Looking Forward To 2011

2011

2010 was a challenging year for me personally and I took a fair amount of time off from blogging. I’m hoping to get back into the groove of writing this year.

Initially I thought I’d write a lengthy retrospective about my year, but who wants to dwell in the past? So here’s a quick take on what has me excited in tech right now. If you have specific questions feel free to ask in the comments, or email me — I will gladly answer.

2010 saw me transition out of Workstreamer, a company I started 4+ years ago. Workstreamer is going strong under new leadership. Ben Schippers and I sold the company during the late summer of 2010. I’m proud of what we accomplished, but it’s hard to let go of your baby.

Since leaving Workstreamer I started two projects. The first, Eat.ly, was started with three friends (now all  employed at Foursquare). Eat.ly was recently acquired by Foodspotting.

The second project was one that truly excited me and I had hoped to work on going forward. The concept was most closely related to what BranchOut and Identified are doing: bringing a work graph (a la Linkedin) to Facebook. Sadly, the project had to be abandoned for personal reasons. However, I am positive the idea of leveraging Facebook’s scale for recruiting will see some breakout ideas this year. People need jobs and Facebook is where the people are.

Over the summer and fall I consulted for two companies that I expect to make noise soon: Red Rover (Backed by some high caliber angels and Foursquare peeps) and Bundle (Backed by Citi and Microsoft). Consulting is fun, but it’s not the same as having true ownership and upside.

So what has me excited for the year ahead?

My big change is that I’ll now be formally involved with my good friends at Rocketfuel, where I’ll be serving as an in-house entrepreneur of sorts, helping incubate some TBD startups. I’m hoping my technical co-conspirator Zvi will also be involved.

On a personal level I feel pretty happy; I have a ton to be thankful for and I have learned some difficult lessons over the past year that have left me stronger and hungrier than before.

I also as bullish on entrepreneurship as ever. At several points last year I questioned whether I wanted to stay in startups or move into finance or a VC role. But I want to stay in the game. I feel I’m pretty good at trend spotting and timing and picking markets are so crucial to success. Toward the end of 2009 I knew that Facebook, Location and Gamification would be the hot categories. Twitter I’m less bullish on, but Quora and Foursquare both have me really jazzed. Mobile is going bananas. Data tools. Lots of opportunities.

So we’ll see what happens, but I’m ready to be building again.

Here’s to a fantastic 2011 and a resurgence in my blogging.

It feels good to be back!

Sam

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