Garage Tales: The Intro (S1 EP0)

Mustafa Shaikh
2 min read

If the story of my time at Boombotix was a book, imagine this being the introduction section. You know, the part you usually skip.

Without further ado ...

The stories that make their way out of the San Francisco/Silicon Valley tech scene just about always involve riches of some sort.

Two friends started a social media network out of their apartment, thought they were going out of business five times, and then they sold their company to Facebook. Or maybe something along the lines of: after working for years at Google, guy leaves his comfy corporate job, put all of his savings into a new AI software, and took it public six years later. We marvel at these stories because of the risk they took, and the commas in the headlines.

Then there's the other end of the spectrum that's more of the Icarus side; we thought they were going to be mega-rich and then suddenly, the house of cards came crashing down. The amount of content that has been spun out of the Theranos downfall is proof enough of the level of entertainment we collectively glean from tech founders going from the cover of magazines to the inside of courtrooms.

What gets lost in our thirst for stories of the extremes are those startup experiences that end up in the middle. I'm talking about smaller startups without a big exit in which executives are shopping for vacations homes in Tahoe, or with founders that are studying up on minimum sentencing guidelines. Those startups that have a good run, and then disappear relatively quietly without as much as a 400-word TechCrunch article to mark their demise.

And that's a shame because the stories from those startups are highly entertaining. On a day-to-day basis the amount of shenanigans that take place far outweighs anything going on in the offices of more polished outfits. More often than not, it's a few people that found some investors willing to make a bet, followed by constant stumbling to hit the unreleastic projections in the pitch deck.

For those with their ex-girlfriend's older brother's HBO log in details, think about "Silicon Valley." The show in many ways mirrored my experience at Boombotix.

A group of men (for the most part) in small quarters constantly changing directions to hit milestones before the money runs out. Not to mention, there's no HR department in sight, so things are loose. (When they progressed into latter seasons sometimes the show hit a little too close to home. They even had the board appointed CEO who sometimes left work to go tend to his horse. Maybe someone on the Boombotix team was low-key a consultant for the show.)

Well just like the team on "Silicon Valley," my equity ended up being worth nothing. While those vested shares couldn't buy me a roll of toilet paper, at the very least, I'm left with countless stories that will leave you entertained.

If this episode found its way to your inbox, make sure to subscribe for next week's episode!

Do you have a friend who was pissed off when Erlich Bachman got written off "Silicon Valley?" Can you do me a favor and forward it to them.

On the next episode of Garage Tales ... how meeting someone at a bbq can lead to a new career path. Read it now.

This episode was edited by Mustafa Shaikh. Blame all grammatical errors on him.

You can catch up on past writings here.