February 25, 2008
LA Times on Founders Brunch and the PowerStache
My friend Jessica Guynn just wrote an article that appeared online in the LA times today entitled: Brainstorming over bagels: Silicon Valley entrepreneurs seek camaraderie and capital at brunch.
The article will appear in the LA Times print edition tomorrow morning.
The articles covers the Founders Brunch, a networking event for founders of companies that I attend regularly.
Many of my friends are quoted in the article, and there are photos of Auren Hoffman and Keith Rabois (our host this time). Peter Thiel expressed the networking aspect of this kind of event well:
Founders Brunch is important for the same reason Silicon Valley is important: There are all of these subtle network effects,” said Peter Thiel, a 40-year-old former PayPal executive now bankrolling some of the hottest Internet companies. “Otherwise why wouldn’t you start a tech company in Fresno where everything is cheaper? The advantage to being in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco area is that so many other people are doing the same thing.”
Jessica noted that I had a new beard, and I explained my recent decision on growing it:
Barney Pell, the 39-year-old co-founder of Powerset, a natural-language search engine trying to challenge Google, sported a new beard he vowed not to shave until his San Francisco start-up launched its new product.
To be more accurate, I vowed not to shave off my beard until the launch, but I didn’t vow that I wouldn’t shave at all. I made that mistake during graduate school. I thought I was ready to submit my PhD thesis in about 3 months, and vowed not to shave or cut my hair until it was done. This was partly a way to motivate myself to finish, and partly a way to let my friends stop asking about my progress as they would clearly know when was done. As it turned out, my thesis advisor thought I had more work to do, and I wound up taking a full year before finishing. So by the time I was actually ready to submit my thesis, I had really long hair and a very full beard indeed. I’m not going to do risk that again…
Anyway, you might think I’m a maverick, but it turns out that most of Powerset is in on the gig. Almost all our employees are growing moustaches and/or beards in preparation for our upcoming launch. Even women who can’t grow nearly as nice moustaches as the men have painted them on from time to time. And our folks even registered a domain name and created a website, PowerStache.com, featuring photos taken over time as people grow their beards and moustaches.
It’s pretty silly and really wasn’t initially a coordinated effort, but it’s fun and reflects the excitement inside the company as we are nearing the time when the early version of our product will be available to the general public.
Posted by barney at February 25, 2008 7:52 pm
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