a marketing firm as his day job)…but even still, he does some Angel investing, he knows almost everyone, and he does have his fingers into some really interesting startups as well (his very own Tomzy project to name one). What I love about Darren is that he brings a real world business view to the table (along with awesome startup experience)…so he’s not just thinking about making it work, he’s thinking about making it scale into a real business (from a business point of view I mean)…and he knows the advertising world inside out, has an awesome gaming background, and is also one of those 'deep thinkers’ like everyone else on this list (even though I didn’t specifically say that about each, if you follow them, you’ll see they all really are)…Darren is also just fun to be around, but knows how to get things into focus and just get stuff done (I’m a HUGE fan of people that actually get stuff done rather than just talk about maybe getting stuff done)…he’s also just one of those guys that seems to have the Midas touch or at least gives me the feeling that, if he’s involved, it will work out in some way or form…I think eventually the thrill and excitement of the startup world will win Darren back, and when it does I want to be along for the ride! Follow dherman76 on Twitter and you won’t be sorry.

So there you have it…five people off the top of my head that I would love to start a company with…of course there are a few more that also come to mind (and maybe I’ll post about them soon too)…but these are ones I’ve been following for awhile, getting to know a bit more over the last few years…and for the most part unavailable to fulfill this wish at this time…

So who’s on your own list?


* In case you’ve never heard me talk about the Cheeseburger club before…Hilary Mason and I do this thing we call the Cheeseburger club about once a month (we’ve done it for four or five months now)…basically we just get a group of people who are in or around the NY tech scene and that we find interesting together for lunch…we usually pick a place with good Cheeseburgers and keep the group to no more than 6 people at a time. There is no other theme or purpose for the lunch other than to talk about the NY tech. scene, talk tech. in general, and meet interesting people.

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This is the personal blog of Kevin Marshall (a.k.a Falicon) where he often digs into side projects he's working on for digdownlabs.com and other random thoughts he's got on his mind.

Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.

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