HTC & DMEC Alumni Mixer @ Abobe SF

Lastnight 60 HTC & DMEC members and alumni from a wide variety of companies around the Bay Area descended on Adobe’s San Francisco office for an informal mixer.

Adobe generously sponsored the event, providing delicious food and an abundance of beer and wine in a very cool venue, while Diageo hosted a Don Julio tasting station where attendees could learn about tequila and taste 4 varieties of Don Julio!

Everyone had an excellent evening of eating, drinking, tequila tasting and meeting new people and networking (perhaps the tequila helped ;-) )! The evening was a huge success!

Are You Ready To >play?

Last Saturday was the 7th annual >play Digital Media Conference, a student run conference hosted at Haas that brings together over 500 business professionals, industry leaders and graduate students to discuss the most important trends in digital media and cast predictions for the future.

Let me step back to last Thursday, when >play actually kicked off with an amazing event at the headquarters of Couchsurfing in San Francisco – a great space with couches (obviously), but also swings, and cool murals on the wall. It was a great night with about 150 attendees – a mix of student volunteers, >play vips and friends of Couchsurfing – who all enjoyed the sushi, sake, tea, beer and wine.

Back to the conference on Saturday. I was blown away by how professionally run the conference was. There was definitely no indication that this was a purely student run event. My day began with a breakfast hosted by Groupon which was really informative and interesting given their upcoming IPO. After breakfast it was time for opening remarks from the Dean, Richard Lyons, followed by the morning keynote – Jeff Jordan who is a partner at Andreesen Horowitz, and a real Bay Area identity, sitting on a huge array of Boards, as well as being Chairman of the Board for Open Table.

The keynote took the form of an interview from Kara Swisher, and they both played off each other for a really enjoyable hour, in which they discussed topics from Steve Jobs (Jordan said: “He made science fiction a reality”), to how VCs make investment decisions (Swisher joked:”to me it’s like a bunch of teenage girls chasing Justin Bieber”).

After the keynote there were rocket-pitches from the companies showcasing their products in the expo including Kno, Yelp, Yahoo!, TubeMogul, Rakoko, Pulse,, Sifteo, Wallit, Snapette, OnLive and more. Other companies at >play were Sony Computer Entertainment, Microsoft, Rexly, localmind and many more. Between the rocket pitches and exploring the expo during the day I was fascinated with all of the exciting products and trends … although one of the more fun was playing with the XBox and the Kinect that Microsoft had set up.

Other highlights of the day included talks from Sony Computer Entertainment, and Kno, who are fundamentally shifting the textbook market, to a panel on Search vs. Discovery in which we heard about the need to balance tailored results with the problems of overpersonalization.

The day closed with a final keynote from Geoffrey Moore, a best selling author and chairman emeritus at TCG Advisors, who spoke about Crossing the Chasm vs Spinning Up The Web – the different strategies needed for B2B and B2C success in digital media, which was fascinating to hear.

All in all, it was an excellent day – I had a great time, and also learned a huge amount!

Busier than ever!

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any busier, the summer internship recruiting process began in earnest! In addition to attending classes and fulfilling my club leadership responsibilities (Haas Student Ambassadors! Tech Club! Beer Industry Club!), I’m also actively searching for a summer job in the tech industry. Since I’m an industry switcher, I’ve been focusing on ways to increase my knowledge of the tech industry. Two of the main ways I’ve been doing that since coming back for Spring semester have been informational interviews and company treks.

Although Haas has a smaller student body than a lot of MBA programs, it’s turned out to be a tremendous benefit when it comes to networking because our alums are so eager to help out fellow Haasies. I was initially pretty uncomfortable with the idea of reaching out to complete strangers, but our alums have made it painless! Every single person I’ve reached out to (and there have been literally dozens) has gotten back to me, answering my questions and encouraging my interest in their companies. They have graciously taken time out of their busy days to chat with me on the phone or over coffee about their companies, roles, and trends they see in the industry. As a result, I’ve been able to identify companies and roles in which my skills would be a good fit, and I’ve felt prepared and knowledgable for interviews, which just started a few weeks ago.

I’ve also enjoyed visiting tech companies in SF and the Silicon Valley. HTC has been really active setting up on-site tours and networking events with large and small companies in a variety of sub-industries, from networks to online to software. These events give members a great opportunity to get a feel for these companies and another way to meet current employees. I recently joined HTC’s trip to Cisco, where we had the chance to hear about the internships for which they’re hiring–AND test out their TelePresence software! (Read about it here.) Pretty much every Friday, we can count on a trip down to the Valley. And in fact, today is no different; I’m heading out the door to the GooglePlex right now!

Haas Tech Club @ Crunchies

Students at Berkeley will never stop raving about the opportunities you get to interact with techies and entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley. Last week, about 10 Haasies got together to attend the “Crunchies”.

The Crunchies are to technology what the Oscars are to Hollywood. The awards celebrate the best tech accomplishments of 2009. GigaOm, VentureBeat and TechCrunch were the co-hosts and masters in ceremonies for the event that was held in the elegant Herbst Theater in San Francisco.

I cheered on as of my favourite tech apps, products and services were recognized for their awesomeness. Some of these included Dropbox, Facebook. Google Docs and Mint. Better luck to Jack Dorsey (for square), Tony Hsieh (Zappos), Yelp, Chatter and Groupon (which I LOVE!!), who probably lost our narrowly to winners in their respective categories. The complete list of winners is available at

The award ceremony was followed by an amazing after-party. I made a list of the evening’s highlights (in no particular order)

1. Meeting Mark Pincus – Truly one of the most prolific entrepreneurs of our times, Mark Pincus also spoke about how Zynga (through Farmville and other social games) was raising money for charitable causes.

2. Applauding Ron Conway for winning “Angel Investor of the Year” (joke of the evening was that he was giving $50K to everyone in the audience to start their own company). Of course, if you wanted examples of how Silicon Valley really pays tributes to its heroes, you should read Y-Combinators blog requesting their supporters to vote for Ron Conway.

3. Google giving away 10 Nexus One phones to lucky winners in the audience. Of course, with my sort of luck, it wasn’t a surprise that I didn’t win. However, Vic Gundotra (VP Engineering at Google) did declare that Google Voice will come to iPhone “one way or the other”. Apparently, as quoted by JP, the HTC president, Vic also said “Haas Tech Club? We need to hire more of you guys!” Couldn’t agree more, Sir!

4. My classmate Jason Mills, gets a photograph with the founder of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg. Read Mark’s interview with Mike Arrington for his thoughts on social networking in the context of today.
5. A fun way to catch up with classmates in the middle of a long break!

HTC Members at the Crunchies After Party

Gambling for charity!

Hanging with The Mule – Founder of Smule, iPhone App Company, with titles such as the Ocarina Flute and I Am T-Pain.

Volunteering – Checking in the VIPs and Attendee for the Event


Symantec Tech Trek

When Vince and Matt asked me to write a guest post, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to share my experience here at Haas. This past Friday, roughly 15 members from the Haas Tech Club trekked to Mountain View, CA to tour Symantec’s corporate headquarters. While Symantec has grown to a Fortune 500 company with revenues exceeding $6 billion, the Symantec campus still has the energy of a start-up – ping-pong and fussball tables line the hallways and sand volleyball courts scattered around the campus get plenty of use.

While at Symantec, we toured a couple of their data centers dedicated to product development and R&D. I’ve been to a fair amount of data centers in my day but none as complex as Symantec’s. Symantec technicians support hundreds of unique hardware configurations and OS platforms to simulate each of Symantec’s customers’ infrastructures and environment.

Both the VP of Finance and VP of Symantec’s Storage and Availability Management Group (SAMG) provided overviews of the business and MBA full-time and internship opportunities available. Then we had a Q+A session with a number of Symantec employees working on the corporate finance and SAMG product management/marketing teams (many of whom were Haas alums!). Talking with Symantec employees, definitely gave us a better sense of what it is like to work at one of the world’s leading information management and security companies. I was very impressed with Symantec and glad to be a part of this Tech Club Trek.

Thanks Symantec and we look forward to seeing you at the December Consumption Function!

—Tim Potter, MBA 11

On the other side of town

One of the greatest things about Haas is not what goes on within, but what happens just a stone’s throw outside of campus.   I came to Haas to switch careers, with the goal of moving from consulting to technology.  There are plenty of ways to explore new fields, understand industry trends, and make alumni connections.  I’ve joined the Haas Technology Club and the Digital Media & Entertainment Club (DMEC), enrolled in speaker series, and plan to take classes in the Management of Technology (MOT) program. 

But let’s not forget that the Silicon Valley is in our backyard. And last Friday was a great reminder of this. With the Bay Bridge closed, a bunch of Haas students braved the crowded BART trains to the Virtual Goods Summit. The summit brought together leaders in this emerging space for conversations about the state of the virtual goods ecosystem as well discussed growth opportunities. Projected to be an $1B US industry this year, it’s growing at an incredible pace.

Having walked into the conference with only a general knowledge about the space, I felt as if I was drinking from a fire hose.   I realized that much of what we discuss in class: demand curves, willingness to pay, price discrimination, and… even statistics are being used real-time by companies trying to monetize on digital content. The key difference is that shifts in policy don’t take months, years to bring change; change can take place in a matter of hours.  To dip into the pool of insight, check out a presentation from Bill Grosso, CTO and SVP of Product, Live Gamer.

I left the summit with a head full of information and had the opportunity to network with thought leaders in the industry.   Most importantly, the energy from learning about such a kinetic and growing industry made the 20 minute BART ride home seem to flicker by in 20 seconds.

Haas @ Virtual Goods Summit 2009