Since this is the first blog post in our Get to Know 280blue series, we feel we need to make a small introduction to the series. Over the course of the next few months, we will be sharing the personal side of our team. Unlike our series, our fearless leader needs no intro, so without further ado, meet our 280blue CEO and President, Kim!
- Where are you from?
My father was career Navy. I was born in Pennsylvania—lived there a grand total of I think two months – but I have spent most of my life in California. We moved to the Bay Area when I was in the fourth grade and with the exception of a year in dry dock in Long Beach when I was in the seventh grade, I never really left. We lived in Marin for two years. Spent one year on Treasure Island (cold/boring) before finally settling down in Alameda, where I went to high school.
- How did you get into the field?
I answered an ad for a part-time role at a high-tech PR firm when I was in my third year at UC Berkeley. I left the company seven years later as a director running all of our day-to-day account operations.
- What is your favorite part of 280blue?
This one is tough. I refuse to give one answer. First, I would say the people. We’ve put together a powerhouse team. They are not only amazing at what they do, but they are also great people. Some I’ve worked with for over a decade. Others have joined the team in the last year. They all feel like family.
Second, I love that we get to work with early-stage and high-growth companies. I love the act of creation, of going from concept to company launch to aggressive growth. I am a bit of an oddball. I love figuring out a company’s story—why it exists and how the value of products or services intersects with customer needs/requirements. I also love figuring out how to turn that story into revenue. I am competitive and want to win. Because we offer integrated services across marketing, I get to work in all of those areas, much like I did at Riverbed where I was VP of Corporate Marketing.
- What did you want to be when you were a kid?
My first memory of wanting to “be” something was in the second grade. I remember looking up at the stars in wonder on a very clear winter night. I craved understanding stars and planets—the universe. I wanted to be an astronomer.
When I got older, I wanted to be an international journalist working in war zones.
- What is your favorite thing in San Francisco?
My favorite thing in San Francisco is walking the neighborhoods and discovering secret staircases. I worked in the city off and on for nearly fifteen years. At least once a week I would wander from SOMA up Telegraph Hill, down Lombard to North Beach and then back up Russian Hill. I’d criss-cross over to Nob Hill going up and down staircases and then down California and back to work.
- What is your favorite thing about technology?
My favorite part of technology is how it makes things possible that weren’t before. While some might call me a luddite for my disdain for the latest/greatest device, I see the power of technology in transforming business. One of my greatest joys at work is talking to customers who share how they’re able to better serve their customer, be more profitable, etc., because of our client’s technology.
- What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
I was a history major at UC Berkeley. When I finish my career in technology marketing, I plan to get my PhD, studying women’s history. I could give you multiple 40-minute presentations on the topic. I would start with slave narratives, focusing on the book, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.” The author, Harriet Jacobs, is a true hero.
Oh, I could also walk you through how to launch a company, from idea to Day 1 to first-year revenues. Excites me just as much as women’s history. ☺
- What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?
I really want to go on a pilgrimage on the Japanese island of Shokoku.
- Favorite restaurant in the Bay Area?
The Slanted Door. I love Vietnamese food. While the “new” location in the Ferry Building is okay, I loved the vibe of their previous locations.
- What gets you fired up?
I get fired up by being outside. I love to kayak, backpack, snowshoe and ski. I especially enjoy those things when I am able to bring along my dog Max who experiences life at 11. He would make anyone smile.
- What’s the best and worst piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The worst piece of advice I ever heard came from a co-worker who told me that if I wanted to get ahead, I needed to walk over everyone. Be ruthless. This advice came after I walked in on her telling our manager about her great idea—one that I’d shared with her the night before. I decided that day to always do the exact opposite.