Living… under intense pressure in Erlich Bachman’s Palo Alto startup incubator. Erlich provides lodging and workspace to programmers in exchange for 10% equity of their fledgling businesses, and Richard’s is on the cusp of changing the world. Or at least dramatically changing his bank account.
Profession… CEO and founder of Pied Piper, an music app that lets songwriters know if they are infringing any copyrights. But Richard eventually learns that the algorithm he wrote to compress data files does so without degrading the quality of the data – i.e. lossless compression – giving it a variety of very valuable potential applications. In fact, it could make Richard a billionaire.
Interests… throwing on his signature hoodie and blasting dubstep on his oversized headphones to help him “get in the zone” to program.
Relationship Status… single, like most of his colleagues. Richard went on two dates with a girl in high school but she dumped him and he’s still not over it. It’s an unhealthy obsession that only gets creepier as time goes on. But as the CEO of a startup that could make him very rich, Richard’s prospects with the ladies could soon be improving.
Challenge… surviving the pressure that comes with a $200,000 investment and lofty expectations from venture capitalist Peter Gregory. The vice tightens when he learns that Gavin Belson, head of internet giant Hooli, is working on reverse engineering Richard’s algorithm and beating him to market.
Personality… naturally non-confrontational and easily flustered in face-to-face situations. Those tics are so pronounced that some people believe he has Asperger’s. He used to let his code talk for him, but now that he’s a CEO, he has to learn to be more of an outgoing businessman and keep cool in stressful situations. Modest goal number one: don’t vomit all the time.
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