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Featured on Mar 23, 2011

Mike Dirolf

"You look good today."


I recently started, with the goal of making group emails as simple as possible. Before that, I was working on MongoDB at 10gen. Before that, there were 22 years of other stuff.

  • Title: Founder,
  • Age: 24
  • Location: West Village
  • Contact: @mdirolf

You’re currently working out of Dogpatch Labs now in Union Square.  Besides your own, what are some other startups in there that you like or find exciting?

I'm tempted to cop-out and say something like "Dogpatch is great and all of the companies there are great and all of them are really exciting to me!", but I'll try to do a little better than that. One theme that jumps out at me from a couple of the startups at Dogpatch is that they're bringing technology to bear in industries that so far seem relatively untouched by the web, or at least have yet to be transformed by the web. I'm thinking of companies like Proper Cloth (custom dress shirts), Artsicle (original art) and ADstruc (outdoor advertising). That concept of marrying the web with these places it hasn't reached yet is particularly interesting to me, and all of those companies have great teams to make it happen.

Of course, Dogpatch is great and all of the companies there are great and all of them are really exciting to me!

You mention on your website, that you like to play soccer and ride/make longboards.  How long have you been playing soccer and where in the City do you play?  And how did you get into the business of making longboards?

I've been playing soccer for just about as long as I can remember. My dad has always been big into soccer, so my brothers and I would play with him in the yard growing up. I play on a couple of teams here in the city, and we're all over the place. Given the space constraints, I think you have to be willing to travel a bit to play any team sport in New York. I'd say most of the time we're either playing at Pier 40 or on Randall's Island, though.

My cousin got me into riding longboards in high school, and building them was sort of the natural next step in the progression. Software is fun because you get to be creative, but I think creating something a bit more tangible gives a different sense of satisfaction. I've only made a couple and don't really intend on turning it into a business, but having a brand ( is fun. Also it gave me the option of introducing myself as the owner of a skateboarding company rather than a database engineer. I've found that the former is much less likely to lead to the awkward followup of "What's a database?".

‪What do you think of the group text messaging space and where do you think fits in?

It's great to see all of the excitement around the group messaging space, and there are certainly a lot of smart people working on improving the state of the art. One interesting thing about SMS as a platform is that it's still relatively nascent. Email, on the other hand, is ancient by tech standards. I'm excited to try to breath some new life into it with fiesta. I also think that the types of conversations people have over SMS are very different than conversations over email. For whatever reason, I still prefer the latter. My guess is that there's room for both mediums in the group messaging space; I wouldn't bet against some convergence, though. It's certainly going to be interesting to see how things play out!

Ruby Developer, Technical Lead, CEO