❚About Me

Hi, I’m Chris. I’m an early stage investor @ Samsung NEXT Ventures in NYC and a Venture Partner at Joyance Partners/SocialStarts.

Previously, I was a Director of Product @ Vimeo/VHX. Before that I managed new product development for Samsung’s NYC R&D lab where I worked with internal product leads and the world’s best content partners to re-imagine Samsung’s TV platform and SDK.

Back in 2011, I moved to New York to build Shelby.tv (TechStars NY ‘11) with some great people. Our team was acquired by Samsung in 2014 to help build the future of TV.

I’ve been fortunate to learn from some great people along the way, and went to school at Vanderbilt and Cornell. I also worked in healthcare for a few years.

I’m a native New Yorker, have lived in 6 states and been to all 50. I’m also a gamer, golfer, guitarist and geek. I love memes, mountains, metal, music, and all sorts of the mayhem associated with this crazy city. But I obviously don’t love alliteration.

How & Why I Work

I love the messiness of early stage companies and products.

I’m comfortable juggling a lot at once. As a result, I love leading cross-functional teams tackling complex problems and setting/executing a product vision that empowers the team toward a clear goal.

I love helping teams “level up” to achieve their best level of productivity and positive energy. This means celebrating successes, learning from failures and generally reflecting on not just the work that the team is doing, but how and why they are doing that work.

I’m an introvert (INTJ) and believe in the “headphone rule.” Maker’s time is sacred - if someone is in a state of flow or deep work, don’t interrupt them and find asychronous ways to communicate.

“Be human” is a core value of how I build products and work with teams - human centered design principles are great for building products, but they’re also a great way to approach growing a team and thinking about engaging investors.

The psychology behind products excites me. Humans are complex animals but boiling things down to their simplest elements in the product design process is really enjoyable for me.

While I enjoy bringing order to the chaos that commonly occurs in quickly growing companies I believe Loose Coordination > Tight Synchronization. As a result, I look for ways to enable this loose coordination as a means of dealing with complexity. Sometimes this means “saying no” to distracting projects, sometimes it means juggling new ones, sometimes it means abstracting and distilling similar challenges into one simple, focused vision of the future.

Themes That Excite Me

I’m really interested in the confluence of many of these themes and their corresponding effects on technology, companies, work styles, human interactions, cultures, and civilizations:

Self-discovery. This is the center of what the internet provided me (access to new and interesting ideas, culture, etc). It’s often heightened by large networks with low friction between nodes. My work at Shelby.tv was focused a lot on video discovery as a means of addressing this larger theme of helping people discover new things in the world (and new things about themselves).

Human-computer interaction. Steve Jobs is famously attributed to the quote “a computer is the equivalent of a bicycle for the mind.” IMO, the endgame here is a fusion of computing and the mind. Mobile technology is just one step and we have a long way to go. I’ve worked on HCI challenges at both Shelby.tv and Samsung.

The evolution of networks. Bitcoin, the blockchain, wireless mesh networks are all hot topics these days and they are a signal of where I think the internet is headed over the next decade. As mobile computing power increases and the infrastructure for these new decentralized technologies matures, I think we’ll see a shift in how many of the huge networks on the web are structured (from centralized & distributed to decentralized and distributed).

Automation and abstraction. Modern software development is amazing. The rise of devops, APIs, lambda functions, SDKs and containers allow for quick scaling and faster execution on new ideas. Ultimately these are extensions of core software development principles: develop code so it can be readable, reusable and scalable. But these principles can be applied to more than just development and they have rippling impacts on the way we work and build things.