Damien Mallen In Town

Damien was my running mate when I ran for student government president at Berea College in the Spring of 1997 in less than six months of landing as an international student. We won. He won by a wider margin than me. I won by three votes. Eight people had run against me. This foreigner freshman, he just got here, he thinks he is going to be student government president? Everybody who had been somebody in the student government for the three years prior ran.

That election victory and the dot com experience a year later - I was a founding member of a dot com headquartered in Philly, it went down two years later - stand out as memories from that phase of my life.

Damien had lived in Vermont and Maryland before he went to Berea. He still has family in New Jersey. On his mother's side - he is English, German, Czech, Polish - he draws his ancestry all the way to someone who was a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, or so he claimed Tuesday evening over beer.

So yesterday I took him to Jackson Heights - we had momo, and randomly bumped into a Nepali friend of mine, Somnath Ghimire, who runs the local Nepali TV program; then to Rudy's near Times Square for beer. We had two pitchers of Rudy's Blonde.

"The worst beer I ever had," he said.

Tuesday evening we met at Union Square, and we walked up Broadway, cut through the Upper West Side, and then took a right turn north of Central Park, then up Malcolm X Boulevard through Harlem from where we could see the Yankee's Stadium. That might have been a good 130 blocks of walking. Along the way we stopped for pizza at 41st and 9th at a place that reminds me of Dell and Walmart.

Damien is one of my early, small investors into my round one.

I am meeting Damien again for lunch in a few hours. We are going to have street food. It is because street food makes you street smart.

He lives and works in Lexington, KY, where I lived for six months after college. He works for a mapping software company. He is in town to take classes for a few days in the financial district downtown, work related.

Tuesday evening in front of his hotel right next to the Empire State Building he pulled out his NYC tourist map: this is his seventh time in the city. He was going to show me the nearest train station.

"I live here," I protested.

I want this guy on my team in about a year and a half, two years. Another person from that phase of my life I want on my team is Kristi Fundu. In the recent weeks, he has already been instrumental in this shift in vision, or rather a rearrangement of it: The IC Vision: Sequencing The Components. Kristi has a tech company in Macedonia. He does ISP stuff. A few weeks back I had a 700 plus lines Gchat session with him, longest ever with anyone.

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