“In the Studio” enters the summer months by inviting a former YouTube and Google product engineer, who then spent a “gap year” with Kleiner Perkins meeting with business leaders, entrepreneurs, and cooking up his own next move in the Valley.
PrimaTable’s Jamie Davidson came to the west coast as an engineer, landing at YouTube and eventually Google, where he and his colleagues applied their expertise in operations research to the world of online advertising. During his time at Google, Davidson became interested in the idea of “local,” broadly speaking, and after being invited to spend a year at Kleiner Perkins, cofounded and launched his own new company, PrimaTable, which seeks to provide exclusive, highly curated culinary experiences for customers. For instance, Davidson and his team have arranged for exclusive menus at some of San Francisco’s premier restaurants.
What’s most interesting about this conversation with Davidson is his transition from engineering and product to co-founder of a startup. In this talk, Davidson chronicles the challenges he faced moving from product to a founding and leadership role, as well as the benefits of having the “gap year” to accumulate some semi-formal business training by being part of a venture capital firm. For anyone working at a large technology company on product or engineering who dreams of building their own thing one day, Davidson offers a raw perspective on this transition and advice on how to make it happen.