Before I get to Oren, some of you may well be wondering, "what is an EIR?" That's a perfectly reasonable question. The simplest answer is that an EIR is an Entrepreneur In Residence -- an entrepreneur who moves in with you. And that's pretty much it.
So you have an entrepreneur move in. Then what? Another reasonable question. Typically EIRs at venture funds are there to either start a new business or to look for a new business to run. And the way they go about that is to hang around the office, eat a lot of snacks, drink a lot of coffee, and meet as many people as possible. They participate in meetings with potential portfolio companies. They spend time catching up with their old friends. They take time to meet new friends. And, along the way, hopefully they happen upon something that excites and engages them and they're off to the races.
The number one criteria for picking an EIR is that he or she is someone with whom you want to spend time and with whom you would love to work. And that's where Oren Jacob comes in. I got introduced to Oren through a number of fantastic people, including Jennifer Aaker at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, Joshua Schachter of Delicious fame, and the folks at TechCrunch. After one frenetic lunch with Oren at Oliveto in Oakland, it was clear that working with him would be hugely entertaining and that his next big thing was certain to be something great.
Oren spent the last 20 years at Pixar. In fact, during a recent visit to Oren's house, he showed me his bronze Buzz Lightyear statue for ten years of service to Pixar and his matching bronze Woody statue for twenty years of service. During his tenure at Pixar, Oren had the opportunity to touch nearly every aspect of Pixar's technical operations. Oren was a CTO at Pixar and ran the Studio Tools group, which was responsible for the software that changed digital animation forever. He was a core technical contributor to Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and Finding Nemo (for which he was the supervising technical director). And he was the co-founder of Pixar University, which has trained some of the greatest living animators. It was a dream job and Oren made the most of it.
Along with his deep technical expertise (I think Oren is our third Mechanical Engineer (BS and MS from UC Berkeley) at August), Oren brings the sort of creativity and drive that distinguishes a great entrepreneur from a good one. That creativity is particularly evident in the work that Oren has done recently in connection with the documentary feature film he executive produced, called "Ready, Set, Bag!" Using social media as his primary marketing tools (Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, YouTube), Oren has been able to garner significant attention for "Ready, Set, Bag!" and sell out independent theaters across the country. Check out this great Auto-Tune The News video about one of the protagonists in "Ready, Set, Bag!" and this TechCrunch TV interview with Oren and his wife talking about the project and its support of local food banks. Not only is he a fantastic spokesman for the film, his understanding and use of the technology and tools has served as a model for the independent film community.
With Oren's breadth of interests and expertise, it will be exciting to see where he lands next. We're going to enjoy sharing the time with Oren as he sits in our office as an EIR. It will, no doubt, be an exciting journey. We are honored to have Oren as our colleague. And we look forward to helping him find the next great thing.