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    • A few days later, I got a call that offered me the job. I had no idea, really, what kind of salary to ask for, but, having just finished my double major from Berkeley, and getting two years under my belt, I was looking at a 50% raise over my last job. It seemed like so much money -- commensurate with being able to deliver a brand new website in about 30 days (which my designer and I managed).

      I agreed to the job, and the pay bump, and my excitement lasted almost a full workday.

      On the first day, HR asked me to sign papers to complete my employment, and I added my signature with enthusiasm. I walked back to the HR manager's desk, and she opened a folder titled "E-marketing manager". The first page in the folder was a job description (mine) with a salary range.

      The bottom of that salary range was above where I had signed, and the top of that range went a full $30,000 higher. I immediately felt like I was underpaid, and I'd have to work a decade before I felt like I'd caught up. But I managed to get the job at the stealth company, and their fake website -- lasting 8 1/2 years, until I left in 2009.

      Below is one of the last real ones I published, after multiple generations of product and many hundreds of customers. (And eight bosses. I outlasted everyone I interviewed with)

    • Synaxia was essentially in stealth mode while they built their product. If it did what it was supposed to, it could have upended EMC and NetApp the way Cisco had decimated Nortel and 3Com. Being quiet bought them time to build.

      I had one hop in between BlueArc (formerly Synaxia Networks) and Google. I had been blogging and advising small startups pretty regularly from 2006 to 2009, when I left BlueArc and cofounded my own consulting firm -- Paladin Advisors Group. We focused on Marketing, PR and social for big companies and small ones.

      For one of them, my6sense, I was their acting Vice President of Marketing, and we met with all the big players regularly, including Google. It was through those relationships (and my continued blogging) that got me really close to Google. Maybe I'll share the story sometime about exactly how all that went down, if I can.