Alumni Stories: Nick Baum ’05, Software Designer

Photo courtesy of Nick Baum

Photo courtesy of Nick Baum

Nick Baum ’05 worked as a software designer and product manager at Google before leaving the company in 2011 to start his own social media networking site, WhereBerry, a virtual “bucket list” where users share restaurants or movies they enjoy. More recently Baum founded StoryWorth, a website where users record their family stories.

At Dartmouth, Baum was a member of the varsity swim team and an associate French teacher. He graduated Dartmouth Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a major in computer science modified with economics.

Please provide a two sentence description of what you do:

StoryWorth makes it easy for people to record their family stories. As the sole founder, I’m responsible for everything from product design to programming to customer support.

What is most satisfying about your current work?

The most satisfying part about my work is hearing from real people who are closer to their families thanks to StoryWorth. Being a founder also means I have full control over how I prioritize my time, allowing me to do a variety of different things each day. It’s never boring!

What’s the best way to enter your field? Any essential elements of preparation?

The best way to prepare for being a software entrepreneur is to build things. You can absolutely do this while at Dartmouth: figure out a small product that you would find useful, and build the simplest version of that. Other than that, experience working at a small startup is invaluable.

What advice would you give to others seeking opportunities in this field?

If you’re a computer science major, I recommend taking risks early on. Having Dartmouth on your resume is great employment insurance, you’ll always be able to find a comfortable corporate job. Right now, you’ll learn a lot more by going to work for a small startup, or even applying to YCombinator and starting your own.

How has Dartmouth supported you in your career development?

I would not be doing this today if it weren’t for Dartmouth. I got a job as a software engineer at Google as part of their on-campus interviews, where I eventually became a product manager on Android and Google Chrome. Forget about investment banking and consulting – there are so many more interesting things you could be doing!

Is there anything that we haven’t asked you that you think we should?

A modified or double major is a great way to increase your job value. Scott Adams has a great blog post about this: if you want to be in the top 5% of what you do, you can either be in the top 5% of one discipline, or in the top 25% of two disciplines.

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