Meet Tommy Antonino. In addition to being a total tea connoisseur, he’s also a Business Major studying Information Technology Management at Georgia Tech, a graduate of Startup Semester and an all around go-getter. Tommy is graduating this December and is currently deciding whether to stay in ATL or move out west. Atlanta, we need to make this young buck an offer to stay and build his career here.
What tech/creative projects are you currently working on?
Well, currently, I’m completing a capstone project for my minor (the T&M program) with Equifax, but in my free time I like to write about tea. I really just write about whatever pops up in my mind while I’m drinking and evaluating the tea; therefore most posts are surprising links between seemingly unrelated things (articles/music/videos) I find online! It’s pretty absurd, really.
What past projects have you worked on?
Apart from my current position at Equifax, most recently I interned for a small consulting firm called Alliancesphere in Sandy Springs. I had a formal title of “intern” in an office of about 10 people and it was a fantastic experience. I worked closely with the CEO and managing partners to create a comprehensive database of all the connections they made over the course of their 14 years in business by pulling from LinkedIn, Outlook, and Salesforce. I went further and wrote a script to validate the emails so that we would know which emails were still being used. Now, whenever someone flies out to meet a client, they can use the database to check if there are any other possible connections in that city that they can meet up with and keep that business connection alive. I also worked on creating an internal repository of tools and created/curated their social media strategy. I loved the flexible hours, relaxed working environment, and upbeat enthusiasm inherent in each person working there.
What are your best technical or creative skills?
My best skill is my humor. I hope to become a novelist someday, so writing and critical reading are pretty important to me as well. The real purpose of my blog, besides to train as an expert in tea, is to continue to develop my writing skill. I’ve been known to write a poem from time to time as well. Furthermore, not sure if it’s really technical or creative, but my (pardon the vernacular) “hustle” is what moves me along. I like to get in, find what I thing are the biggest problems, and just get to work.
What’s next on your list to learn?
I just finished taking a tea-class online from this great tea company called Adagio Teas (here are my notes), and I’m currently wading through a Tolkien podcast from Washington State (here are those notes).
Why the interest in startups?
My interest piqued way back in high school where I actually wrote a pretty long (4000+ word) paper about Y Combinator and the proliferation of startup accelerators across the nation. I went on to complete the requisite readings from Eric Ries and Steve Blank (also took his Udacity course!), and completed the inaugural Startup Semester at Georgia Tech with the infamous and imitable Aswin and Jerome – if you remember those guys. Most recently, I studied under Merrick Furst over at Georgia Tech’s fantastic Flashpoint program. I’m still learning and still trying to understand everything that a startup is, but I’m really just interested in finding somewhere where I can be happy. And by that I mean bring my dog to work.
What’s your ideal working environment?
My ideal working environment allows for me to have some autonomy and responsibility, gives me a ton to learn on a regular basis (gotta take advantage of me do the learning pretty quick), and lets me have my dog at my feet. Beer on tap is optional, of course.
[Photo Credit: Jeremiah Ojo]