I was born/grew up in: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I now live in: San Francisco, California, USA
I completed my training/education at: Princeton University (English); Columbia Business School (MBA)
What I do at work
I invest in new companies and serve as a board member and advisor as they grow.
During my typical day I will review proposals from a number of companies looking for investment. Usually these are online or mobile app companies, and usually they are providing some kind of service meant to be used by regular consumers. Good examples might be online travel companies or stock brokerage services or photo sharing apps.
I go through materials on paper or in presentations, and meet with the teams or founders that seem most likely to build great businesses. Sometimes those meetings include other potential investors, sometimes it's just me.
My STEM background helps me evaluate not only the numbers in business plans, but also the basic underpinnings of the businesses themselves - math is particularly useful when talking to founders about how many users they expect to find, how big their markets are, how much of their market they can expect to win for their own companies, and so on.
If there's one skill I wish I had a bit more of it would be computer programming, as there are many occasions when some basic SQL query skills would come in handy while evaluating data, and HTML or CSS would be helpful in building online presences.
My career path is
I had a traditional STEM background in high school, then went into Engineering at Princeton. I did the first two years, then switched to English and Theater as my arts/creative side won out for a while. Then it was back to business school after a couple of years in adventure travel, guiding cycling trips, and finally out to my first traditional job, at Microsoft in Seattle, working on a new set of travel products. That led to working at Expedia, first as the head of marketing and eventually as the CEO, and then to a number of other leadership jobs that led me to the investment world.
I am motivated by
The best part about this job is being around very creative and innovative people all day long. They are inventing the future, and I get to help them achieve their dreams.
I'd say this career works well for me in large part because I get to work on lots of different ideas at the same time, something which has always been very appealing to me.
How I affect people’s lives
When the companies I help do well, they provide jobs for all their employees, and a service that works for their customers. Everybody wins, and that feels great.
Outside of work I
Outside of work I write plays and short stories, ski and bike and trail run, and support my kids in their athletic endeavours.
My advice to others
If you enjoy doing more than one kind of thing (e.g. physics and theatre), find a way to do them both.