The Daily Beast Recognizes Dartmouth as a Top Producer of Tech Talent

This month, The Daily Beast pointed out in “Tech’s 29 Most Powerful Colleges” and it had Dartmouth at the top. As The Beast says,

Our goal was to identify which colleges, compared student-for-student, have turned out the most undergraduates destined for high-tech greatness. While our results included many prestigious names, the rankings produced surprises as well. At the top of the list is a spot nearly 3,000 miles away from Silicon Valley.

That right baby! These results don’t surprise me. Making my way through the tech entrepreneurial world, I’ve encountered lots of Dartmouth alums as both entrepreneurs and VC’s. Dartmouth also has a long history in pioneering technology. Some key notes:

  • In 1956, a Dartmouth math professor coined the phrase “artificial intelligence” and “AI” (link)
  • In the 60’s, The Dartmouth Time-Sharing System, was the first large-scale time-sharing system to be implemented successfully – setting the stage for the large server farms we see today at large companies such as Google.
  • 1964, Dartmouth created the BASIC programming language which became a extremely popular language in the 70’s and 80’s.  In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed a version of BASIC as their initial plan for Microsoft and today’s MS Visual Basic is still a derivative of that initial creation.
  • Since 1991, computers have been mandatory for all students and in 1988 had campus-wide email working (before AOL!)
  • In 1999, Wired magazine named Dartmouth the #1 most wired College in the country and in 2001, it became the first school in the country to be completely wireless (link)

It’s clear the Dartmouth is doing something right.  It’s nice to get the recognition.

Getting Beyond ‘Z’

Was reading The Dartmouth Alumni Magazine the other day and it had some great quotes from Theodor Geisel, a prominent alum and extremely successful author under the name Dr. Seuss.

dr_seussWhile at Dartmouth, Theodor was editor of Dartmouth’s comedy magazine called The Jacko. That is  until he got caught drinking on Easter eve and got kicked out.  By his fraternity (Caste and Gauntlet) he was voted least likely to succeed and he graduated with a 2.4 in 1925.  Given all that he managed to go out and sell  more than 222 million books (66 titles).  That’s pretty amazing

Here are some good quotes:

My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz. It’s the letter I use to spell yuzz-a-matuzz. You’ll be sort of surprised what there is to be found once you go beyond ‘Z’ and start poking around

Nonesense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack

If you sat 50 years with your worms and your wishes, you’d grow a long beard before you catch fishes

I’d like to get beyond Z soon. It sounds like a good place to be.

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LA, You’re Fired!

The fires in LA are both incredible and sad. The sight of them is unlike anything i’ve seen. Take a look at this video that Toby put up (click on it to watch video):
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It makes me reflect on my time here in LA.  As some of you know, i’m moving to Denver in the next few weeks.  I’m out of here. While i’m excited about moving closer to the mountains and friends, i’m sad to leave LA.  The past 17 months have been an interesting time. Some thoughts on LA:

  • The people are not as bad a place as people think.  Sure, there are some shitty people – and most of them work in “the industry” but if you avoid the industry and industry parties, then you really don’t run into these people that often.
  • Side note: it’s interesting moving from one town where “the industry” was the government to LA where it is the film business.  As i see it, these are the two largest growth business the US will have in the next 30 years (except maybe health care) or if not the largest grown maybe the largest export
  • LA is very entrepreneurial. However, the people i met here are quite different than the entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley.  Up there, a startup is typically an academic thought-based exploration.  Down here in LA, it’s much more about the hustle.  When i think about the two types of startups, i’ve found that  LA is more focused on making money and less on the ideas and philosophy behind the deals.
  • Nature, nature, nature.  It’s all around LA.  People talk about Colorado’s proximity to mountains and nature – well it’s right here too.  You’ve got beach, mountains, desert – all within 2 hours.  And it’s beautiful.  If you can see past the smog, you’ll see some amazingly beautiful scenery. I wish i had spent more time exploring
  • The beach is underrated.  There are lots of parts of LA.  You’ve got the Valley, Hollywood, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills.  But what all of those don’t have is great weather year round and the beach.  The beach brings a calm to people’s attitude and a coolness to the air.  Both make a big difference day in and day out.
  • Related to the above post: Beach Cruisers. I’ve always loved biking but it wasn’t till i moved to the beach that i discovered the cruiser.  This has 3 key characteristics: (1) a big comfy seat, (2) a basket for carrying stuff, (3) handlebars angled up so you can sit straight up and not hunched over.  All of these dramatically change the bike riding experience so it can be done recreationally and comfortably .  I love my cruiser
  • Food: I love the Tacos.  Cactus Tacos, Dos Burritos, Loteria or all the others.  My taco standards have been raised forever.   I also love In-N-Out and ate there almost twice a month the entire time, as noted by JT and Jstreet and Nader.
  • Movie theaters. As i’ve written before, LA does movie theaters the right way.  This means that they are big comfy seats and that you can pick your seat before you arrive so you can get there 5 min before showtime and have a nice center seat.  Or you can see that there are no good seats and wait for another show.  Game changer
  • Dartmouth surely represents.  No matter what i wanted to do in LA, i found that there was a Dartmouth alum and friend who had figured it out and could take me along.  I was so fortunate to have soccer teammates, pong partners, business thinkers, rock band drummers, talent agents, concert goers and providers, and lots entrepreneurs all over the place.  They made LA an easily place to join and a hard place to leave.  I see lots of vacations back in my future.
  • The Garfields.  Todd and Julie were one of my highlights of LA.  I’m very fortunate to have roped them into many meals and movies.

Of all of these, i think i’ll miss the beach and the people around the beaches the most.  Waking up to salt water in the air and a cool breeze is amazing.

Santa Monica

Thank you LA, i’ll miss you.

25 Random Things About Me

I got tagged in Facebook to do one of these lists.  I really enjoyed reading some of my colleagues and some of my old friends from high school so i thought i’d put one together.

The rules are that once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged or however many you want. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

Here are my items:

1. I don’t like fruit (with the exception of apples) and i’m happy that my sister’s the same way. It makes me feel less strange.

2. I tend to get around. I’ve been to 49 states and hope to get to the final one, Mississippi, sometime soon.  Since college, I’ve lived in Virginia, New York, Washington DC, Boston (sort of), and now Los Angeles.

3. I have no toenails on my 2 little toes.

4. I was born in NY, then moved to CA, then moved to Texas before i finished my youth in Minnesota.

5. I grew up in Minnesota.  When i moved east in 1996, i felt like a Midwesterner.  I then lived on the east coast for 11 years.  When i moved to California last year, i felt like an Easterner.  After a few years here, who knows who i’ll be.

6. i’ve never broken a bone. I attribute this to my love of milk.

7. I love the extended Lewis Family clan and feel so fortunate that i have such great cousins, aunts and uncles.

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8. When i was younger I used to dress up like a ninja and wonder around in the woods with my brother.

Continue reading 25 Random Things About Me

Impressive Pong Skills

While i’ll never truly endorse “Beirut” as a legitimate form of pong, i do have to give this guy a lot of credit. Or maybe i should feel bad for him with all the time he must have put in to make this happen. I wish i would have seen more consecutive sinks instead of 1-time shots b/c he could have just sat there for hours trying to get it to work. That said, they are good shots.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFZevw1AHZs]

For those of you who care, i’m a much bigger fan of beer pong with paddles. This is a game that requires more skill, is more fun to play, and much higher stakes (i.e. more beer).

The Real Animal House

I’m trying to make a point to blog about books i’ve read, so here goes….

Over the weekend i read “The Real Animal House” by Chris Miller. He’s the same guy who co-wrote the movie Animal House which went on to be come the largest grossing comedy of all time. Chris also went to dartmouth (like me) and was a brother in the Alpha Delta fraternity (like me).

The book was interesting for two main reasons:

In the AD basementFirst, it was really interesting to see what college life was like in the early 1960’s because of the emergence of rock n’ roll and the absence and importing of women at/to the school. Chris was really into rock and roll, which was new on the scene. Rock and roll at the time was played exclusively by African Americans and was not universally listened to. When rushing a frat, he remarked that most of the frats didn’t even know about Rock at all. AD back then fully embraced it and most of his stories either revolved around the music or at least discussed what what music was playing. The management of women at colleges in the 60’s is amazing. Women would train up to dartmouth for a weekend and be paired with a date for the entire time which would transform the entire campus.  For the guys, it was like going on a 2-3 day blind date. As someone who’s been on a bunch of blind dates, i can see how this would be painful (both for the men and the women) and could lead to some social madness. I can also see why there was so much alcohol involved. Further discussion with my parents about this time has shown that travelling to schools and finding the right guy/girl was one of the main mechanisms provided at the time to find a suitable husband. Keep in mind that no sex before marriage was believed to be normal and there weren’t many options for birth control. After reading this, i’m very happy that i came through 40 years later when women were on campus and many of the dating conventions have been changed.

Continue reading The Real Animal House

Dartmouth Soccer Scores in Zimbabwe

Grass Roots SoccerI played with Methembe my freshman year at Dartmouth and beyond being one of the nicest guys ever, he was a truly amazing soccer player. Called as “the Mayor” on the field ever since his youth when he tore up the Zimbabwe youth league, he also become known as “Captain Hook” to Chris Pedrick and others who liked to watch. I never forget when Methembe rolled into preseason my freshman year and was marking me on defense. He pretty much dominated my every move and walking off the field one of the players mentioned to me that Methembe was a few days late to preseason because he was playing the World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria and i should be too upset that he crushed me on the field b/c just a few days later he was marking Amochaci and Kanu. Yeah, that’s quite a switch – world cup qualifier to Ivy League preseason. Anyway, i bring all this up b/c i wanted to post the latest of Methembe’s accomplishments in Zimbabwe and with Grass Roots Soccer which is a great program:

Former Dartmouth Soccer Star Scores Again

Methembe Ndlovu is arguably the best soccer player ever to pull on the Dartmouth green. He left Dartmouth to return to his homeland, Zimbabwe, where he earned the nations highest honor, captaining the national team. He made a brave decision to return to Zimbabwe last year to lead Grassroot Soccer’s HIV prevention efforts there. According to the WHO, Zimbabwe’s has the lowest life expectancy in the world and has dropped from 69 in 2000 to 35 in 2006. Everyone who can leave has left. Methembe returned.

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Under his leadership the Grassroot Soccer Zimbabwe program has flourished, in large part due to a partnership with Highlanders, one the nations most popular teams. In return for Methembe’s coaching services, GRS has access to all the players (pro’s and Highlanders youth), the Highlanders games for graduation ceremonies (see attached photos) and their facilities for conducting the HIV education program. The partnership has paid off for Highlanders now too as 2 days ago Methembe became the youngest coach ever to win a Zimbabwe national title.

The Dartmouth-Highlanders/Zimbabwe connection is a strong one. Dartmouth graduates Andrew Shue, Jesse Bradley, Tommy Clark (CEO of grassroots soccer), Geoff Wheeler, Brian Wiese, Chris Mitchell and former coach Bobby Clark have been involved with the club.

Feel free to drop Methembe a note at: mndlovu at grassrootsoccer.org (note, very slow internet service in Zimbabwe so don’t expect a quick note back) or check out www.grassrootsoccer.org to find out more about this project.

Tendencies of a Recovering Frat Guy

I read lots and lots of articles, and occassionally they hit the nail right on the head. As a dartmouth frat guy (here’s the breakdown of them – try to guess which one is mine), i know people like this and can appreciate this article. It’s scary. This is from a Charlotte paper….

“During my five-year college reunion in May, I snuck into my old fraternity house, which at the time was being used as some sort of community service dorm. As I wandered about taking pictures, a student approached and asked politely, “Excuse me, who are you?” Instinctively, I turned around and yelled menacingly, “Who the f*ck are YOU?” The girl scurried off, but the incident made me introspective. Here I am, twenty-seven-years old, with a relatively successful career, regular car insurance payments, and pillowcases that match my comforter. Yet at the same time, I can’t drink one beer without drinking twenty, I can’t converse with a girl without trying to take her home, and I can’t even step foot in a fraternity house without immediately regressing into an asshole. While college is many years behind me, vestiges of the experience remain deeply ingrained in my personality. Welcome to the world of a recovering frat guy.

“Of course, I’m not the only one. There’s an entire faction of twentysomethings out there who live seemingly mature lives – but only to the naked eye. Take my friend Mike, a successful software developer in New York whose downtown apartment has actually been passed down for years to successive generations of graduates from his fraternity like an off-campus party house. Or my buddy Justin, a writer here in LA who is looking to move to a new place – but has yet to find one big enough to fit hisbeer pong table. Unfortunately for him, “Hardwood floor quickly soaks up cheap beer” is generally not an amenity typically found on craigslist.

Recovering frat guys aren’t required to have ever been Greek. In fact, they don’t even have to be guys. On average, every other Evite I received from girls over the past year has been for some sort of elaborate, costume/theme party that reminds me of sophomore year. If you’re a strong, independent woman in her mid-twenties who is still throwing parties entitled Pimps & Hos, Forties & Hos, or Golf Pros & Tennis Hos, you are most definitely a recovering frat guy — dressed like a whore.

To me, the phrase, “Let’s grab a drink” is both the rallying cry and secret password of the recovering frat guy movement. For some reason, no one uses that phrase until they’ve graduated college, and then they use it so frequently it becomes virtually devoid of meaning. If you really think about it, you only actually grab a drink with about 10% of the people you say that to. Of that 10%, most think you literally want to have a solitary cocktail and exchange pleasantries or discuss current events (these people are often married or lawyers). The remainder – who you quickly recognize as kindred spirits – take “grab a drink” to mean “play beer pong and find that party where chicks are dressed as whores.”

Why is it, then, that so many of us, whether subconsciously or not, have adopted this quasi-Peter Pan lifestyle? These days, it’s no longer, “I won’t grow up.” It’s more like, “OK, I’ll grow up, as long as I can still throw up once a weekend.” I think the answer is simple: because we can. The world is changing. Getting married in your twenties is no longer the norm – in fact, those unfortunate souls who do are now outcasts, scorned and shunned, spit on and kicked to the side of the road by the rest of us single folk. And that means we now have more time to live our lives the way we want to and, most importantly, have evolved the ability to do so while still excelling in the adult world. People ask me all the time how long I can continue calling myself a recovering frat guy. Those people are usually sober and annoying. And my response is always the same: “Who the f*ck are you?”

Some people move into the real world more easily than others.

The Big Green Bus

12 Dartmouth students are driving their “Big Green Bus” from California to Hanoverthebus2.JPG (NH) and back on nothing by Vegetable Oil and solar power. Awesome.

This story will tell you more about how these guys will grab vegetable oil from restaurants along the way to power “the bus” and the solar power is keeping the oil from thickening while also powering their laptops and cameras.
Hell ya – go Dartmouth! Check out their site at http://www.thebiggreenbus.org

If you want to show your support, here’s their route

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