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Peter loves data, startups and music

I had an amazing lunch with Peter Marinari today. Peter is someone who can cover an intense amount of topics in a 45 minute lunch. I knew I liked Peter the moment I first met him. He has a big personality, always thinks the best of people and consistently gets more stuff done in a day than most people do in a week.

We started lunch by talking about his recent trip to San Francisco for an RJMetrics customer event. He spent a day relaxing in Palo Alto, then emceed the event held at New Relic’s head office. Listening to him talk about how well the event got me all excited about my work, as well. Every day this week, I’ve talked to someone that is clearly sold on the idea of events being an important part of their business. Obviously, this feels great.

Peter is a great person to talk to about career trajectory. He’s spent time thinking about where he is at in his career, where he’d like to get and what he needs to do to get there. I get the feeling he’s spent as much time thinking about that for each member of his team, as well. We discussed a Seth Godin video that everyone at my work is thinking about (Lizard Brain, if you’re wondering).  It is both reassuring and energizing to speak to people at other startups about how work is going.

In addition to work, we talked about Peter’s music and where he’s at with it right now. I’m so impressed that he can juggle working at a busy startup, a toddler and being a musician, which isn’t an insignificant time commitment.

We ate at HipCityVeg, a great to-go lunch spot in Rittenhouse. We both grabbed salads and sat in the park, today was the perfect day for it.

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Chrisse talks tickets, running and toddlers

I had lunch with Chrisse Dragon today – we both ate a quick, late lunch by the windows in the office. Chrisse is the Director of Customer Success at Ticketleap and does an amazing job. She knows everything you can possibly imagine about ticketing (ok, that’s not the *coolest* thing ever, but for where we work, it’s pretty important). She’s also really great at talking to people on the phone (also good considering her job). One of the reasons I enjoy working with Chrisse is that she’s a very empathetic team member. She’s pretty good at reading how the team is feeling and knowing what to do about it. Maybe I should copy/paste all of this as a LinkedIn recommendation?

I used to be the first person in the office every day, but Chrisse has taken over that role pretty much all the time. That means she makes the first pot of coffee most days, so it is important to be on her good side (or at least, very important to me). In addition to being the first one in every day, she also often works out at lunch. Over the summer, we went running a couple of times together (she’s fast, it hurt and I really didn’t even keep up). We both also participated in the go-to-the-gym-across-the-street club, even though that gym is terrible. Since (I’m lazy and) Mike is on research this year, I don’t need to workout at lunch all the time. Pretty sure Chrisse is still going strong on that though.

Chrisse has one of the best last names ever and we often refer to her in office as Mother of Dragon, since she has a son. We talked about Halloween costumes for our kids and also some general, “Are we doing this parenting thing correctly?” that often seem to come up in the Ticketleap office. I can’t tell if we’re all terrible parents, or just more self-aware than other parents I meet.

Since we started working together, I’ve learned several things about Chrisse. She’s from NEPA, which I didn’t even know was a thing, she’s very competitive about everything she does while being a good sport and she takes her birthday off from work every year.

While I ate a sad, sad salami-on-Taffet’s sandwich, Chrisse ate some pretty amazing looking takeout.

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Juliana Reyes reports on tech and records her dreams

Today, I had a great lunch with Juliana Reyes at Gavin’s Cafe. Because I’m a numpty, I forgot to take her picture and had to ask her to send one to me.

We started off by discussing how she ended up a Technical.ly and what it was like to jump right into the deep end of the tech scene. I was new to Philly, but not new to tech/startups. She was new to tech/startups, but has been in the area for a while. We both felt pretty welcome, although it seems like a long time ago now!

Juliana recently started a series on Technical.ly on tech people talking about everything else in their lives. I think it is the best idea and asked her how she came up with it. She said she hates meeting people and being at a loss for what to talk to them about. This series is her solution to that. Meeting someone and already knowing a little about what they love to do makes it easy to having a meaningful conversation with them.
Perfect segue…

One of the reasons why I wanted to have lunch with Juliana was to ask her about a cool project she’s working on. She’s been writing dream poetry and, with her roommate, started making short films about them. She posted one on Twitter and I thought it was pretty neat. It seemed like a cool side project she was doing because she loved it — I wish there was more room in the world for projects like this. She said at the moment, she doesn’t have plans to do anything more with it other than to make more short films.

I asked about what Juliana took in school and she said she graduated from Linguistics. I appreciated our discussion about college/university, as it seems pretty similar to my experience. I went to drink and to figure out who I was as a person. I left with a degree and somehow ended up as an employable human. Although I admire people that go in knowing exactly what they are going to get out of a post-secondary education, I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything.

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Lisa Wu loves her job, travels well and apple picking

Lisa Wu

I had lunch with this amazing lady yesterday. It was a holiday, so there was booze involved. We met at Jones, a place I have a love/hate relationship with. Something always just feels a bit off there…but they have tots so I inevitably keep going back.

Lisa works at J&J and I’m always impressed by the way she talks about what she does. She loves her job and her coworkers. She spends her days organizing clinical trials. I can’t even imagine how much work goes into her job and I get the impression she is very good at it (from her coworkers, not just hearing that from Lisa, haha). Her job is probably not a great for someone that isn’t into details.

We spent a large part of lunch discussing the one week safari in Africa, plus one week diving in The Maldives trip she and her husband just went on. If you’re ever wondering how much you can pack into one vacation, or how far away you can go in a limited amount of time, talk to Lisa. Her recreational travel schedule is impressive and neither Lisa nor her husband are shy about getting on long flights for a weekend trip.

Over lunch we also discussed the optimal fall weekend for apple picking, what the eff you do once you pick a bunch of apples and when we should next convene for cocktails at our (what I think of as) secret location, the outdoor garden at M hotel. Hello, gin list!

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Michaelangelo Ilagan runs, eats tacos and loves Philly

MikeyIl

I met @MikeyIl (and let him know we only refer to him as MikeyIl in the office) for lunch at Buena Onda today. He has a plan to meet 100 people for lunch and document each one. I thought it was a cool idea, so I’m copying it, starting with today’s lunch! I’m not sure I can meet people for lunch every day, but I’m making it my own and aiming for 3 lunches per week.

As we ordered, he mentioned he normally eats what I would consider to be two lunches because he’s been running a crazy amount lately. Over the last few years, he’s gone from not-a-runner to finding his groove and really getting in a huge number of miles every month.

After we ordered, we mostly talked about work, with a few random questions I had sprinkled in. I was interested in the dynamic of what it’s like to work at a smaller company, but be in a huge corporate office all day. He is a front end web developer for Think Brownstone and is contracted out to Comcast. MikeyIl says he likes how they work together. He gets all of the benefits of working at a smaller company, a great team culture, etc. but also has the stability and predictability (in a good way) of working at a large company. He said before working at Comcast, he had no idea just how many people could all work on the same website. It’s pretty crazy when you think about it.

MikeyIl seems to be connected to everything in Philadelphia, so I asked him about how he gets involved in stuff. He said if it has a social network, he’s on it, although he doesn’t actively contribute to the same things year over year. I told him my story of getting fired from Yelp Elite. He then definitely one upped my story by telling me about how he originally met Allison Hartman (I credit her with helping me get a job a Ticketleap) by trying to set The Trestle Inn on fire at a Yelp Elite party.

MikeyIl has just finished up Geekadelphia’s Geek Awards for the year, and I was excited to talk to him about how things went. Events are hard work and The Geek Awards is all done by volunteers. They used Ticketleap for ticketing this year and I’m looking forward to showing off some new stuff we’re working on to The Geek Awards when they are ready to ramp up again next year.

When I talk to anyone that’s from Philadelphia, I always want to ask them all of their favorite spots (and other questions, like, “Do you know where to go hiking?”). I settled on asking about a brunch spot I’d seen him post about (Fourth and Cross). It’s kind of weird when you follow people on social media. You know weird details about their lives, then have to either pretend like you don’t, or just be comfortable asking questions that would otherwise be awkward. “I stalk all brunch photos and was hoping to get your opinion on a restaurant.” would be one of those awkward questions. Lunch #1 was a success, even though I forgot to take a photo until after we ate.