A Look Back, A Step Ahead

With yesterday being my 18th birthday, a lot has changed in the last year. I’ve had a lot of time now to reflect on the actions that took place earlier this year, and I’d like to share my experiences with you all today.

I’ll be the first to admit that I made a mistake. Not just any mistake, but a big mistake that is going to follow me for a long time, and at this point, there is nothing that I can do about that, but take 100% responsibility for my actions.

I made a critical error in my judgement that could have been easily avoided, and I take full responsibility for my actions that put myself, and others in harms way. I’ve learned a valuable lesson from this entire experience, and hope that not only can I grow from this, but others will be able to learn from my mistake, and hope that they don’t have to go through something like this.

Specifics aside, I took advantage of a previous relationship that I had, and engaged in an extremely inappropriate conversation that should have never occurred, and now we can all see what happened. What happened has happened, and I can only look back, and take responsibility for my actions.

Going forward, I have become smarter and more self-aware and conscious about my decisions when I talk to people. There is a fine line between what’s okay to say and do, and what is not, and I clearly crossed that line further then I should have been.

I can’t turn back the clock and change what I did, but what I can do is only move forward and keep my head up, and make sure I never make a decision like this ever again, I am also a lot more prepared now, I always make sure that healthy USA is in my contacts.

I can’t say enough about how sorry I am for my actions earlier this year. I made a very stupid decision that cost me more then just a job; it cost me friendships, respect, and trust from people I respected, and looked up to.

To my family, and closest friends, I sincerely and deeply apologize for everything I have put you through this year. From here we grow and don’t look back.

As Euripides, an ancient Greek dramatist once said, “Along with success comes a reputation for wisdom.”

Some Updates (Updated)

After taking a few months off since February, I’ve had a lot of time to think and reflect on these last few months, and choose my next steps going forward.

I’ve tried to stay off the grid as much as possible in terms of public events and such, but I’m excited that I’m starting to ramp up my speaking engagements, starting off with Tomorrow’s Web at the end of this month in San Francisco. Sure, Tomorrow’s Web maybe a competitor to the Teens in Tech Conference, but in the end, we’re aiming for the same mission, so I’m gladly going to help where I can to achieve our mission. Grant and his team have put in a lot of work into Tomorrow’s Web, so I’m excited for the upcoming event! I’ve also got three 20% off conference ticket codes that the first three people can use. If you want to attend Tomorrow’s Web on Saturday, July 31, use the code “DANIELBRU” when checking out, and your ticket price will be deducted 20%!

I’m really excited to announce that at Tomorrow’s Web, during my talk, on stage, I’ll be announcing two new exciting things that Teens in Tech is working on, as well as side project that Michael Costigan and I have been working on.

Also, since stepping down as CEO of Teens in Tech Networks, I’ve had a lot more free time to think about the future of the Teens in Tech Conference with my business partner Sam Levin. In the coming weeks, we’ll be announcing some exciting news from the company that I’ve been hinting at on my Twitter feed.

Not to be left out, of course, that I’ll be starting college in a few weeks as well, which I am more then excited about. I’m more excited about the courses that I’ll be taking, like Video Production, Digital Video Editing, and more!

Another thing that I’m excited about, is the launch of iPhone Case Finder. Much like its sister site, iPhone Case Finder is all about finding iPhone cases that are right for you, the user. We’ve been focusing on iPhone 4 cases, after the whole “Antennagate” issue, so if you need an iPhone 4 case, iPhone Case Finder is your place. Check out the site, and let me know what you think!

I’m really excited for the future, and I hope that you all can join me in it!

Update: So after some miscommunication, and disorganization, Tomorrow’s Web was unfortunately canceled. Hopefully next time around, they can prevent the issues.

Welcome to College

If anyone knows me, they know that I do not like school. It’s not something that I enjoy, or at least have not enjoyed in high school. Being a senior in high school, these last few weeks have been filled with senior news and updates — most having to do with college.

About two years ago, I “gave up” on school. What does that mean? Well, I just stopped caring. I didn’t see the purpose of the curriculum my teachers were attempting to teach me. Until very recently, I only thought of school as a waste of time. I wanted real world experience, which is where I went wrong.

I recently had a conversation with Meebo Co-Founder and CEO Seth Sternberg. Seth went to Yale for his bachelors, and Stanford for his MBA, which he actually didn’t finish, but that’s besides the point. We spoke about a lot of topics around school, and how if you look at the people that I look up to from companies like Rock You, Meebo, Facebook, Microsoft, they all had one thing in common — they went to college. They may have not finished college, but they went.

I haven’t exactly taken college seriously, until I got this wake up call from Seth and others.

Today, I’m extremely happy to say that I’m going to college, and attending the College of San Mateo (CSM) during the fall semester in 2010. I’ve already taken my placement test, figured out my base classes, and have scheduled myself for orientation.

Never in a million years did I think that I would be saying this, but I’m truly excited to go to college. After I got the email saying I’ve been accepted, it was one of the happiest feelings I’ve had.

To make it even better, minutes after getting accepted, and getting my new student identification number, I got my email account for CSM, which happens to be hosted on Google Apps. I have a feeling I’ll be alright in college 🙂

So that’s the story of college — I’m going, and I’m truly happy that I am. Also, don’t forget that I’m training for the Carlsbad 5000 in April, and you can track my progress through Twitter and the blog.

Running the Carlsbad 5000

I typically don’t write about specific personal events in my life, but I feel like this one is something that I want to share with everyone. Many people don’t know, but my mom is actually a marathon runner. And of course, I’ve been inspired by her, to train for my first official running competition — the Carlsbad 5000.

In April, I’ll be heading down the coast from San Francisco to Carlsbad to run in this event, with my sister, who also is a runner (it runs in the family).

I’ll be tracking my progress on Twitter, Facebook and this blog, so if you want follow my training, go ahead and subscribe.

Wrap Up: Teens in Tech Conference 2.0

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On Saturday, February 6th, it was the second Teens in Tech Conference, or as we called it, Teens in Tech Conference 2.0. It was a really exciting day filled with amazing attendees, speakers, sponsors, giveaways and overall fun. I just wanted to take a little bit of time to go over some of things that happened at the conference.

The conference would not have been made possible with out the amazing content of our speakers. Danny Trinh from Digg kicked off the conference, and gave an amazing talk, just like last year. Joey Primiani started his talk off with a bang, entering the room in a space suit, and with a “fan club” — it definitely woke everyone up in the morning. Our first interview in the morning was with John Ramey and Zak Hassanein, the Co-Founders of isocket, a new startup that handles advertising solutions for companies, which recently raised $2 million in funding from top VC’s and Angels’ in Silicon Valley. Tim Showalter-Loch from Best Buy talked to the crowd about what Best Buy, a large electronics seller is doing to attract teens, and to make their business more eco-friendly, as well as their new project, @15.

Our amazing sponsors had a few moments to demo their products, and give a little talk about them. Following that, we had lunch along side some networking between attendees.

Alex Nichols kicked off the afternoon sessions talking about marketing and entrepreneurship in the 21st century — Adam Debreczeni, who designed and built our conference web site, talked about designing for youth, and gave some really interesting examples on good and bad designs. We ended up the afternoon with a eco-friendly talk from SmartPowerEd, an interview with Josh Shipp, and a really great talk from Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO, Drew Houston.

Whenever someone registers for the conference through Eventbrite, I get an email notifying me. At 6:00 PM, I got a very interesting email from Eventbrite, saying that Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, just registered for the conference. My jaw immediately dropped. At first, I couldn’t believe that it was actually him, but when he showed up on time at 9:00 AM on Saturday, I was blown away even more. Steve was an amazing attendee, offered feedback, signed a few attendees personal MacBook Pros, and even helped us giveaway some raffle tickets!

The Teens in Tech Conference would not have been made possible with out the support of our amazing sponsors and partners. Most importantly, I’d like to thank Google for letting us use their San Francisco office, as well as provide snacks, drinks, audio equipment, chairs and tables for us to use. Not mentioned, Google gave away two Nexus One’s at the conference, plus t-shirts, puzzles, stickers, Wave and Voice invites, and much more. Some of our other sponsors, like Pana.ma gave away an iPod Touch, and Altec Lansing gave away amazing speakers, and list goes on. If you’d like to see all of our sponsors, check them out here. Lastly, special thanks to Rickshaw Bagworks for creating custom Small Zero Messenger bags for the conference.

If you weren’t able to make the conference, we streamed the entire conference via Ustream, where you can watch all the sessions.

Obviously, there is a lot that we can improve on for the conference, and we are always open to suggestions, but in my opinion, this years conference was much better then last year, in all ways. Thank you for making that happen! Until next year, we’ll see you online!

The Line Was Crossed

In the nine months that I’ve worked at TechCrunch, I’ve enjoyed every single moment of it. I couldn’t be more thankful to Michael and Heather for giving me this opportunity to work with an amazing organization, and with an amazing group of individuals.

In some way or another, a line was crossed that should have never been. At this time, I do not want to go into details, but I will publicly say that I am truly sorry to my family, friends, TechCrunch, and especially the tech community. Since 2006 when I first got into the internet, I have felt comfortable, and working at TechCrunch has made this experience even better. TechCrunch is not to blame for any of this — TechCrunch has given me the opportunity of a life time. I can never say thank you enough for TechCrunch for the amazing last nine months I’ve had.

This is the first day of the next learning stage for me. Yes, I am young, but from here, I can only learn more. To my family, friends, colleagues and especially, TechCrunch, I am sorry. I am taking this entire experience, learning and moving on.

For those who have messaged me with your thoughts — thank you. At this point, I’d like to take some time to myself after the Teens in Tech Conference, to focus on school, and enjoy being a teenager. I’ve invited Michael and my friends from TechCrunch to come the conference as well.

Thank you for the support thus far, and I hope you respect my decision to have some privacy.

Teens in Tech Conference 2.0

We started Teens in Tech Networks in February 2008 with a simple goal — bring teens together online. Over the years, we’ve succeeded. We have numerous products (Teens in Tech, Teens in Tech Games, Yazzem, Youth Bloggers Network, and of course the Teens in Tech Conference) that help us accomplish what we’ve set to do.

In January 2009, we had our first Teens in Tech Conference, where over 125 attendees came to the conference, and learned from our amazing speakers. We became the number one trending topic on Twitter, one day before the Super Bowl, which was a huge accomplishment.

This year, we’re coming back, bigger and better. Teens in Tech Conference 2.0 is at Google’s San Francisco office on February 6, and we’re thrilled to have Google as a sponsor. They’ll be supplying snacks and drinks, as well as the venue, throughout the day.

I’m even more excited about our amazing speakers including Joe Hewitt of Facebook, Danny Trinh of Digg, Vitor Lourenço of Twitter, Josh Shipp, Drew Houston of Dropbox, and many more! You can find the full list here.

And of course, we have our amazing sponsors behind us again this year, including Rickshaw Bags, who once again is making custom bags for the conference, Intel, Blue Microphones, JBL, Speck Products, Best Buy @15, RadTech, and more. You can also find the full list here.

And with that, I encourage everyone to register for the conference if you’re in town. And, for reading my blog, you get a special discount code! Just use the code ‘danielbru‘ when you register, and you’ll save 15% of your ticket price.

Hope to see everyone in San Francisco at Google’s office on February 6th!