What I’ve Been Up To

For my friends, classmates, and coworkers who have been wishing me happy birthday today, I thought I’d write up a summary of what I’ve been up to lately.

Last summer while at my second Microsoft internship, it became clear that I needed some time off from school. I had become weary of the grind of school, discouraged by my failure to convince the YDN of its need to adapt to a digital future, and sad about the abandonment of the Courant News project.

My time at Microsoft reminded me how much I love software, working with teams of awesome people, and collaborating on products that I’m passionate about. Thus, I decided to spend at least half a year exploring, full-time, the intersection of two industries that have shaped my recent life: software and journalism.

I shopped around various professional newspapers seeking developer jobs, but a mutual friend connected me with two other guys who were passionate about creating better tools for journalists and we decided to make a run of it. I’ve long wanted to do a software startup, and this was the perfect combination of timing, team, and product idea[1].

Since September, I’ve been working remotely with Roman (NYC/London) and Stijn (Belgium) from an office near my family home in Philadelphia. Roman had visited with dozens of college and small professional newspapers and magazines, and my task was to take all of their feedback, combine it with our own experiences, and design a software product to solve the problems we had identified: the software powering newspaper websites was inadequate for the needs of a modern multi-platform news organization, and there was a lack of low-cost newsroom management and editorial workflow software.

I spent six weeks building a prototype that we showed to potential customers and investors, and then Stijn and I started writing production code in November. In January, we moved to London (in the Shoreditch neighborhood) and set up our first office to work in-person.

With the product well on its way to its first release and the team growing (now on its way to four developers), I had achieved my goals and decided it was time to move on. I’ll be involved as an advisor, but Stijn and the crew are now running the show and I wish them the best of luck in coming months and years.

I’ve spent the past week at home with family, and tomorrow I fly out to Seattle to start the next leg of my adventure: I’ll be rejoining the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team for another three-month internship. The CRM team just launched the latest version which contains features that I worked on in my previous internships, and I’m eager to contribute to the exciting roadmap planned for the next release.

After that, I intend to return to New Haven to take summer courses at Yale before completing my EE/CS degree in the 2011-2012 academic year. I regret missing senior year with many of my Yale ’11 friends, but I am thankful for the time off to explore my entrepreneurial interests and work on exciting projects with some great people.

Inspired by Daniel, Andrew, and others, over the coming weeks I’m going to turn my personal site into a more active log of what I’m up to. Until then, I’ll keep posting the occasional update on Twitter or Facebook.


[1] Camayak company description (from LinkedIn):

camayak_logoThe name ‘ca~ma~yak’ comes from CMYK, the colours used to render content in print – the first efficient form of disseminating content non-orally and en mass.

Camayak is a specialist tool that enables content creators to collaborate and archive their work within a single platform.

Camayak is a pre-publishing system that gives each journalist, editor and publishing baron their own account to work in concert with one another to produce high quality content. We equip publishers with editorial and multimedia workflows that allow them to coordinate every contributor and staff member within their own virtual newsroom community.

Camayak facilitates the publishing and promotion of your content through popular delivery tools: Adobe InDesign, WordPress, mobile applications and social media accounts. We orientate production priorities to ensure that publications can focus on enhancing their most valuable asset: content they can publish.

One Response to What I’ve Been Up To
  1. Andrew Spittle

    Happy birthday Max! It’s awesome to hear about Camayak’s progress and it’ll be great having you back in the Pacific NW.

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