Escape Velocity

This past week  I reached escape velocity in my work and social life.

Now that my AdWords campaigns run without constant prodding I can focus on web development. I made simple but necessary improvements to the website using HTML/CSS, PHP and JavaScript. I proposed a “final” project: a redesign of the product pages.  At a meeting with Alex I explained the changes I wanted to make and showed him the sites I used for inspiration. I want to feature multiple large pictures that a user can zoom in on and tabs that show or hide parts of the technical descriptions of the tanks. I intend to clearly communicate product information to customers in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Today I sent my ideas over to the programmer and will hopefully hear back from him tomorrow. (The programmer and I have not met in person. He works remotely and is committed to multiple projects.) The site is custom built. Many pages, including the individual product pages, are intended to be controlled through an administrative panel that is friendly to non-programmers. This may make a redesign more complex and less desirable.

Throughout this process I learned a lot about user experience design, web typography and jQuery (a popular JavaScript library.) While I enjoy writing code, I really enjoy design. One unique aspect of working in a tiny startup is that design and engineering  are not separated. I have gained skills in many areas. I could now potentially be a UX designer, project manager, marketer, account manager or developer. After my internship I want to  focus on gaining a complete skill set in one job title. I came into this summer confident in my marketing ability but open to learning more technical skills. Now the product side resonates with me more. I want to keep building things.

This past week was one of my most social. On Wednesday I met nervous prefrosh and even more nervous parents at the Duke Send Off party in Pacific Heights. On Thursday Jellyfish Art hosted the SF Hardware Startup Meetup. On Friday I attended a swanky lesbian party at supperclub with a friend from Duke and her friend from Harvard. At the party I met a Stanford Computer Science PhD student named Leslie. In typical geek fashion we spent more than an hour talking about startups and venture capital and only a fraction of that time on the dance floor. She was a TA for Peter Thiel’s entrepreneurship class and is contributing to a medical software startup. Leslie invited me to a Sunday housewarming party for her friend Lori in the Inner Mission. Lori has a public policy tech startup and needs developers.  I stayed at Lori’s apartment till past midnight asking her questions about the startup and meeting her friends. She’s building a prototype in Ruby on Rails, an incentive for me to learn the language. Leslie encouraged me to register for  iOSDevCamp, a conference and hackathon this weekend at Ebay headquarters. The $50 fee is waived for women as an effort to encourage attendance. I have no experience with iOS development but am excited to explore my app ideas and meet like minded people.

Before this weekend my social life was devoid of startup geeks outside the program. I hung out with other Duke students and people from the SF LGBT scene. I now know a group of  LGBT friendly women who are as excited about startups as I am. Putting myself out there paid off.

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One response to “Escape Velocity

  1. Veronica, thanks for sharing. Such a dense post with so many incredible things. I’m excited for you, sounds like it’s been a great experience on several fronts.

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