Tech entrepreneur, product leader, and builder of more beautiful futures.
Specialties include fintech, customer engagement & climate activism. And hip hop, apparently.
This part is still loading. It's glorious, just stay right here for a couple seconds...

The theme of my career so far is building...

...tools for PEOPLE
...to create financial DATA
...that changes INCENTIVES
...sparking BUSINESS ACTION
...to address the CLIMATE EMERGENCY
...so that we can all continue to ENJOY LIFE

The planetary emergency we're in is not an "issue." It is an era that we are now living in, and will be for the rest of our lives. It is a lens through which we all must learn to view everything, including the way we choose to live our lives and what we choose to work on.

This requires cultivating curiosity about the ways that very complex systems interact with each other. I've learned that I am somewhat unique in my tendency to look at fintech, predictive analytics, and the data infrastructure underneath capitalism, and see the ways they connect to social change or collective climate action.

For example, I have co-founded 3 companies that all give people a way to express their values by creating meaning around their payment experience, while also providing valuable data to businesses. Why the consistent theme?

Well, I only got involved with fintech because years ago I realized that it was simply a lack of fintech tools that was preventing me from achieving my social impact goals. It's actually a pretty interesting story...

The planetary emergency we're in is not an "issue." It is an era that we are now living in, and will be for the rest of our lives. It is a lens through which we all must learn to view everything, including the way we choose to live our lives and what we choose to work on.

This requires cultivating curiosity about the ways that very complex systems interact with each other. I've learned that I am somewhat unique in my tendency to look at fintech, predictive analytics, and the data infrastructure underneath capitalism, and see the ways they connect to social change or collective climate action.

For example, I have co-founded 3 companies that all give people a way to express their values by creating meaning around their payment experience, while also providing valuable data to businesses. Why the consistent theme?

Well, I only got involved with fintech because years ago I realized that it was simply a lack of fintech tools that was preventing me from achieving my social impact goals. It's actually a pretty interesting story...

CARROTMOB

After growing up in the Bay Area and graduating from Stanford, I invented a new type of consumer advocacy which is essentially the opposite of a boycott: In a Carrotmob campaign, a business agrees to take an action, and in return people spend money at the business to reward them and make it profitable.

I believed that in order to solve the world's most important problems, people needed a better way to influence businesses to change their practices. I ran the first ever Carrotmob campaign in San Francisco, and after that video went viral, I started leading a social movement of community organizers around the world....

SINGAPORE
HONOLULU, HI
FRANKFURT, GERMANY
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
MEXICO CITY
SASKATOON, SK, CANADA
MINNEAPOLIS, MN
ANTWERP, BELGIUM
DURANGO, CO
MUNICH, GERMANY
BANGKOK, THAILAND
MANCHESTER, NH
RENNES, FRANCE
PORTLAND, OR
EMERYVILLE, CA
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
CHICAGO, IL
SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
VICTORIA, BC, CANADA
BROOKLYN, NY
WINNIPEG, MB, CANADA
BERLIN, GERMANY
SAN FRANCISCO, CA
ANTARCTICA

In support of this movement I started two venture-backed companies and built technology products that allowed people to participate in Carrotmob campaigns as they made payments (both online and offline) to businesses. People and businesses both absolutely loved being a part of the Carrotmob movement.

“The Carrotmob philosophy has extended across America — and the world”
"Carrotmob is now aiming to use consumers' buying power to shape global supply chains."
"Civically-minded, tech savvy organization that understands the power of data."
“Carrotmobs Are Cooler than Boycotts”
“I like Carrotmob because it’s all too easy to protest about what you don’t like, but so much more productive to vote with your money for positive change.”
CEO Paul Polman (one of our customers)

Despite all the success, our unit economics were poor, and we never found a viable, scalable business model. We even tried making Carrotmob a non-profit, but it turns out that's illegal. So we decided to try something new....

THE SPRING
"The Spring lets you save the world without doing anything... Just eat at great restaurants like you normally would and you make a positive impact in your community."
Josh Constine
Editor-At-Large

I led another startup called The Spring. This was an app where you could connect your payment card, go spend money at participating restaurants, and the restaurants would donate to projects that benefitted your local community. You also earned cash back. It was a slam dunk good deal for our users.

We partnered with First Data to integrate our app with merchant banks, for a seamless restaurant experience. Great restaurants (such as Dosa, Gracias Madre, and American Grilled Cheese Kitchen) signed up to gain new customers and support good causes. I eventually came to believe that restaurant margins were too thin for the business to work long-term, and we shut down.

MONEYVOICE

By this point I had become a global expert on the nearly universal human desire people have to "vote with their money." People want their purchases to be an expression of their identity, their values, and their power. They want to feel heard. They want to have an impact. They want to feel like their purchase decisions really matter. Nevertheless, I saw that there was no product which delivered this sort of experience that people yearned for. So I started MoneyVoice.

As CEO, I led product development for both our consumer app and our enterprise SaaS product for businesses.

"I'm very interested in having access to MoneyVoice data. I currently use Datarank, IRI, Nielsen and Mintel but I'd sign up for MoneyVoice even at relatively low volume if it gave me access to qualitative feedback as well."
Global Insights Manager
"It's research, but it doesn't FEEL like research. What I like about how you've designed this is that it's fun, super intuitive and easy, and it feels like you're making a difference."
Chief Marketing Officer
"Our market research department currently relies on automated phone call surveys. I think MoneyVoice would be a superior solution and I'd expect rough pricing of around $100,000/year."
Competitive Intelligence
"I'm excited because I believe this will fill in the gap that social media misses. I'm hungry for feedback from normal people who aren't on an emotional extreme. I could see Lyft promoting MoneyVoice in our own email or social channels in order to get more feedback."
Senior Social Media Manager
"I love the prospect of getting feedback from the otherwise silent majority. I also love that this feedback still has the humanity and insight of qualitative feedback, but it is quantified in such a way that it's easy for me to analyze it."
Reputation Manager
"I take feedback very seriously, and I like that MoneyVoice can also tell me how much has been spent. Understanding the LTV of each customer helps me decide how to respond."
Store Manager
"Part of my job is looking for quantifiable insights based on the social media chatter I see. Today, I manually compile insights from social media in a spreadsheet. I love that MoneyVoice can automatically do this for me!"
Senior Social Media Strategist
"I'd be interested in promoting MoneyVoice on receipts. I'd also create my own feedback to see what customers vote for."
Customer Service Manager

I raised almost $500k, built a full-time team of 8, and launched our consumer app. Our 700 early users loved it, but it had no practical purpose prior to the launch of our product for businesses. While fundraising so we could launch our business product, I failed to convince investors that our consumer growth plan would work, so we never got to fully launch, despite the high level of interest on both the consumer and B2B sides. I'm grateful to the team who joined me in this quest to redesign the incentive structure of capitalism by putting a voting layer on top of global commerce.

The Paris-based members of the MoneyVoice team

As you can see, in my work creating meaning around the payment flow I ended up doing a lot of fintech product management. The theme is: Building tools to create financial data that changes incentives, sparking business action to address the climate emergency. Meanwhile, I have also worked on climate in other ways which have nothing to do with fintech...

CLIMATE SOLUTIONS

In 2008, I co-founded my first company, Virgance, which was an incubator for various social good and climate-related startups.

I later led product development at California Clean Power. We built a full-service back-end provider for cities interested in launching clean energy programs. The product included a custom-built CRM, telephony software, and support for data transfer with utilities. The company was acquired by Pilot Power Group.

Our biggest success was building One Block Off The Grid, a nationwide solar energy program. We soon pivoted our company to focus exclusively on helping get solar panels installed on as many houses as possible.

We raised $5M in investment, put solar on thousands of roofs, and the company was acquired, eventually becoming the foundation of NRG's residential solar division.

I worked for VERGE, producing invite-only VIP summits focused on grid resilience, commercial zero-emission vehicles, and food waste. I'm not allowed to tell you everyone who was in the room, but just picture the world's most important companies and government officials for each topic and you'll have a good idea.

At the UN climate meetings in Paris I volunteered to help build a coalition supporting Project Drawdown, and I have been active as an advocate for climate action in a variety of ways for well over a decade. For more of my perspectives on climate you can read my 2015 essay.

Nice career. Nice social impact. But are you even fun?
RHYME COMBINATOR

Three friends and I did freestyle hip hop for years, and then wrote a theatrical hip hop musical about startups. We did our first sold-out performance in 2016, followed by performances at Silicon Valley Fashion Week, 500 Startups Demo Day, and more. We raised $27k on Kickstarter to improve our show, and in June 2018 did a 3 night theatrical run in which we performed along with an expanded cast of collaborators and leading figures in Bay Area hip hop culture.

"The Arrival" was the first song we released publicly (which I wrote most of). Right now we've got our heads down as we update the script in collaboration with a well-known theater producers, writers with Broadway experience, and cutting edge artists and set designers. The next iteration of the show will be called "Co-founders." Follow along here!

There's more. Reid Hoffman hired us to produce a viral video about Bitcoin, and a year later he worked with us to produce a series of strategic anti-Trump rap cartoons targeted aimed at influencing moderate Republicans. In summer 2020 the NY Times called Rhyme Combinator "a viral media company that promotes artistic and progressive causes."

COMMUNITY

In 2015 I co-founded a co-living community in a 13-bedroom mansion in Oakland. We look a bit like this:

Our home has been featured in the LA Times, SF Chronicle, The Guardian, NBC News, Wired, and Marketplace (NPR). Being there usually feels a bit like this. This lovely video was filmed on location:

Speaking of bringing people together in community, I also founded a men's group that has been active since 2015. I enjoy throwing elaborate parties, such as this pop-up mini golf party and this blanket fort party. And I've been involved with 3 Burning Man camps, including being on the leadership team of IDEATE.

In summary:
I start businesses,
creative projects,
and movements
with heart.