A New Chapter: Focusing on all things "Regen" and "Hyperlocal"
July 2022 - Present
Building Civics Unplugged was a dream.
Beyond the joy of supporting so many young civic innovators explore their passions and skills, I am grateful for how much time it gave me to explore the roots of civilizational decline and fragility.
Given the growing number of existential risks facing Americans and all of humanity (especially water and food availability), my research has showed me that there may be nothing more important to humanity's long-term flourishing than investing in and building technologies that enable hyperlocal resilience, self-sustainability, and ecological regeneration.
How do we build villages of the future that are not only not extractive, they leave the environment around them better off?
How do we fund people and projects that generate and regenerate what matters?
How can communities prepare for the worst, and simultaneously plant seeds for a new Golden Age for humanity?
I am dedicating this newest chapter of my life to exploring questions like these, advising regenerative projects, and creating new impactful projects of my own.
If you'd like to compare notes and explore collaborating on topics related to hyperlocalism, regeneration, and more, feel free to DM me on LinkedIn or Twitter.
In May 2019, I broke Google's "Golden Handcuffs" because it became clear to me that if far more isn’t done to train a new generation of leaders committed to civic innovation, humanity will sink under the weight of its greatest challenges—including the climate crisis, skyrocketing inequality, and rising geopolitical tensions.
This is where Civics Unplugged came in. I co-founded CU to empower Gen Z civic innovators to direct their passions, creativity, and idealism toward building a better future.
I spent three years doing anything and everything to get CU off the ground—organizational design, branding and marketing, community building, mentoring, curriculum design and delivery, and fundraising support.
It was an incredibly rewarding experience. We gained partners and supporters like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Andrew Yang, Coinbase, Ethereum Foundation, and the Smithsonian, and trained close to 2,000 students across 70+ countries. And importantly, we achieved financial and operational sustainability.
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I was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 2021 List for my work on Civics Unplugged. You can see my profile here.
To learn more about why I left Google to co-found Civics Unplugged, watch this conversation I participated in with University of Toronto professor Jonathan Vervaeke in October 2020.
In January 2022, Civics Unplugged entered the world of web3 by launching the Dream DAO, which builds the web3 x social impact ecosystem and empowers Gen Zers to learn web3 and leverage its power to change the world. Learn more here. The reception from the web3 community blew our expectations out of the water.
Landing a job at Google was a dream come true. I more or less worked all of college to get to that point.
While I still suffer from imposter syndrome to this day, I quickly convinced others I deserved to be there and was given a lot of responsibility at a young age.
The team I had the privilege of helping lead was tasked with improving the user experience for Google Cloud users. We helped carry out the top-to-bottom redesign and implementation of Cloud Datastore's UI, and then led the front-end team of Google's Cloud SQL product. March 2017, we launched our PostgreSQL offering – which increased Cloud SQL's total addressable market by ~40%. April 2019, we launched our initial SQL Server offering - which is poised to increase Cloud SQL's total addressable market by ~$6B.
I wouldn’t trade my tenure at Google for anything. I was able to ship products that bettered the lives of millions of people around the world. But ultimately, I knew I couldn’t stay there long-term. Civics Unplugged was calling.
Obsessed with finding music that brings people joy, my friend Nik and I scoured the internet every day, collecting tracks from bedroom electronic music producers who we considered to be pioneers of a rare form of "musical medicine."
This "medicine" metaphor was very real to us, especially for me. Feel-good electronic music got me through depressive episodes in college. But as much as the music improved our moods, Nik and I quickly saw that we weren't the only beneficiaries of the emerging genre. As we shared the songs with our friends, we saw the music provided a similarly therapeutic effect for them.
Seeing the potential of this genre to make people's lives better, we set off on a mission to help as many people in the world as possible get a taste of what we had enjoyed for years. Out of this mission came Dancing Pineapple, which was the music blog and events company that Nik and I used to fill the huge "feel-good electronic music"-shaped hole in the world.
Over the four years that we worked together on Dancing Pineapple, we were able to promote, coach, and launch dozens of incredible artists from four continents. In one two-year stretch, we produced 24 concerts across NYC and LA. Some of these artists have since played at Coachella, EDC Vegas, and other music festivals. It blows me away just thinking about it.
Building Dancing Pineapple was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. While I parted ways with the company in 2019 to pursue Civics Unplugged full-time, I continue to have the privilege of channeling my passion for finding and developing up-and-comers who personify the power of the human spirit. The only difference is, instead of working with future electronic music stars, I support the young civic superheroes who have the optimism, creativity, and courage to build a brighter future for American democracy.
Duke presented unprecedented scale and diversity of opportunity. My four years of phenomenal professors across the disciplines pushed me to expand, challenge, and adjust my worldview.
My experience dancing with DefMo showed me the power of empathetic leadership and expanded my artistic comfort zone. My tenure throwing major, campus-wide events validated that quality stems from attention to detail. My junior fall semester abroad at London's UCL humbled me to explore my place in the world. My engagement in Duke's tech & innovation initiatives exercised my creative muscle, sparked my obsession with design, and strengthened my tolerance to adversity. My internships at Google, Flipboard, and Pocket helped me discover my love for building products that make people's lives better.
Duke showed me what I love to do, gifted me with a love for learning, and surrounded me with a wealth of inspiring peers.
I'm grateful for these three years away from home. IMSA was where I learned how to articulate my ideas (as head of the school newspaper), competed thrice in state championships (as tennis captain), fell in love with learning, facilitated service events for the local community, designed a leadership development program for underclassmen, and discovered a passion for the arts. And importantly, it was at IMSA where I felt like I could finally be my weird self.
The people in my life are everything to me. Here are a few communities in which I am most active:
Gitcoin is a platform and community consisting of members coordinating to build and fund public goods in web3 and beyond.
Dream DAO 👩🏽🚀
Dream DAO is a web3 community I launched that empowers Gen Z builders to leverage the power web3 to build a brighter future for humanity.
Friends with Benefits is a DAO consisting of leading web3 artists, operators, and thinkers bound together by a desire to push web3 forward.
A network of DAO builders created by David Ehrlichman who will support and work with one another to co-create the future of DAOs and web3.
1729 is a digital-first community devoted not just to explaining what a network state looks like, but to actually build the first one.
Future Foundation 💸
Future Foundation is a social impact collective that supports web3 x social impact organizations, causes, and the broader ecosystem.
The Institute for Cultural Evolution 🇺🇸
The purpose of the Institute for Cultural Evolution is to advance the evolution of American politics by highlighting the emerging developmental perspective on culture.
KERNEL (KB5) 🌰
Kernel is a peer-to-peer learning community dedicated to the journey towards a better understanding of truth: in our work, in our relationships with others, and in our inner worlds.