Our ‘A Day in the Life’ series highlights alumni in various fields and positions, offering a glimpse of what life after graduation is like. This post comes to us from M&T alum Kenny, currently working at a start-up he co-founded in New York City.
Please briefly describe what industry you’re in and what your particular position entails:
I’m a co-founder at Arkad, a startup that helps companies organize any communications that involve data. Our first market is helping VC and PE firms and their portfolio companies communicate and share data (all of the co-founders came from VC or finance, and realized there was a big opportunity here). My job is Head of Product – I help figure out what the customer needs and use that to build our product (features, timeline, user experience, etc.). I also do some of the front-end development.
What time did you get up this morning before work?
I got up at 7am.
What time did you start working, and what time were you done for the day?
I started working around 9:30am – I usually take a while to get started for the day, going to the gym and having a big breakfast. We finished in the early afternoon (see below), but my hours are different every day.
What were some of the projects you worked on today?
Finishing up the final touches for a demo with a potential customer (i.e., fixing bugs, loading in demo data, rehearsing), and then meeting with them later in the day.
Who specifically did you interact with today, besides coworkers (clients, interns, researchers, executives, founders, etc.)?
I worked right next to my other two co-founders the whole day, annoyed some coffee shop employees (where we camped out and worked), and met with the potential customer (an early-stage VC firm) that we demoed for. We also had a video chat with a part-time developer who we’re working with.
Are you currently traveling or about to travel for work?
I’m actually visiting San Francisco this week since one of our three co-founders lives in SF (two of us are based in NY and one in SF). I usually work with our SF guy remotely (using Google Hangouts to video chat and Google Drive and Asana for task management, product specs, etc.), but you need to work side-by-side and get the whole crew together to go out and drink outside of work.
What was your favorite part of the work day?
My favorite part of the day was taking the rest of the day off after a really successful demo with the VC firm! We worked late the night before in a Cantina that smelled like a carnival port-a-potty because it was the only place open with free WiFi, and so after the meeting we deserved to take it easy and hang out around the Mission District and Dolores Park (in SF).
What are some of the challenges within your position that you particularly enjoy?
I love not having any guidance, and having to figure out everything on my own (for example, What should our product look like?, What features do we need?, Who should we sell to?, How to we get in touch with target customers?, How do we share equity?, When is my work day over?, What’s new on Reddit / Imgur?).
How did you end up in your current position?
I ended up at Arkad after getting great experience at Insight Venture Partners, a tech VC, where I got familiar with the VC world and worked closely with a lot of different startups – that experience has been crucial for my role at Arkad. While at my previous job, I kept talking to friends about starting Arkad for a while until it made sense to quit and work on Arkad full-time.
How did M&T help prepare you for where you are today?
M&T was exactly what it’s advertised to be – a way to bridge business and strategy with engineering, which is my job at Arkad – figuring out how to turn business and customer needs into a working product we can sell.
What advice do you have for those who might be interested in pursuing a similar path?
If you want to start a company, solve a problem that you’ve experienced yourself, and if you’re able to, quit as soon as possible and start working on it!
Kenny is co-founder of start-up venture Arkad, based in New York City. He graduated from M&T in 2009 with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biomedical Science from Penn Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School with a concentration in Management. In his spare time he enjoys skiing, cooking, and listening to indie music. His favorite place to visit is Breckenbridge, Colorado.