In June 2011, I was transitioning between the dance organization I’d founded, Famous Circle, and joining a team of romanian hackers who wanted to change the game in online news consumption – Summify. Super inspired by my new team and what I had accomplished in the b-boy community, I really wanted to create a place where I could share my thoughts, ideas and projects: a hub where you could find out what I’m working on, how I think, and what I’m down with. I wanted a vehicle that would help me connect with cool people who were like-minded. Now here we are. Step 1: create a vehicle for calling someone a noob – complete.
A few weeks after the site was up I started writing a post called Why Noobs Win. At the time I was really beginning to notice which characteristics make some teachers great and some wicked terrible. I also realized that everyone who I really enjoyed being around – regardless of their skills and amazing talents – was a humble human being.
As I was writing, @slaven began following me on Twitter. His bio read:
Perfect! I snapped a screenshot and he was the star of my post (a pretty big deal for a blog with 7 hits).
— Robin Campbell (@Robncampbell) September 20, 2011
— Slaven Radic (@slaven) September 20, 2011
That was that. Step 2: call a dude a noob – complete
Then my time at Summify came to an end.
Just after the christmas holidays, the tech media were on the edge of their seats speculating at what Twitter’s next move was going to be. On January 19, 2012 we dropped the news that Summify was joining the flock at Twitter, every major tech blog in North America covered the acquisition, but nobody on the inside had made a peep. Then I wrote: What I Learned At Summify Before Twitter Swooped Down And Snatched Up My Team.
Mircea, one of the Summify co-founders, submitted the story to hacker news, it trended, people shared it and I got to meet a few interesting tech peeps for coffee. Lesson learned: when eyes and ears are on a hot topic in a small community, and you know something that no one else does, well, people read that stuff. Mission: meet some cool people – accomplished.
During this spike in my coffee dating schedule, Slaven dished me a tweet and thought it’d be interesting to actually meet (he probably just wanted to call me names). Of course I was in. I love noobs.
We went to the Gallery cafe on Robson street in Vancouver and I had the best time. The exchange was great. We chatted, I ate a nanaimo bar, and he was awesome. I can’t remember when I’ve had a more easy-going natural conversation with someone I’ve never met. Turns out he’s a tech guy who used to live in Victoria (my home town), but was now in Vancouver. He’s been around the block, developed some Windows software stuff, did some internet marketing, and sold his previous company to some people in France. The guy isn’t only down-to-earth awesome, he’s smart. Step 3: meet the noob – complete.
In the meantime, I had been contemplating what to do with my life and decided that it was time to move out of my parents house and head to Vancouver. It’s expensive here. I spent $7,000 in two months. I wanted to cry. Instead I jumped on the coffee circuit again and started chatting with startups about potential opportunities. A few months passed, it was May, and I felt like I was getting closer to locking down a new project. Then I got some LinkedIn mail. It was from Slaven and it went something like:
Hey Asshole! (Read: Hey Robin!)
Our new company Tapstream.com is just getting started. We’re raising money at the moment and looking for someone with your skills. We’re doing this and that, and would like to do this and that. Sound interesting? Let me know!
Coffee date booked. Back to our first meeting place, the Gallery cafe. Muy romantico.
Awesome conversation ensued, and even thought it was about work, I didn’t feel like I had to put on some front. I was 100% myself and felt I could literally tell him anything. So, when other’s were asking me where I wanted to be in the next year or so, I would tell them something, and Slaven the truth: South America! He responded something like “Wow, that’s really cool!” Is this guy for real? Seriously.
The next week we booked a lunch date with the rest of the Tapstream team (co-founder Ben, and head dev Nick), who were flying in from Victoria to come meet me. We had a solid meet and greet lunch at Cardero’s – beginning with a nice empty stomach beer buzz – and I was really digging the team. I ran off quickly to help a small asian friend move her three giant bags down four flights of stairs before her flight to Toronto, and then I met back up with the boys for coffee at the Fairmont. Unexpectedly, they got right to it. Ben and Slaven pitched me an offer. I couldn’t refuse.
So now I’m working with the kick-ass Tapstream team, from home, whenever I want, meeting with the Head Noob every few days, and plotting my next adventures abroad. Yup, I can work while traveling. Victory.
Step 4: get hired by the dude who you called a noob – complete. Very nice! High Five!
I wonder what would happen if I shared my thoughts more often? I think I might give it a try. But the more important question here is:
What would happen if you started sharing your thoughts?
You never know, until you call someone a noob.