Geek of the Week: Joseph Sunga of TeachStreet, WeHeartMMA, Crowdsort.me

 

Joseph Sunga, out of costume. (Photo by Annie Laurie Malarkey)

Our latest Geek of the Week, Joseph Sunga, is one of those crazy people who gave up a rare sunny weekend in Seattle a few days ago to participate in Startup Weekend — so right there you know he’s a geek, through and through.

But that’s just the start. In his spare time, the business development specialist at Seattle’s TeachStreet publishes a blog about mixed martial arts and dreams up some fantastically nerdy Halloween costumes, as you’ll see below as part of his responses to our questionnaire.

Name: Joseph Sunga

Site: Joseph Sunga / WeHeartMMA / TeachStreet / Crowdsort.me; Twitter: @joesunga

Job, hobby and/or other geeky pursuit: I’m currently working at TeachStreet.com, where we help connect folks who want to learn something new with the people who teach it. I’m also a mixed martial arts fanatic, so I run a blog called WeHeartMMA. Also, this past weekend I did a project at Startup Weekend called Crowdsort.me where we help site owners engage their community — think Cubeduel/Facemash, but for anything.

Coolest thing about what you do: I really love working within communities and helping them, whether it be helping teachers get more students or even connecting MMA fans with people working in the MMA industry through the blog. It’s all about those connections a reality.

What does it mean to you to be a geek? Being maniacally obsessed with something makes you a geek. Everyone is a geek at heart about something. I know I’m totally geeky about mixed martial arts, comic books, Seattle sports and sci-fi shows.

Geekiest thing you’ve accomplished, built or worn (photos encouraged): Every year, I spend a good amount of time creating my own halloween costumes in hopes to get better and better to prepare for Comic-Con in San Diego. Here’s a couple of examples — Super Mario, Kung Fu Panda, Yoda, Dig Dug.

Your best geek tip or trick for managing everyday work and life: Synching up your bank accounts and bills to automatically pay for everything. Life is easier when you don’t have to deal with all that nonsense. :)

Mac, Windows or Linux? I’m a Mac through and through.

Kirk, Picard, Janeway or Sisko? Picard all the way. I literally got all giddy when I saw him on Fringe.

Transporter, Time Machine or Cloak of Invisibility? Time Machine for Back to the Future reasons. I’d love to pull a Biff and do some betting at the sports book.

If someone gave me $1 million to launch a startup, I would … start a startup where sports and technology merge. I’m such a nerd for sports statistics — I used to play fantasy basketball with my brother and cousins on newspapers back in middle school. Yes, newspapers. We would draft NBA players for our teams and go to the library the each day to tally up the points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. I loved me some graph paper back then.

I once waited in line for … Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration. I remember my friend and I leaving her apartment at 4am in the morning to catch train going to the mall. We got there around 5:30am, and literally stood out there in the freezing cold until the opened the gates at 8am. It was all worth it once the inauguration started, one of the best experiences in my life. Good times.

Your geek role models: Adam Savage of Myth Busters. This guy is awesome. I love the way he’s a guy that just gets things done. If he’s curious about something, nothing stops him from investigating and getting a conclusion. I always say, “Make moves, son!” as a mantra for myself which kind of implies to always keep moving and just get things done. And I love how he’s all about that — plus, he makes some amazing stuff.

Greatest Game In History: Golden Eye on Nintendo 64.

Best Gadget Ever: I’m really liking my iPad 2. It’s opened me up back to drawing and so happy for that.

First computer: Hewlett Packard (1993). I constantly used Encarta and played a ton of SkiFree.

Current phone: iPhone 3G.

Favorite app: I’m liking my Sketchbook Pro on my iPad 2 for drawing. Those iPad 2′s are magical.

Favorite hangout: Cafe Vita on Capitol Hill.

Favorite cause: UW Young Executives of Color (YEOC). It’s a program at the University of Washington where high school students of color come to a series of business exploration workshops on campus to learn from BEDC Fellows — business students of color. I used to be a BEDC Fellow, and I still continue to look to be involved in some way.

Most important technology of 2011: There’s a lot happening in mobile, whether it’s new exciting applications being built to the devices they’re being built on. A ton of opportunity there, and I’m excited to see what’s next.

Most important technology of 2015: I’m excited to see what’s going on with data. I think we’re only experiencing the tip of the iceberg. With all of these apps gathering data from users everywhere (i.e. mobile, web, etc.), there’s definitely a ton of things people can do with that big data.

Words of advice for your fellow geeks: Just be yourself and follow what you’re passionate about. Embrace your inner geek.

Geek of the Week is a regular feature profiling the characters of the Pacific Northwest technology community. See the Geek of the Week archive for more.

Do you or someone you know deserve this distinguished honor? Email us at tips@geekwire.com.

[Geek of the Week photography by Annie Laurie Malarkey, annielaurie@geekwire.com]

  • http://blog.sentientmonkey.com Scott Windsor

    Congrats, Joe!

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Mucho thanks, Scott. :)

  • http://www.nosnivelling.com daveschappell

    So proud of @JoeSunga — he’s been such a positive force at TeachStreet. His ideas have generated much of our revenue growth over the last 18 months, and his personality makes the office so much more fun. I still remember the day we ‘interviewed’ at Motore, and within a minute I was on the phone to Katie saying, “you need to get up here to talk with this guy — he’s awesome!”

    Also, love love love the http://www.crowdsort.me launch – thought Joe’s pitch was fantastic — can’t wait to see the companies he’ll one day found, and lead.

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      I really don’t know how to respond to this Dave. Thanks you so much for the kind comments. I’ll refrain from gushing here on GeekWire, but I got to admit it continues to be an amazing ride here at TeachStreet and learning/working with a great group of people isn’t bad either. :)

  • http://twitter.com/KenjiCrosland Kenji Crosland

    Congrats!

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Thanks a lot Kenji.

  • http://twitter.com/JoWii7 Joey Aquino

    How do you say “geek” in tagalog?! PINOY PRIDE. Congrats!

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Haha, Pinoy Pride indeed. Can’t wait for the Manny Pacquiao fight this weekend. Suns out. This is turning out to be a great week. :)

      • http://twitter.com/JoWii7 Joey Aquino

        forget pacquiao for president, SUNGA FOR THE WIN!

        • http://joesunga.com joesunga

          Now, let’s not get carried away.

  • http://twitter.com/evanjacobs Evan Jacobs

    Way to go, Joe! Golden Eye on N64 is one of my favorite games too.

  • http://twitter.com/evanjacobs Evan Jacobs

    Way to go, Joe! Golden Eye on N64 is one of my favorite games too.

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Thanks Evan. I was always either Valentin or Boris. Loved that game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.harding2 Bill Harding

    Count me in on your sports+technology+data startup! Those happen to be three of my favorite things also. Now please tell me that you share my disdain for basketball analysts who gush about how “clutch” Kobe is with his whopping .250 FG% near the end of games.

    http://www.82games.com/gamewinningshots.htm

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Yeah, I do share you disdain for Kobe period. As a Sonics fan, I was brought up to hate the Lakers — haha. Although, sometimes these “analysts” have short memories and they may just consider clutch the last shot rather than the overall performance during the end of games. Kobe has definitely had his share of game winning shots, but I see where you’re coming from.

  • http://www.norwichretrogaming.co.uk/ Norwich Retro Gaming

    This guy looks exactly the same over 5 years!

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Thanks a lot. I’ll have to credit that to the Filipino genes. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jason.tan.man Jason Tan

    GO GO GO JOE JOE!

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Haha, thanks dude.

  • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

    Don’t tell Dave, but you are the man ;)

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      That means a lot coming from you Kirsten. Thank you. :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/katie.gruver Katie Gruver

    Hoorah Joseph! A well deserved honor. ;) I think your “words of advice to geeks” needed to include wearing a stellar hat. :)

    • http://joesunga.com joesunga

      Thanks a lot Katie, coming from you that means a lot.

      Also, I love this hat. It’s funny, my dad gave me a similar hat several years ago because he said it’ll suit my style. Whatever he meant, he knew what he was talking about — loved it. Anyways, I had hat for a couple years and then I lost it one night. I literally tried to find it since (1) it was awesome and (2) it was from my dad. Sadly, couldn’t find it — but found an amazing replacement.

      Long story, but I couldn’t stop typing. :)