If any would-be tech titans are taking notes, apparently the new relationship model goes IPO first, then marriage. Press-shy Facebook cofounder and engineer Andrew McCollum didn’t take the leap quite as quickly as his Harvard buddy Mark Zuckerberg, who married long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan the day after going public. Literally. But Mr. McCollum’s ceremony was ensconced in enough geekery to make any startup-type swoon.
Over the weekend, Mr. McCollum married Gretchen Sisson, a sociology Ph.D. who works at the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. The ceremony was held at boutique Chanler Hotel, which boasts “the best ocean view” in Newport, Rhode Island. The playful tone of the event began with the wedding program (retweeted by Ms. Sisson) where the couple described the festivities using the markup language XML and then used CoffeeScript to list the bridal party. As if that wasn’t enough nerding out, Quora engineer Kevin Der–who designed the Steve Jobs crossword puzzle tribute in The New York Times–also designed a crossword for the wedding program.
Perhaps to balance out the unabashed dorkiness, there were also a couple mainstream pop-culture references. The officiant started out the wedding with the “Wuv, twu wuv” quote from The Princess Bride, cracking up the guests. After the wedding was over, the bride and groom walked off to the Indiana Jones theme song. But the ceremony wasn’t without a somber note. In lieu of Corinthians, the couple had a reading from Goodridge vs. Department of Public Health, the landmark case that gave same-sex couples the right to marry in Massachusetts. Mr. McCollum and Ms. Sisson also eschewed gifts in favor of donations to non-profits. “Your options are abortion, gay marriage, and teen parents. If you’re a Republican, we have a registry on Amazon.com,” the couple wrote on their wedding website.
“Zero Facebook mention in the ceremony,” one guest told Betabeat. “Wouldn’t even have known.” Well maybe, except for the guest list.
Mark Zuckerberg was listed as one of the groomsmen in the program, but had a good excuse for not showing up as he’s on his honeymoon in Italy. However, we hear fellow Facebookers, including former CTO Adam D’Angelo and cofounder Chris Hughes were there, as was Patrick Chung, a partner with New Enterprise Associates. (Mr. McCollum is an entrepreneur-in-residence at NEA.) Sad news for the social-climbing single ladies, though, Matt Cohler, New York Times tech bachelor no. 5, wasn’t there to catch to bouquet.
In addition to his role at NEA, Mr. Collum is currently a partner at Fresh Pond Partners out of Boston and an entrepreneur-in-residence at Flybridge Capital.
Unlike Chris Hughes, one of Facebook’s more visible cofounders, Mr. McCollum dropped out of school to help Zuck pursue his vision–later returning to finish his undergraduate degree and get a Masters in education. He and Zuck grew close their sophomore year when they were partners in CS161: Operating Systems, considered one of the hardest computer science classes at Harvard.
In Aaron Sorkin’s version of events, that was the class that Mr. Zuckerberg stormed out of before having his Good Will Hunting moment where he answered the question no one else could. According to David Kirkpatrick’s book “The Facebook Effect,” Mr. McCollum is the one responsible for building the zip-line into pool at the Palo Alto house. He also showed up in pajama bottoms alongside Zuck for that infamous Sand Hill Road meeting.
As Mr. McCollum wrote on Quora (arguably the biggest startup to emerge from the Facebook mafia), Mr. Zuckerberg approached him to work on the first version of Facebook by instant messenger. “He IMed me to show me the site and to ask me to do the graphic design for the original logo and icons.” The mystery character in the social network’s first logo was later revealed to be Peter Wolf, the lead singer of the J. Geils band. The geekiness is strong in that one.