What matters in a career, a company, and a Product.

This post started as an internal email, but I realized I should post it here for would-be Gnip applicants, and for anyone who may want some insight into how my brain works.

I consider myself one of Earth's luckier human residents. My post-University career started with a Netscape founder doing interviews one day at the University of Colorado at Boulder, just prior to graduating way back when. He interviewed me and passed me along to employee #5 for perusal. I flew out to Mountain View, interviewed, and was offered a job in the Networking Library group (netlib) for the core browser; I took it.

I had several offers coming out of college. I took the one with Netscape, not because of what Netscape was, or was becoming, but because of the people. They were great. They were smart (some of them genius). They were strong. They were engineers. They were business people. They were passionate. They were pragmatic. They were FUN! We are all great, lifelong friends. We lived and breathed "the browser." Trips to Tahoe for skiing in the winter, and boating in the summer, were a beautiful mix of work and play. I'll never forget debugging a User Agent problem over the phone with someone while riding up on the ski lift. In those early years, I learned how to code, build, have fun with "work" and how to be part of a team.

The wisdom imparted on me, the new guy, has guided me since.

  • "all that matters is percentage equity; fight for it. salary pays the bills; nothing more."
  • "do not be a jerk."
  • "do not work with jerks." (I violated this _once_ and paid a very heavy toll)
  • "do not settle for a half baked idea."
  • "engage with prior success."
  • "create small, tight, feedback loops, and make sure they always close."
  • "if you see a snake, kill it. do not play with dead snakes."
  • "it's a bug."
  • "we're doomed." (it's a figurative, contextual, sarcastic thing; not literal.)
  • "A players hire A players. B players hire Cs, Cs to Ds. Party's over."
  • "think of the world in terms of URLs. life is on the other end of them."
  • "HTTP is all that matters. People will layer on crap from there."
  • "do not break the build."
  • "make sure you're always working on the coolest thing."
  • "if you manage people, fight for them to the death."
  • hire people who are smarter than you. if you find you're the smartest person in the room, something went drastically wrong; restart.

Booms cause these rules to get twisted and watered down and broken. People get hyper and take short cuts, and things fail (bubbles burst).

While I have no desire to live in the past, taking learnings from it, and applying them today is fundamental. I'm back home in Boulder, CO now, and my friends and I are building Gnip. We are building a great product, and a great team, in a great place. Join us.

Jud Valeski

Jud Valeski

Parent, photographer, mountain biker, runner, investor, wagyu & sushi eater, and a Boulderite. Full bio here: https://valeski.org/jud-valeski-bio
Boulder, CO