Sometime back in January, this guy Chris Kurdziel started following me on Twitter/Tumblr. I didn’t think anything of it, but he was interesting enough (via his own accounts Tw/Tu) that I followed him back.
A month later, we’d started TechStars and I wanted some support in planning for SXSW, so I posted looking for help. I talked to a bunch of candidates with shiny resumes, business school jargon, and alleged “passion for tech,” but none of them really ‘got it.’
He jumped in and worked remotely (from business school at Cornell), helping organize a great event for us at SXSW, taking a huge weight off my shoulders so I could focus on TechStars and endearing himself to us in the process.
So we brought him on this summer and affectionately dubbed him Intern Zero (among other nicknames), but let me be clear that Chris was anything but an “intern” in the traditional sense.
For starters, he wasn’t around to get us lunch and do menial work [ok… maybe we made him deliver cupcakes to Gary et al at USV once]. We also didn’t micro-manage. Sure, we coached and gave direction, but it was usually at Chris’ request. Hell - he even emailed us at one point with the subject line “i can haz moar badass.” Here’s an excerpt…
I’m writing this as a sort of “call to arms,” asking you all to help push me where you see opportunity for improvement. Hold my feet to the fire, put me through hell, and demand things from me that may appear to be unreasonable (even if I have no idea how the fuck to do them).
You gotta love that! So we put a little more pressure on, let him loose and “moar badass” is just what we got. Proof?
[Chris with Dan and Myles]
Today we are proud to officially announce hackday.tv - a 24 hour hackathon dedicated to showcasing innovation and creativity in the world of video. From booking the venue, to finding sponsors, API partners, et al… Chris is the man making it happen.
On top of that, Chris has done some solid blogging on his experience with Shelby and thoughts on our space in general. His post on Apple’s Tv Strategy blew up on Hacker News…
- What I’m doing this summer and why the heck you should care
- Apple’s TV Strategy
- Getting Ads Right in a World Where Bandwidth Isn’t Unlimited
- Keyboard Cat is Cool, but Changing Video is Cooler
All this stuff, on top of helping us every day as we closed funding, built product recruited team members. Hell… he even held an event with another stud tech intern - John Exley - bringing together all the interns in NYC to talk about how to make the most of their experiences.
It’s not surprising that Chris lead that event as he has certainly made the most of his time with us. And though he won’t be around day to day anymore, we’re excited that he’s going to keep working with us from school. Thanks for a great summer, Chris.
A few takeaways:
Trying to break into tech?
- Be good online. Have an active blog/Twitter account etc.
- Be willing to do anything, but also be able to focus on one thing and do it well.
- Execute like a mofo.
Bringing on interns?
- Find awesome people. Their resume is probably bullshit. You want the hustler.
- Set a general direction on a couple projects.
- Get the hell out of the way and let them show you what they’re made of.