I had lunch today with a friend and fellow alumnus from Real. He’s doing a start-up, his idea is a good and interesting one, he is off to a nice start, and I would bet it will be a success given his track record. I won’t write about it here because what he is doing is not yet public or announced, but it did remind me that there have been so many alumni from Real who have gone on to do other, interesting things with success. I try not to write much about Real or my experience there on this blog, but thought it would be useful to list some of the successful alumni here (at least the ones I know of), as I am not sure it has been tracked comprehensively in one place.
First, there is an impressive roster of activity by some of the folks who were among the first 200 or so at the company, before it went public (for the record, I just barely qualify for that group, joining Real in October 1997 as employee 180 or so). Maria Cantwell is the junior U.S. Senator from Washington state. Philip Rosedale founded and runs SecondLife, the virtual world phenomenon. Mika Salmi (who left Real before I joined) and Matt Hulett started AtomFilms, which merged with Shockwave, and which Mika now runs. Matt went on to run the enterprise travel unit at Expedia. Sujal Patel started and is now CTO of Isilon Systems, which has created pioneering clustered storage used not only by Philip’s service Second Life, but companies like Myspace and NBC (for broadcast) among others. Len Jordan, who ran our Systems business, is now a partner at Frazier Technology Ventures. Bruce Jacobsen, who was President of the company when I joined, runs an educational software company, Kinetic Books.
Some who joined Real after it went public and who left in recent years are also up to interesting things, including Andrew Wright, who just launched his new company Smilebox at the Demo conference last week, and alums who are in senior positions at Apple, Turner Broadcasting, AOL.com, MLB.com, Googe Europe and Amazon.
I am sure I have left out many, many others who are off doing compelling work, but the list above is impressive in its own right given the size of the company.