Why I’ve been missing for almost a year
In November 2016 some friends of mine were devastated by the Trump and Clinton presidential election. No one had expected Trump to win, and the day after the election Josh Bouy and Jordan Birnholtz got together for breakfast in order to think about what they could do to impact future elections. At that breakfast Jordan realized that he knew someone who was also passionate about the recent election. They contacted Michael Luciani who had been an organizer in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Michael had some great ideas on how technology could be used to help bridge the gap between campaigns and volunteers, but the team had no idea how they would execute this idea. So they reached out Michael’s good friend Shola Farber. Shola had also worked on the Clinton campaign and she knew how to keep things organized. What the team needed now was a way to actually create the technology. For better or for worse, Shola flew to NYC with Michael in tow and they reached out to me. That’s when our team really began in ernest. I spent the evenings and weekends of the next few months building a prototype of the software. It was interesting, fun, and exciting to be working on something that I really cared about. Building technology that would help people engage in the democratic process invigorated me in a way that my previous jobs hadn’t. I love technology and for me often the best part of a job is trying to work with new technology or to manipulate technology in a novel way. The first couple of months were extremely hard. I worked every weekend and every evening often to the point of exhaustion and until I couldn’t work any more. It wasn’t a healthy or sustainable pace, but it was the what I had to do to get things started. Our first test was a very lo-fi experiment in Chicago for the 4th Ward. It went well and we believed that continuing our proof of concept made sense. At this point we got a few paid interns from UChicago and UofM. We were very fortunate to have these two incredibly talented budding software engineers Steven Schmatz and Abi Hunter. We began to build our first product the Team App and the Team Dashboard. It was rocky and we did it in a truly minimum viable product style. We had only interns, almost no budget, and myself who could work only on nights and weekends. We built only what was absolutely necessary for our first client and started to iterate on their feedback. At the same time the Tuesday Company applied to be a part of the Higher Ground Labs accelerator program. It was at this point that we could see things really starting to take off. It has been nothing but a whirlwind since.