Founder and CEO at Firespotter Labs
Craig is the Founder and CEO of Firespotter Labs, which has launched Nosh, NoshList and ÜberConference since its founding in 2011. Prior to Firespotter, Craig was Entrepreneur in Residence at Google Ventures. He previously was Group Product Manager for Google’s Real Time Communications Group where he was responsible for Google Voice, Google Talk and Google Talk Video, which he came to after Google acquired GrandCentral Communications where he was CEO and co-founder. Craig was previously the CEO of Dialpad Communications, which was acquired by Yahoo! to become Yahoo! Voice. Prior to Dialpad, Craig was a technology venture investor at Sterling Payot Capital and TeleSoft Partners and was also a corporate attorney at top tier law firms in Silicon Valley, where he represented companies ranging from early stage start-ups to Cisco Systems.
Letter to Myself at 20
When you think you can’t wait to get out of school next year as you’re “tired of it” now...think again. I’d kill to be back at school again. Also, a little hint, you’re going to go back to school a few more times which proves you really aren’t “tired of it” now.
Don’t sweat it that you don’t have everything figured out yet. Time moves on so use it to move forward every step of the way. You know your buddies that keep saying they plan to go back to business school, but can’t do it now because it would take “too long”, but they will in the future? They never went back and they regret it now. You did, and when you got out you had more debt than them sure, but the two years went by fast and it paid for itself many times over later in life. Not in prestige, ego or even salary, but just in the way to deal with issues as they come up. You weren’t sure you were learning much at school, but those courses and common sense came back to help you again and again in situations you never anticipated.
Since you plan to stay in the Valley, get ready for wild ups and downs in the economy. You’re going to be in the center of the hurricane in 1996-2001 and then its going to be really bleak from 2001-2005, get better, then suck badly, then get better, etc. This is good. Great opportunities come out of incredible growth and incredible destruction. Keep your wits about you and you’ll find those opportunities.
Most importantly, be nice to everybody and treat people fairly. Your mom was right. Don’t burn bridges. Just because you have leverage in a deal doesn’t mean you have to use it to the extreme. Business should result in a win win proposition and it won’t work if the other guy doesn’t feel good about the outcome. Also, don’t be a jerk to somebody, even when you have the right to do it. First, in business, nobody is ever really a “bad guy”...they just are doing what they think is right for them. Second, the Valley is a very small place. You will see the same characters year after year in different roles and different jobs. At some point, being a good guy that never burned anybody will pay off. Even if it doesn’t, you’ll live a happier life not worrying about stuff you can’t control.
Finally, make sure to get over to CB Hannegan’s in Los Gatos on Aug. 10, 1991...there’s a girl at the bar there that you have to meet.