28 February 2024

Silicon Valley Goes Hollywood

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 Source: Bloomberg Businessweek| Date: April 10, 2013 

Max Nanis’s website features approximately two dozen head shots of a 22-year old Southern Californian with his shirt off.   At the top of his page is a personal contact number and link to his professional representation.  While this looks like a resume for an actor, Nanis’s background is in computational biology.  Nanis is a coder and part of a generation of “programming hotshots” that see themselves as Hollywood talent instead of the techno bit-jockey.  

Nanis and his agency, 10X Management, are working to find him the best freelance programming gigs. 10X Management was launched about a year ago as an agency dedicated to software developers and now represents more than 30 people. The agency takes a 15 percent cut of its clients’ earnings from each assignment and in exchange for the fee promises to help guide a programmer’s career development, negotiate with employers for better compensation, and handle the mountain of associated paperwork. “We deal with the necessary evils of being a freelance coder so they don’t have to,” says Altay Guvench, one of the management firm’s founders.  

After graduating from Harvard in 2003, Guvench went to Silicon Valley and started a user-generated trivia website. When the site fizzled out a couple years later—“It was a side project that got out of hand,” he says—Guvench became a freelance coder. The flexible lifestyle left him with time to pursue his other love, music. While he was hopping in and out of bands, Guvench ran into Rishon Blumberg and Michael Solomon, a pair of musician managers best known for guiding John Mayer from playing bars to packing stadiums. “Their job is to do the business bulls- - - for these artists,” says Guvench. “So, in this weird experiment, I hired them to act as my agent for freelance programming.”  


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