Breaking into tech with a history degree is not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. At the time, everyone knew you had to know how to code to get your foot in the door. But studying the past showed me that technology is always the future, and there was nowhere I’d rather be. I knew I had to try.
Growing up in Ann Arbor, I bought my first computer with money from my paper route. I was the kind of kid who would open up every program and poke at every menu item one by one. I wanted to know everything software could do.
But when I got to college, computer science didn’t occur to me. I was too interested in people and what made them tick. I was sure I would study neuroscience until I realized I’d rather be in the library than the lab, poring over old letters and yellowed magazines.
Halfway through my degree, I picked my head up and noticed that history was happening all around me. It was the dawn of internet culture, and I decided to do everything I could to be a part of it. I ended up banding together with friends to start ROFLCon, the first internet culture conference. The people I met by starting something from scratch remain some of my dearest friends to this day.
Out of all the tech companies I applied to right out of college, only one gave me a shot. But one is all it takes. Through product roles at Microsoft, SoundCloud, and ultimately Quip (acquired by Salesforce in 2016), I got to shape how users spent their days. I learned that every good feature starts with understanding who you’re building for and caring about how they’re trying to change their worlds. The best thing about product is that it’s where people and technology come together.
I like to learn and I like to help. I want to know your hopes and dreams. I believe that the best ideas come from the parts of us that long for more.
AB History, Secondary in Visual & Environmental Studies
Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
Harvard Business School