Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Posted by Nick at Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I have always tried to not make this blog about me, because the Lighthouse issue is much bigger than any one person or web site. However, I also came to realize that it was a bit silly to not share with you who I am, what I do, and why I decided to start this blog.
As seen in other places, my name is Nick Giglia (pronounced Jeel-Ya), and I'm in my mid-twenties. I was born in Rockville Centre, and I grew up in North Bellmore. I graduated Kellenberg Memorial High School (a stone's throw from the proposed Lighthouse, and co-ed sister school of Chaminade), and then 4 years later got a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University.
I've had many incredible experiences in my life, and I'm thankful for all of them, including my time on The Long Island Challenge in high school, my trip to the Winter Olympics in Torino, my time traveling Europe, and the incredible opportunities and people I've met in Boston and New York.
I grew up in a very baseball-centric family, with the Yankees being my parents' team. Hockey wasn't talked about in my household, but I have an uncle who, when I was young, had Islanders season tickets, and he began to bring me to games when I was about 7. My first game at Nassau Coliseum was a magical experience, as Benoit Hogue scored a hat trick in an Islanders win (funny enough, at the next game I was confused when the game ended and nobody had thrown any hats on the ice). I was hooked.
I really and truly became a fan in the 92-93 season when, of course, the Islanders made that stirring run to the Stanley Cup semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. I will never forget Game 7 against Pittsburgh...I was watching with my 2 uncles, with my parents upstairs in our living room. At 5:16 of overtime (how fitting), David Volek one-timed a pass from Ray Ferraro, beating a surprised Tom Barrasso on the stick side and sending us into bedlam. I ran upstairs to tell my parents the news, but in my excitement I tripped on our carpet and caught my knee on the sharp corner of our coffee table, ripping a 2-inch gash above my left knee. I've grown since then, but the scar is still there, and I didn't realize how many times the team would scar me after that moment of unspeakable joy.
My Islanders fan experience was the same as anyone else's from that time period. I remember forgettables like Dan Plante, Grigori Panteleev, Yan Kaminsky, Niklas Andersson, Mark Lawrence, Barry Richter, Danny Lorenz, and countless others. I enjoyed the Bates penalty shot game at the Coliseum, and it affected me in such a profound way that I had to be talked out of writing my college entrance essays about it (looking back, maybe I should've). I believe in loyalty, but I also believe in criticizing when criticism is warranted.
What Do I Do?
From the beginning of my life, I have been fascinated by building things and by the immense promise of technology. While other kids my age were playing Mario, Sonic, or Doom, I was, as an 8 year old, engrossed in Sim City, obsessing over minor details of my city. I had an early knack for computers, and my constant comments about "I want to start a company that does..." should have been a hint for me.
My knack for computers came to a head when I was 16, when my mother informed me that the computer guy in the brokerage office where she worked (a place with over 700 users - this was at the tail end of the Go-Go 90's, right before 9/11) needed help, and she volunteered me for the summer. I was happy for the money, but I soon realized the job made me much happier. I was fascinated with technology, but I was also fascinated by its strategic use, namely how it fit into the overall business rather than just saying "hey, this is cool." I worked there for 2 more summers, and after a year or 2 of trying to run from it in college, I realized that technology was my home.
In college, I also honed my passion for business plans and entrepreneurship, thanks to the great people around me and an incredibly supportive professor (and friend) with whom I still keep in touch. Out of school, I took a job at one of the largest consulting firms in the country, working on Platform Architecture & Infrastructure, Process Re-Engineering, and IT Strategy for some of the biggest clients in the world. It was a good job, but it ended up not being perfect for me. I left at the end of 2008 to pursue other angles, and in this past year I have been advising startups (such as an upcoming social networking platform for entrepreneurs and potential partners), advising B.D. as he put Hockey Independent together, freelancing, and working on a concept I first formulated in my sleep while studying abroad in London in early 2006.
I am also active in the New York high-tech community, through events like New York Tech Meetup and other incredible groups. I'm very excited for New York, which I believe is about to break out as a center for technology and innovation.
Why Did I Start This Blog?
I have the naturally curious entrepreneur's mindset, the sort of thing that makes you realize anything is possible. I have always been involved in some way with Lighthouses, from my early childhood experiences at the Montauk Lighthouse to my college years living on Beacon Street in Boston, and I was at the same time naturally drawn to the Lighthouse Project. When it was first unveiled in 2004, I was a student at Boston University taking an Intro to Law class that all undergraduate business students were required to take. Our professor asked us soon after to write a current events paper about some recent bit of news, and given the unveiling and the NHL lockout, the project seemed a given. I delved into local zoning laws, environmental review, and other things, soon realizing that I was interested in the field, I have the patience to read dense legal documents, and...this project was very important to me, and it stood as a symbol of what I believed Long Island should be. The paper got an A+, and a seed was planted.
I was involved with the Long Island Lighthouse Political and Economic Development Alliance, a group started by dedicated citizens Roger Farina, Bob Zambuto, Ken Halpern, and others, in 2008, but I soon began to realize that the research on the project could be geared toward bigger things. It became clear, after I became frustrated with the mainstream media's coverage of the project, and after I got warnings about the length and frequency of my Lighthouse comments from Chris Botta, I realized that I needed some sort of a platform.
Then, I had that flash that all entrepreneurs love: a blog about the Lighthouse and its issues had to exist, and given my background and interests, I had to be the person to do it. I signed up on Blogger, wondering if anyone would read the site, and gave it the same name I gave my fantasy hockey team that year: Let There Be Light(house). In the year since the site went live, I have gotten to meet and interact with so many of you, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity.
Where Am I Going?
My fascination with building things has not abated, but I realize now that things need to take a different turn. I have had an incredible amount of fun, and I have learned an unbelievable amount in this past year, but right now, as the entrepreneur turned VC Mark Suster would say, it's time for me to Learn and take the next step. I'm actively seeking new opportunities that will allow me to use my entrepreneurial flair, and my passion for building things, in the most constructive way possible. I hope my skills in and knowledge of IT, business strategy, public policy, and social media will be able to assist me in this endeavor.
Whatever happens, please know that I will stick with this blog, whenever I can, until we receive ultimate closure on the Lighthouse Project.
If you want to chat in the comments, that's great, and if you'd like to talk about anything I said in this post in person, you can email me at the link below.
I want to take another opportunity to thank all of you. This blog has truly succeeded beyond my wildest expectations, and that could not have happened without such a dedicated group of engaged people who refuse to accept the world as it is. I hope we never do, and we continue to fight for the world as it should be.
(Picture taken on the roof of the Duomo in Milan)