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Experience Leadership

Founder Armen Berjikly pulled one of his closest friends, Neil Sheth, into the mix and brought experience project to life in April 2007. Since then, the company has grown steadily with a diverse management team that has deep roots in Internet, social media and emerging technologies. With experience built on the backs of globally recognized companies like Accenture, Demand Media, ING, Microsoft, and SAP.

THE TEAM

The Team

Armen Berjikly
Founder + Chief Experience Officer

A true visionary, Armen is passionate about building technology that connects people. Now whether that is for the purpose of sharing common interests, rallying support around a cause or simply seeking friendship and human connection is up the user! Experience Project is the crown jewel of Armen's endeavors, bringing all of the skills and wisdom garnered throughout his career into one pioneering social forum that benefits the lives of millions.

An honors graduate of Stanford University with a Bachelors in Computer Science, Armen's primary research focus was Human-Computer Interaction, where he worked closely with professor Clifford Nass, author of the groundbreaking HCI work, The Media Equation. Later, Armen went on to obtain a Master's Degree in Management Science and Engineering, also at Stanford, with an emphasis on Organizations, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Armen was also a Mayfield Fellow, a prestigious fellowship that provides intensive training in entrepreneurship in the field of engineering.

Since then, Armen has led numerous successful internet startups including FileDemon - the first meta-search engine for files, Do Everything - the first comparison music shopping engine, and multiple online patient health communities designed to sponsor hope through research and community. Armen's idea for Experience Project came about in response to his support of a friend who was diagnosed with a life changing illness, which goes to show you what kind of a person Armen is behind the big titles and accolades - a highly ethical, caring individual who wants to use his experience and capabilities to positively impact people's lives.

For a little more on Armen's thoughts around building Experience Project, please check out this lecture he gave at a Stanford seminar.

When Armen isn't building innovating web communities that impact our daily lives, he spends his spare time trying to eat at each and every restaurant in San Francisco.

Experience Unplugged:
I Want a Pet Cow
"One early day in EP, I logged in and saw someone had read my mind and created an "I Want a Pet Cow" group. I've always thought a pet cow wandering around in a backyard would mean endless entertainment. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself"

Neil Sheth
Chief Technology Officer

Neil Sheth has a gift for marrying the complexity of technology and its many possibilities with the creation of easy to navigate virtual communities. He graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelors in Computer Systems Engineering and a Masters in Management Science and Engineering. There, he met Armen where they shared a passion for web technology as it applies to human interaction. Neil is a veteran of Silicon Valley, and has the war wounds to prove it. His Bay Area pedigree includes serving as a test design engineer at Microsoft, a resident at IBM's Almaden Research Center, a software engineer at ComGlobal Systems, and a senior research associate at Accenture's Technology Labs.

While Neil's interests include application of machine learning techniques to problems in text data analysis, as well as the creation of groundbreaking virtual communities to improve human communication and information acquisition, he also finds immeasurable delight in his never-ending search for both the quintessential cheeseburger (medium-rare, of course) and the perfect obscure beer with which to pair it.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love Weird Facts
"Ok. Sure the world is truly an odd place. Visiting this group is confirmation of this fact. But hey, I learn something new with every visit and sometimes I get a laugh out of it too."

Erik Darby
Vice President - Business Development + Operations

Erik Darby joins Experience Project as Vice President of Finance. Erik previously served as a Senior Portfolio Manager for Wilshire Quinn Capital, a long/short equity hedge fund focusing on global macro strategies. Prior to Wilshire Quinn, he worked as a Senior Analyst at Bel Air Investment Advisors, in Los Angeles, focusing on the analysis of municipal, corporate and agency debt. Erik began his career in finance with Seneca Capital Management, where he served as Senior Equity Analyst for Seneca's $8 billion equity portfolios. While at Seneca, Erik covered the energy, material and industrial sectors, in addition to contributing on Seneca's REIT investment committee.

Taking a brief break from the investment industry, in 2006 Erik took on his own entrepreneurial challenge as the CEO/Co-Founder of CityBlender, LLC, a company that advanced the online presence and coupon distribution for local businesses. Erik earned his B.A. in economics with honors from the University of Utah and a MBA in Global Business and Finance from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management. Whether it's paintballing with his younger brothers or intimidating any guy his sister even thinks of dating, Erik is a family man through and through and spends most of his free time perfecting the art of being the cool older brother.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love the Outdoors
"Every now and then, my mind drifts away from the thoughts of work and city living, to remote locations of the great outdoors. Picturesque landscapes of mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes - there is no place that I enjoy to go more."

Angela Chan
Web Development Lead

Angela is two-parts developer and engineering skills and one part wicked design, not to mention her rather impressive green thumb. Angela studied Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland at College Park where she received a BS degree. Angela works at Experience Project taking her energy and inspiration from the community; she is amazed almost daily by the meaningful communities its members create. She feels these are connections that our "real life" society is missing more often than not. The socially conscious nature of EP initially drew her in and continues to drive her enthusiasm for the one's and zero's each day.

When asked about what she does with the company, Angela says: "I spend my time improving user experience and various business needs through programming. How do you make this sound beautiful?" Beyond her world at EP, Angela is a strong proponent of environmental causes. She also enjoys staying active through dancing and swimming and ultimate fighting on the weekends.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love those Childhood Smells
"I am very in touch with my sense of smell and there are few scents that give me more safety and comfort than that of clean laundry. Especially if there are no artificial scents and it is sun-dried. Natural components only! The touch of something soft, warm and clean reminds me of childhood. I guess it's a way I can return to that dream-like place before it fades away forever."

Kumar Garapaty
Software Engineer

Kumar jumped on board the Experience Project train shortly after graduating from UC Berkeley with a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Kumar has tackled some interesting projects over the years including a medical records application that was optimized to be used in various residential schools in Senegal. This same program has been adopted by non-profits for deployment - proving that there is plenty we can all do to make a difference in cultures and communities worldwide.

Kumar has always had an interest in entrepreneurship, start-ups, and really just the game of creating something as much as possible from nothing and seeing where it takes you. His primary interests are deeply entrenched in social entrepreneurship and using the web for crowdsourcing with an eye on finding niche communities that can improve people's lives.

Life hasn't always been about coding for Kumar. Growing up, Kumar seems to have taken a page from the "Julio Vasconcellos Road Atlas," having lived in many different places over the years. That said, his taste in food has never changed. Everything that he eats has to be spicy to some degree - because let's face, life is better with a little bit of spice in it. Using sriracha, tapatio sauce or even chili powder, he attempts to satisfy his taste buds. Kumar also enjoys listening to old school hip hop and newer socially motivated ones as well.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love Spicy Food
"Food is about the spices for me! I love spicy food. There is no explanation, its just so much tastier that way. There's nothing like going to the edge where your face is red and your tongue is burning; a combination of pleasure and pain that you can't find anywhere else. After going through many of these episodes, things that are not spicy just taste bland to me."

Arsineh Ghazarian
Community Manager

Arsineh has worked as a freelance writer, providing marketing and PR services to variety of companies ranging from financial services to social media. Arsineh's work has been published in The Times (London) and numerous local Bay Area newspapers. Most recently, she worked with kronomy.com a social networking site that allows its users to create and surf through 3D life paths. Once we were able to lure her out of cyberspace, she was inducted into the EP Family.

After graduating with honors from the UC Irvine in Psychology and Social Behavior, Arsineh went on to pursue a masters in Business and Economic Journalism from Boston University. How's that for coast-to-coast coverage? You can't keep Arsineh in one place too long! When she is not sharing her life with friends and making connections online or writing, writing or writing, she is traveling the globe. Arsineh loves to travel and has explored exotic places such as Nice… ain't nothing like having a cocktail in the Monte Carlo Casino. Arsineh is excited to be a part of the EP team, where she provides member support and works towards improving the overall user experience.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love to Travel
"I love to travel. Whether it's a tourist hotspot like Rome or Venice or a small unknown village in Armenia, I love to submerge myself in the unfamiliar and learn about other cultures and their unique customs. When I found a group on EP called, 'I Love to Travel' I was hooked! People share their travel experiences and you get to learn about people and places from around the world. No passport required!"

Claribel Wang
Senior Engineer

Claribel graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelors degree in Computer Science. During her studies, she interned at several Bay Area startups as well as back home in beautiful Hawaii. Upon graduation, Claribel joined the Supply Chain Management team at SAP, Inc. in Palo Alto, working on projects including the flagship Advanced Planning and Optimization application, the Supply Network Collaboration platform, and the Auto-ID Infrastructure for RFID. And that was just before breakfast! More recently, Claribel was with the Custom Development group at SAP where she worked with large partners such as Amgen, Johnson & Johnson and Nike.

Claribel's connection to EP hails back to her undergraduate days where she first met Armen and Neil - little did she know the trouble these two would get her into in the years to come. Claribel has a tremendous passion for programming and improving people's lives through it. Outside of technology, Claribel enjoys sports - you name it, she's got the stats and can run the numbers for you.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love Chocolate
"I love chocolate. An important part of dealing with any problem is accepting it and admitting it to your friends. Don't believe me? You wouldn't be the first but life as a chocoholic is not easy. I have to work to keep control. I must keep the little sugar demon in check… but sometimes it gets the better of me, and when it does, all dark chocolate bars shudder in fear."

Rohan Bhobe
Revenue Product Manager

Rohan graduated from Stanford University as a Mayfield Fellow with Bachelors and Masters degrees in Electrical Engineering. So naturally, he spent 4 years in nanotechnology research, was partially responsible for the financial crisis while working a gig in finance, got a taste for high-tech startup life during a stint at Cooliris Inc, and tried to save the world by joining a solar cell startup. It all came together for Rohan when he joined the Experience Project, where he was able to fuse his passions for entrepreneurship, technology, great product design, and interesting people into a single job.

If not wrestling defiant code into submission, sleeping, or overeating, Rohan does his gosh darn best to design fantastic products. He tries to see the big picture, and pair that with a focus on pixel-level detail - hopefully resulting in a win for the Experience Project community. He's usually game to get in over his head in discussions on physics, philosophy, life, and how Michael Jordan's Bulls were the best basketball team of all time. Actually, that last one isn't up for discussion.

Experience Unplugged:
I Want to Work In a Coffee Shop
"I'm already pretty hyper, so working in a coffee shop seems natural. Fresh (and free) coffee all day, the scent of pastries and baked goodies, and a constant stream of new people all sound like pieces of a pretty awesome job. The only downside might be meeting really cranky people in the morning, but hey, I'd just hand 'em a fresh cup of brew. How could they not smile?"

Loren Yu
Product Manager

Loren is a Product Manager at Experience Project, where he works everyday to improve the way people connect on the website. He joined immediately after graduating from Stanford, where he received his bachelers degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and his masters degree in Computer Science with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction. Like Armen, he was also part of the Mayfield Fellows Program, an awesome program for those passionate about technology entrepreneurship.

Loren is crazy about experience design and the design process but also loves to code and build prototypes and mashups. He also spends much of his spare time drawing and painting, playing the guitar, and dancing. In fact, there are few things he doesn't enjoy. In high school he led a breakdancing club called Hop Hop Crew as well as the Chess Club. He loves cooking and eating, playing basketball and ping-pong, watching movies and playing video games. Give him a few more years and he'll have a few more hobbies up his sleeve.

Experience Unplugged:
I Love to Draw
"I draw all the time. I started drawing when I was three. I would draw on napkins while waiting at a restaurant for the food to come. I would have drawing contests with my dad during a long plane flight. I draw all over my notes during class and on the backs and margins of my exams when I finish. Drawing helps me destress and loosen up, but it also helps me to be creative at work. Most of all, drawing is fun!"

Stan Lin
Senior Engineer

Stan hails from the frigid lands of Long Island. He decided to migrate west in the hopes to spend a happy many years at Stanford. He graduated with a BS in Computer Science, and then continued his love affair with Stanford for a Masters in Management Science and Engineering.

Stan has worked at small, medium, and large size tech companies and has honed his development and project management skills. He as an eye for good software architecture, and has spent years developing mature, sustainable software and operating in lean and effective development teams, particularly with large scale projects.

In and out of work, his passion is people -- helping them, talking to them, laughing with them. It is the fuel that keeps his engine running. His life goals include befriending amazing people, backpacking in Asia for two years, and becoming a backup dancer for Justin Timerlake.

When you don't find him causing an uproar at a San Francisco bar, he is probably somewhere in the Bay Area wilderness. Stan is a two year veteran of Krav Maga, an Israeli combat system, is a certified emergency responder, and is currently taking wilderness survival courses so he can live in the forest if he ever gets tired of the internet.

Experience Unplugged:
I Listen to the Same Song Over and Over
"A good song that is like wine. Every sip evokes a different subtly in the flavor, and a nice glass of it can last you for hours. I have favorites that I cycle through over time, but the one thing that remains constant is that a good song will inspire and comfort me, and never ever gets too old to hear. My current favorite is Lynden David Hall's rendition of "All You Need Is Love." What a great song!"

Kate Sawyer
Design + UI Specialist

Kate Sawyer is one of those creative types. She joins the EP team with a rich past in brand development, advertising, web design, and packaging for clients in the food & beverage, retail, and e-commerce industries. She is a crusader for Good Design. It enriches our existence, changes perceptions, and expresses who we are and what we stand for.

She is also a true Californian. After earning a BFA in Art & Design at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, she moved to Seattle to explore the waterways and ignite her career. Though the summers in the Emerald City were absolute perfection, her move back to the Golden State was a "coming home." Kate is happiest in the sun, and enjoys gardening, secret swimming holes, picnics in the park, salty ocean breezes, and weekend drives with the windows down and the music up.

Experience Unplugged:
I Listen to And/Or Spin Vinyl Records
"There is something festive and charming about pulling out Neil Young's Harvest from its sleeve on a lazy Sunday morning with coffee in hand, or Aretha Franklin's Young, Gifted and Black while bantering with girlfriends around the dinner table. Records provide music with a magical aura that doesn't exist in its digital counterpart. I like you, Vinyl. You are lots of fun and your packaging can double as wall art. Double win."