I was born in Gdansk, a shipbuilding city in the north of Poland. When my family emigrated to the United States in 1982 I didn't speak the language. The teachers introduced me to a Commodore PET and I found writing simple programs to be a terrific escape from the strange language and culture waiting in the classroom.
My first real tech job was designing test logic for microchips. It was a compulsory lesson in getting the architecture right. On the other hand, programming had previously taught me how important it is to just get going and repeatedly tweak things to get to the final answer. Both lessons, opposite in many ways, apply to company building as well as engineering. And, are a good example of how great it would be if technical folks, who have all learned them, could run the world.
The best part of being an investor is working with those unique individuals willing to take the plunge and start a company. Quitting your job to go all in on something that’s completely ephemeral, with no team, no money, friends telling you that you’re crazy — that takes a lot of guts. Having the skills to turn that idea into something real is extremely rare. Entrepreneurs are anomalies; ones that drive the economy.
Because I focus on the more technical investments, the particular entrepreneurs I back are brilliant technologists building cool stuff. Stuff no one has done before, that may or may not sell, and may or may not even work. Those entrepreneurs and I have together bet on “impossible” markets (Acacia), “impossible” technologies (Xtalic), and “impossible” customers (QPID). Sometimes the ideas truly are infeasible and it doesn’t work out. But when we ask the right questions along the way, manage the inevitable ups and downs, and all put in the requisite effort, remarkably frequently it does. And there is no better rush than working with someone to take a new, often complex, tech idea - which I’m constantly being blown away by - and getting through all the real world issues to turn it into a reality. For me it’s my small chance to make the world a better place.
McKinsey & Co.
Consultant in Electronics Practice
B.S., Electrical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.S., Electrical Engineering, M.S. Operations Research
Harvard Business School
M.B.A., Baker Scholar