About Kareem Mayan
I write here to share and help refine my thinking on technologies and business practices that I find interesting, so please feel free to share your thoughts, especially when I'm wrong. Also, I kinda like being able to look back and remember what life was like back in the day.
A Little Bit About Me
I am currently employed as Director of Product Development in FOX Interactive Media's Labs group. Basically I get to prototype and build cool new media products. Prior to FIM Labs, I worked in product management at FOXSports, and as a Technical Producer at ESPN.com. I live in Santa Monica, but Toronto's my home town.
I am particularly interested in how technology is democratizing organizations, how to create good customer experiences, social media, and how loosely-connected systems and emerging technologies are enabling innovation and changing business.
Also, I get fired up about entrepreneurship, world travel, learning, and not taking life too seriously.
You can contact me at blog at reemer d0t com.
If you're interested, here's...
A Brief Reverse-Chronology of my Life
2007: Workin on it...
2006: Early 2006 is no fun at FOX, but things look up when I join the Labs group in July. Foo Camp is awesome, as is a trip to Copenhagen and Switzerland. Most importantly, I discover a community of like-minded people who believe a democratic structure is the future of organizational design when I reach out to Traci Fenton at World Blu. I am later honored to join their Global Advisory Group.
2005: A trying first half in which I peak at ESPN and get sick of Bristol. In June, I join FOX Interactive Media with big expectations. Geneve and I head to the west coast by way of Tanzania, Egypt, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy, which is a phenomenal six week adventure but only a taste of the year-long trip we had planned.
2004: A good year. I hit my stride at ESPN, visit San Francisco twice, Denmark, and Sweden. Geneve and I make plans to travel the world for a year when we leave Connecticut.
2003: Not a good year. I work on a death march project for five months through the summer and fall, and it takes a physical and mental toll. I head to Toronto for two weeks to decompress and reflect, and decide that I will do whatever I can to avoid unbalancing my life like that again.
2002: I spend three weeks working until 3am perfecting a website resume for a dream job at ESPN.com in New York. That job is already filled by the time I send in my resume, but the recruiter suggests I take a look at the Bristol, Connecticut positions. Not knowing where the hell Bristol is, I tell him I'll think about it. I end up taking the job, and despite moving to Connecticut, I don't regret it a bit.
2001: I register reemer.com, since lew.com and kareem.com are taken. I travel to Prague alone, and spend several fun days in London. I try to fulfill a desire to live on the West Coast by flirting with NCompass Labs in Vancouver. Microsoft steals her away from me, buying NCompass just before I graduate, and so I go to work in Boston. Most importantly, I meet Geneve. It happens at midnight when her birthday (Feb 27) rolls into mine (Feb 28).
2000: I am faced with a choice to stay in Montreal for the summer and work as a web app developer for uPath, a dot-bomb, or move to Toronto to work in the product management group for BackWeb, an enterprise software company. The inertia to stay in Montreal is strong, but I choose BackWeb, and it is the right decision: I meet some really good people, learn about product management, which is a field that I don't even know exists but really enjoy, and realize that creating consumer software is much more satisfying than developing enterprise software.
1999: The year of NHL 2000. I organize a 10-team, 28-game season running on multiple computers over the dorm network. I lay the smack down, going 27-1 and undefeated in the playoffs. Unsurprisingly, I don't have a girlfriend for the entire year.
1998: While running some errands with my buddy Ramy, we stop in at his buddy Chad's house. Chad has a 21" monitor on his desk, which, being 1998, is extremely rare, so I comment on it. Turns out Chad runs a web development shop, which leads to my first real-world exposure to web application development, and eventually my first full-time job at ALS-TDF, a non-profit biotech in Boston.
1997: I land the only open spot in McConnell Hall to be a floor-fellow, which is the best job in the world. Unlike typical RA jobs, disciplining people isn't in the job description at McGill, so my only obligation is to be a resource for the freshmen on my floor. This is a high-visibility position, and since I don't generally care for the spotlight, this forces me to step outside my comfort zone.
1996: I am given the nickname "Reemer". Initially used by members of Disc-a-phile, my Toronto ultimate team, it spreads to McGill. "Lew" becomes a legacy name, used by only a few friends from UTS.
1995: I start playing ultimate frisbee at McGill University. To while away the long Montreal winters, me and and a couple of buddies perfect our technique by throwing frisbees down the long dorm hallways every day for four months.
1994: I hit a game-winning three pointer in a highschool intramural basketball game. College recruiters fail to notice.
1993: I discover the internet in the UTS library when Graydon shows IRC to Andrew and me. The first thing we do is jump on the #lakings channel and start trash-talking about that evening's Leafs-Kings playoff game.
1992: The Blue Jays win the World Series and I celebrate with a million other people on Yonge St that night. The high lasts for several days, and is recreated when Joe Carter wins the World Series again for the Jays with a series-ending homer a year later.
1991: I am given the nickname "Lew". It derives from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's real name, Lew Alcindor. When I'm walking on stage at my graduation ceremony in 1995, my vocal friends in the audience holler "Lewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww". My mother is furious, thinking I'm being booed.
1990: Andrew and I use the legacy school maps handed down from his brother, Colin, along with some newly-developed creative breaking and entering skills to explore out-of-bounds areas of UTS: the roof, the furnace room, the sub-attic, and the sub-basement. I think this is one reason the Harry Potter books appeal to me.
1989: I buy my first computer (a Commodore 64) with money that I win from CKEY 590, a radio station in Toronto. This leads to many hours spent BBSing, playing Autoduel and Super-Star Ice Hockey. The cool video game intros inspire me to learn to program in machine language from a book by Jim Butterfield. Bouncing raster bars are the highlight of this effort.
1988: I write the entrance exam to go to University of Toronto Schools, a semi-private school in downtown Toronto. I get in, but since none of my friends are going, I don't want to go. My parents pull rank, and I spend six years in a wonderful learning environment with a lot of huge brained-peers, open-minded teachers, and a diverse downtown scene to explore.
1987: The misunderstood George Bell, my favorite baseball player, wins the American League MVP award with 47 home runs and 134 RBIs. After winning seven in a row to take first place in the AL East, the Jays blow a 3.5 game lead over the Detroit Tigers by losing seven in a row. I am vindicated and heartbroken at the same time.
1986: We move to Toronto proper from the 'burbs of Scarborough. When registering at my new school, I choose to be in Mr. Forrest's class because he has four Commodore PETs in his classroom. I quickly become bored with playing Lemonade Stand, and try writing a Lemonade Stand of my own. Thus begins my software development career.
1984: My hockey fever takes off, and I root for Wayne Gretzky and the Edmonton Oilers. Also, I figure out that there are only two teams on the ice--the guys in the black-and-white striped jerseys are officials.
1983: I develop a hatred for the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings when my older cousins in Detroit taunt me about the success of their teams and the failure of mine.
1982: My first experience with entrepreneurship. I open the "Bank of Kareem" for my family members. Industry analysts attribute its failure to a strict deposits-only policy.
1981: My favorite word is "why". This hasn't changed much.
1980: One of my earliest, very foggy memories is of my dad bringing me a bike on my birthday. My parents tell me that I am a very, very happy little boy this day.
1979: While my mom is shopping, I split my head open while helping my dad mow the lawn. My mom freaks out, my dad feels terrible, and I get seven stitches and a mean-looking scar for life.
1978: I spend too much time on the bottle, and it's mostly a blur.
1977: I am born on February 28th--my mom's birthday--at about 8:30 in the morning.