By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief) Kevin Rose interviews Leah Busque (Founder, TaskRabbit) for his new series Foundation. She talks about a love for efficiency, math and computer science, and going to a small women's college to be one of six computer science majors.
After graduating, she worked at IBM as a software engineer where she had to decide between a career at IBM or starting her own startup. The real prototype came when she left IBM and spent her summer coding -- she calls it one of the funnest summer of her life. Read her blog post about going from Boston software engineer to startup founder of a VC-backed San Francisco startup. On Programming For The Web
"It was like going on a vacation! No memory management... this is awesome!" Leah exclaims about the move from programming for IBM to building TaskRabbit in a web application framework.
I basically did this little tutorial, an O'Reilly tutorial online, Ruby on Rails... and I built the cookbook framework and said alright, I got it -- it's not rocket science... Started to build on the side, just different pieces, different features, and got it to the place where it was a pretty rough prototype and started talking to people about it, showing it to them. Anyone who would listen to me, "Hey check this out, what do you think?"
Before she had even left TaskRabbit, Leah started talking to Scott Griffith, CEO of ZipCar, who encouraged Leah to see how far she could take TaskRabbit. She came from Boston to San Francisco to join an incubator and get networked with other entrepreneurs. Today, the Leah and Scott share angel investors in their companies.
On Efficiency and TaskRabbit
Leah did a double major in math and computer science with a minor in dance. Her favorite class in college was one called "Algorithm Analysis" in the computer science department but taught by a math professor:
It was the perfect combination for me -- thinking about efficiencies and algorithms. I realized I've always been obsessed with efficiency. Now that I look back, and founding TaskRabbit, it's about efficiency. I was the one they'd make fun of in college because I would walk to class through all these weird hallways and classrooms to get through the next building... because in my head the shortest distance between two points is a straight line!