Featured on Sep 22, 2011
"If you can imagine it, you can build it."
I'm the co-founder of CityPockets, a web startup to help consumers manage all of their daily deals. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Computer Science and spent the following 5 years working for IBM as a senior Java developer. At IBM I led a web 2.0 portal practice and was the ultimate road warrior where I flew around the country every week. These days I spend most of my time working out my hometown NYC developing cool products using open source technologies for my company. I am also a full time New York Yankees fan.
- Title: Co-founder of CityPockets
- Age: 28
- Location: Brooklyn
- Contact: @jhonyNYC
Your startup Citypockets went through the startup accelerator program LaunchBox Digital down in North Carolina. How did you and your co-founder, Cheryl, find out about this program and come to the decision to do it?
When I first graduated from Cornell University, I found myself in a corporate environment and my career was focused on delivering web products for enterprise clients. I had very limited first-hand knowledge of startups and didn’t have much exposure to that community until my good college friend, Ray, launched his own startup. He graduated from LaunchBox Digital two years prior to CityPockets and was instrumental throughout our application process. As first time entrepreneurs, Cheryl and I were foreign to the space, but we knew that participating in an accelerator program would provide our company credibility and guidance to efficiently navigate the startup world.
Do you ever miss working at a place like IBM? What’s the biggest difference to you from working at a corporate environment like that to your own startup?
I really missed the regular 9-5 Monday to Friday work week and the vacation days. In all honesty though, a company like IBM provides stability and resources that are not as prevalent in a startup. However, being in a startup has the advantage of speed. We are constantly releasing code and delivering results in short periods of time. The most important reason why I started my own company is because I love to learn. We are learning something new every day, and as a result my work and life are always evolving. Now that I’m running my own company, the options of technologies are numerous. Whenever we develop a new feature, I always try to find the best tool to get the job done and as I do that, I am learning something new.
You mention on your LinkedIn that you like to follow the tech industry and enjoy reading articles on the space. What are some of your favorite publications and blogs?
One of my favorite blog sites that I started following is highscalability.com. It gives me an appreciation of the challenges in solving scalability issues and hopefully I can apply some of the same principles when we scale. I also enjoy reading Paul Graham’s essays. He provides tremendous insights into the startup community that can be very helpful for first time entrepreneurs. On the geekier side of things, I think all engineers should read the publications outlined in http://blog.objectmentor.com/articles/2009/02/26/10-papers-every-programmer-should-read-at-least-twice (it’s not for the faint of heart to the business folks)