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Mapping Out Their Future on a Spreadsheet

Mapping Out Their Future on a Spreadsheet

Sachi Alita Takahashi-Rial and George Carl Gaetano Carollo sent out their online wedding invitations in March, which left some people amused, and others guessing.

It said: “You’re invited to the first Investor Offsite for pre-eminent investors worldwide. This exclusive event combines insights, innovation, vision, and, of course, cake.”

Questions then quickly rolled in, mostly to their parents, regarding the unconventional three-day celebration at Yin Ranch, a 40-acre event venue in Vacaville, Calif., from Nov. 3 to 5.

“Are you getting married or raising a venture capital fund?” asked one friend.

After all, Mr. Carollo, 34, is a founder and the chief operating officer of Dover, a job recruiting technology platform start-up. He graduated with distinction with two bachelor’s degrees, one in economics and another in urban studies, from Stanford, from which he also received a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering.

“Our sense of humor doesn’t translate all the way,” said Ms. Takahashi-Rial, 33, an associate director of partner services at Listen4Good, which assists nonprofit groups in getting feedback from their constituents.

She graduated with distinction with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley and received a master of public policy from Duke.

The two, together for 17 years, grew up in the same neighborhood in Sacramento, Calif., and got their start working on at least a dozen projects and studying together in high school. But it took them a while to get to that point.

They barely noticed each other in their sixth grade class at James R. Cowan Fundamental Elementary, and then she did her best to avoid him all through Arcade Fundamental Middle School.

“He was very uncool,” Ms. Takahashi-Rial said.

Her attitude changed once they ended up in a highly competitive international baccalaureate program at Mira Loma High School — she lived across the street; he three traffic lights away.

“It was an exceptionally nerdy place,” said Mr. Carollo, who also had a growth spurt the summer before, and even became popular. “It was like AP classes on steroids.”

They began hanging out with friends either at “the bench,” a gathering spot on campus, or on AOL Instant Messenger after school and on weekends.

At her house sophomore year, they and classmates built a 15-foot-long float with thousands of flowers out of crepe paper folded, fluffed, and wrapped around chicken wire for an annual homecoming float competition. It won first place.

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

On Apr. 4, 2006, after studying for a biology exam junior year at her house, they walked over to the school baseball diamond and sat in the bleachers. Neither was dating anyone, and they had recently become flirty.

“She made a move and kissed me,” he said.

Instead of going to the junior prom as friends, they went as boyfriend and girlfriend.

After graduation, they dated long distance, and spoke every day while he attended Stanford and she started out at the University of the Pacific, and then transferred to Berkeley two years later.

In 2015, after years of living together and apart, they moved into a big house with friends in the Cole Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. Two years later they all picked up and moved into another big house in the Duboce Triangle area.

“It was wonderful,” he said, recalling late-night conversations, Thursday night family-style dinners and house parties.

For five years, Ms. Takahashi-Rial and Mr. Carollo entertained friends and family with their annual EOY memos, their End of Year spoof on a Christmas letter, sounding all-important on trivial matters, until the pandemic hit, and they got more serious.

In 2021 they were ready to leave San Francisco, put all their furniture in storage and packed up their Mini Cooper. They then stopped in places including Los Angeles, Dallas and Knoxville. By spring they rendezvoused with friends in Brooklyn.

After a couple of months, in August 2021, they got an apartment near the Empire State Building, and racked up about 10 miles each weekend exploring the city by foot.

To decorate, “we bought cheap stuff off Amazon,” she said, and usually put two Ikea desks together for dinner parties.

In May 2022, when they decided to get a real dining room table, questions sprang up about their future. So they began mapping it out on a Google spreadsheet, labeled “Life Planning,” on Mr. Carollo’s laptop, and made a timeline on another tab. (They have 10 tabs now.)

“Would we move back to Bay Area, do we want kids in New York, and should we get married?” she said. “There wasn’t a proposal. There was just a decision. We just project managed ourselves.”

On July 28, George T. Carollo, a Universal Life minister, who is the groom’s father, officiated outside the Sacramento courthouse, and without a fuss signed their marriage certificate before two witnesses, the groom’s sister and her husband, in a parking area.

Afterward, they drove over to Frank Fat’s, a local Chinese restaurant, to celebrate with family, and enjoyed its signature banana cream pie for dessert.

In November, they expect about 130 guests to join them during their three-day “investor offsite,” which will include activity-themed breakout groups ranging from basketball games to cake-decorating, as well as dinner and toasts.

“We’re excited to have a good party with the people who invested in us,” she said.

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