I wrote my last blog post four months ago, and a lot has happened since then. This post will be a reflection on the last four months and an update on where life has taken me after business school.
In June, I graduated from Chicago Booth. My time in b-school brought with it many firsts. I lived in a new city. I traveled to six different countries I’d never been to. I started a company. I made new lifelong friends. I learned new skills that will make me a better worker and manager. And I eventually landed my dream job building drones in Silicon Valley.
Looking back on the whole experience, I feel like it went by way too fast. People often jokingly refer to business school as a two-year vacation. But for me, it was much more than that. It was my time of reflection and self-discovery. A time of figuring out what made me most happy, and what I really wanted to do with my life. I had a great finance job before school, but it didn’t fulfill me in the way I had hoped it would. I felt driven to create something useful that didn’t exist in the world, and I needed time to figure out what that something was.
Business school gave me that time. Given my passion for videography, it’s no coincidence that I started a company to help people create amazing videos. It’s also no coincidence that after school, I joined a company that builds flying robots designed to help people capture amazing videos. My two years at Booth gave me the time, network, and skills I needed to weave my passion into my career. For that, I am very thankful.
Some of you are probably asking, “What about Activid? Are you still working on it, or shutting it down?” It’s a good question, and I’ll try to answer it as best I can.
I launched Activid 18 months ago with the idea of connecting talented freelance editors with people who wanted their video edited. For most of my time at business school, I dedicated myself to creating this marketplace, hoping to one day help thousands of people create amazing highlight videos of their vacation, wedding, or other life event. Within the first three months, I recruited dozens of talented freelance editors, led a team of ten web developers from initial design to product launch, and started accepting paying customers. It became clear early on that finding talented editors (the supply) would be easy, while building a large user base (the demand) would prove much more difficult.
Activid grew quickly in the beginning, but did not experience the sustained, accelerated growth that every founder hopes for. The company was unable to find a solid product-market fit, and Activid’s growth rate did not support the personal and financial investment going into it. So when I received an offer at the end of school to join one of my favorite companies, 3D Robotics, I knew I couldn’t say no. The opportunity cost was just too high.
It’s for these reasons that I chose to shut down Activid and pursue new challenges. Even though Activid did not become the huge success I had imagined, I’m certain that a business like Activid will exist in the very near future. It could be another startup, or it could be a big company like GoPro, which has a vested interest in getting people to share their videos online. Either way, I hope someone builds this marketplace soon, because I will be their first customer!
One of my biggest interests since college has been videography. I’ve said this many times before on my blog – I believe that video has the power to tell a story in a way that pictures simply can’t. Video taking and video editing is my form of art. And I almost always take video with a GoPro.
When the first DJI Phantom drone came out a few years ago, it became my ultimate GoPro accessory. Discovering totally new ways of capturing video led to my avid interest in drones. So when I thought about what companies I wanted to work for, 3D Robotics (the largest U.S. drone maker) was at the top of my list.
I joined the Operations team at 3DR three months ago and have loved every second of it. I’m building products that I love, growing and managing a global supply chain, and learning from some seriously talented people. So far, I’ve spent roughly half my time in Asia helping to develop the company’s supply chain from scratch. People in China do business very differently than they do in the U.S., and understanding how to work in this new environment has been a challenging but fun learning process for me.
Like I said, a lot has happened to me in the last few months. A new job, a new city, and many new challenges. I’m extremely happy with where I ended up, and I’m excited to see where this next stage of my life will take me.