If you are someone who has gotten to know me over the past few years, you probably know that one thing I do quite often is ask you, “What is something good and new in your life?” I picked that up in college because I truly believe happiness is a mindset and something as little as recognizing what’s “Good & New” was always a great place to start. Unfortunately I feel like I haven’t done a great job this year of connecting and staying up to date with everyone. So, I have decided to do my own 2015 post of what is “Good & New” in my life so I can share it with you in hopes you will do the same for me in some fashion. A year is a long time, hence a whole post about it but I want to actually document this somewhere so we can go back to it whenever you may feel you have the time or are really bored and have nothing better to do 🙂 Like I said, I REALLY would love to hear back from you. This can be in the form of an email, text, coffee date or phone call. My goal in 2016 is to ensure that I stay better connected with the incredible people around me. Happy New year ya’ll!
2015 has been a great year in terms of work. I started at Amazon.com almost 2 years ago doing business development for Amazon’s Appstore business. Early in 2015 I was fortunate enough to receive a promotion in my first year due to some great managers who really allowed me to own big projects and paved a great path for me to be successful.
After almost 2 years in the role, I am super excited to announce that I will be changing teams internally to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Startup Business Development team! Our AWS technologies have been the backbone of some of the most progressive startups like Dropbox, Netflix, AirBnB, and Spotify. Now I will be able to jump right back into helping startups all around the world with some of the worlds most innovative technologies. The AWS Startup Business Development team currently works with VCs and Accelerators/Incubators on partnerships for their startups. My role will be owning all other organizations that support startups like Banks/Account firms, Law Firms, Angel groups and maybe even some of those great programs at my old employer, UP Global, like Startup Next 🙂 Amazon has more resources than you could ever imagine. I am very eager to have the ability to be in a position that leverages all of these resources and pump them back into helping startups. If you know of any startup organizations that would like to experiment on partnerships with AWS, I am happy to connect. I will mostly be focused in the US in 2016.
I would say that I have started to grow up a little bit. I purchased my first property here in Seattle in the Ballard neighborhood. This is a brand new building that just finished construction and I plan to move-in sometime in February. I will be on 56th and 20th which is a block away from Skillet and Market Street. If are in the neighborhood, please come by! Another fun project I started was a series of pop-up cooking classes featuring local chefs in the greater Seattle area called Chef On Deck. Huge thanks to Laura Waltner who we partnered with to let us use their amazing cooking classroom and Kelsey Ige who designed our logo. Also, my 5 year streak of being single has officially ended. I found a pretty awesome girl who is willing to put up with all my crap 🙂 . She is kind, caring, funny and if you haven’t met her yet I really hope you get a chance to soon. We both love food so we would love to grab a bite to eat together or we found a new interest in salsa dancing! If food or dancing is not your thing, we can also be found relaxing at home over a good Moscow Mule.
In 2015 I was blessed with some great opportunities to travel to some destinations I have never been before and also get back to some of my favorite spots like Hawai’i (for 3 weddings), LA and even Las Vegas for my cousins big 21-run (It is much different now days). Below are a couple trips I thought I would highlight:
My family usually tries to do at least 1 trip a year. This year we chose to go to the Netherlands. We saw the windmills, walked through the red light district and I even conquered my first food eating challenge (a giant bowl of ramen, yes ramen in Amsterdam). One of the most memorable things about the trip was going to a smaller city about an hour south of Amsterdam called Dordrecht. The hotel we stayed at was incredible and had such a great sense of community. The hotel itself was actually an old water tower that was the center of a harbor, similar to how you would envision a castle surrounded by a moat. Years later, the water tower became vacant and some young entrepreneurs decided to create the Villa Augustus. The property is surrounded by one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen which many people from the community work in. Also, they opened a cafe which serves some of the best food right from the garden! If you ever get a chance to go to Amsterdam, I highly recommend taking a night to stay at the Villa Augustus.
The 2nd trip I would like to highlight was my trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. I got a gracious invitation to mentor at Startup Weekend World which hosted over 500 aspiring entrepreneurs to launch projects in 8 different verticals. This was by far the largest Startup Weekend event I have ever been to with some very incredible people. Big shout out to Mak Gutierrez, Lucia Trochez and Gustavito the Panquecito for making this amazing trip happen.
UH comes to Seattle
The last one wasn’t a place that I travelled to but it was actually a group of friends who travelled to see me! A handful of some of my best friends from college all decided they would make the trip up and spend an extended weekend in Seattle. It was an incredible weekend and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have friends who would take time out of their busy lives to travel to see me. Thank you Alex, Jamie, Shai, Aeder and Kevin (who surprised me and flew in from Hawai’i).
Top 10 Best Things I Ate in 2015
Top 5 Concerts I went to in 2015
My total shows count was over 25 this year. In order, my favorites would be:
- D’Angelo & the vanguards at The Showbox.
- Travi$ Scott and Young Thug at Showbox SODO
- TIDAL x 1020 at Barclays Center: This show was just unfair. I was very fortunate to be working with RocNation/Tidal at Amazon and they invited me out to host me at this show. The lineup was ridiculous (Beyonce, JayZ, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Lil Wayne, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, T.I., Alessia Cara and many more).
- The Buhs at some open loft on top of a museum in KC. Everything about this night was pretty amazing and totally unexpected. My friend Katie said she was going to take me to a Mardi Gras party and all she said was that we have to dress up. We walked into a closed art museum to which we saw a few hand written paper signs saying “Party Upstairs”. We entered the loft and it turned out to be a party hosted by The Buhs, essentially they are this super-group of famous KC jazz artists.
- Leon Bridges at The Neptune
I know this was a novel but I appreciate you taking the time to read what has been going on in my life this past year. I am very excited to see what 2016 has in store and I really want to enter this year focused and healthy in all elements of my life. Like I said before, I really would love to get an update on your end of what has been good & new in your life. You can count on me being more than willing to dedicate time towards this! Happy New Years!