Life of FBi | Non-Tech Start-up Founder

Looks like a Chinaman, Sounds like an Aussie, Utterly Confusing

A Truly Amazing Weekend

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The combination of events and experiences of the past three days have really typified how much life has started to evolve for me by putting myself in the right environment. The tales of the past three days will live in my memory for some time yet to come.


12am; My roommate Dinesh and I are working, him on his energy efficient lighting startup, me on Blank Label. We’re joined in our room by Samuel who wants to capture the energy Dinesh and I have.

4am; We get some shuteye as Babson Forum starts early in the morning.

8am; Alarm goes off and I jump out of bed. Strange given I usually snooze quite a few times before actually rolling out of bed. But this is a special weekend. Dinesh and I run to Samuel’s room to wake him up.

9am; I catch the second half of Helen Greiner‘s story on the journey of iRobot. I catch her in the foyer afterward and re-connect (several months previous I had asked a semi-stupid question to a panel she sat on).

10am; Catch Alan Webber, founder of Fast Company magazine, again in the foyer (reaffirming that conversations in the foyer in between talks are the best thing about conferences), talk about young entrepreneurs making moves in Boston, especially about his appearance on Dart Boston the previous evening.

11am; Watch a panel with Gail Goodman, Chairman and CEO of Constant Contact, Kevin Colleran, tenth employee of Facebook, and Gary Vee, social media rockstar, moderated by Barry Libert, Chairman and CEO of Mzinga. Gary Vee, as expected, is a rockstar on the panel, and catching him for a couple of minutes afterward only confirmed this.

12pm; Have lunch on a table with some Babson entrepreneurs, Kevin Colleran from Facebook, and Mark Atkins, Chairman and CEO of Invention Machine Corp, talk about all sorts of crazy things. We then listen in on a keynote talk by Doug Otto, Co-Founder and ex-CEO of Deckers Outdoor Corp (UGG Boots), after which I wait inline patiently to speak with him, pitch him Blank Label, to which he responds he’s totally into mass-customization and that I have to follow up.

2:30pm; Watch a panel talk from three Babson alums, Matt Lauzon, Lin Miao, Francesco DeParis, and one current Babson student, Chris Jacobs, who in the past three years have all been in BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25. Catch up with Matt and Lin afterward. Chris lives in E-Tower with me.

5:00pm; Do a little more networking, catch-up with John Harthorne from MassChallenge, listen to Alan Webber give a keynote, catch-up with him briefly afterward.

6:00pm; Attend a Babson Hall of Fame Dinner which is nice, but I start falling asleep during dinner, even though there are talks given by Carl Schramm, CEO of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and insanely wealthy alumni, Matt Coffin. Have interesting chats with Babson alumni, especially IdeaPaint founders.

10:00pm; Go to pub with Francesco DeParis who is also at dinner and a few other Babson students. See Jeff Katz, producer of Freddy vs Jason, Snakes on a Plane, X-Men Originals: Wolverine, there drinking at the bar, he comes up to E-Tower, we drink and smoke, and I get inebriated with a young Hollywood producer.

3:00am; Pass the fuck out.


10:00am; Wake up to a hangover, check through work emails, feel bad for the team, especially our CTO who was working till early AM.

11:00am; Walk out to E-Tower lounge to an awesome champagne breakfast for Babson Parents Weekend. This helps the hangover.

12:00pm; Go to work to make sure we’re still on target for launch on October 31, reviewing web designs, examining photorealistic rendering of our shirts, touching base with a few prominent bloggers in our space.

5:00pm; Get news from SP, code name for wicked smart, founder of one of Boston’s most exciting, venture-backed startups, that he’ll be hanging out with me for the night, talking about Blank Label, and then partying at one of Olin College’s biggest parties of the year. Clap my hands. Keep working.

8:00pm; SP comes around, we chill and talk, I introduce him to a few E-Tower folk. He gives me a major mind fuck about how I’m running Blank Label, walk away with some really honest and priceless advice. ‘Mistakes are good, just don’t make catastrophic ones’.

10:30pm; SP, a couple of E-Tower crew, and I rock over to Olin. Close friend, Evan, runs up to me and asks, is SP really here. Holy fark! SP is amazed he can have beer in solo cup, and yet still have deep conversation with party goers on why Python is awesome. Welcome to Olin.

2:30am; Many drinks later, me having ‘met’ a really nice Wellesley girl, and the both of us generally having had a really great time, SP and I walk back.

3:30am; After some late night chatter, we both pass out. Yes, SP is crashing at my place. Ridiculous.


8:00am; SP wakes up almost in panic. ‘When I woke up to silence, with no humming sound of servers, I thought, holy shit, our servers have crashed. And then I realized I was here. I usually sleep at work in the server room.’

9:30am; A little more chatter later, SP leaves E-Tower after a bit of a whirlwind visit.

10:30am; Weather sucks balls in Boston, but we need to do a photoshoot. Scramble to think of somewhere where we have good lighting. Manage to scrap something together. Models, product and photographer ready to go. Have a great time.

2:00pm; Smash out some work, follow up with contacts I met on Friday, still thinking about the mind fuck SP gave me the night before about how I was running Blank Label.

4:00pm; Spend two hours and three times too long on a six page paper on a ‘Managing a Growing Business’ case for class.

6:00pm; Catch up with Samuel about crazy weekend, and pretty much promise each other that there’s no way we’re going back to Australia. Us ending up here has been fateful and it’s up to us to fulfill our ‘destiny’, coincidentally both our designated religions on Facebook.

8:00pm; Have weekly Sunday evening call with folks at home, typical conversation where Mum and I do most of the talking and Dad just chimes in really matter-of-fact questions.

9:30pm; Great back and tris workout.

11:00pm; Shower up and get ready for long night between work and studying Brand Management mid-term.

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Written by Fan Bi

October 19, 2009 at 6:53 am

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