When people ask me how the heck I got here, I tell them this:
I was a computer nerd in middle school. Like, really nerdy. I coded my own Star Trek games in QBasic. Qapla!
I got cool in high school, meaning I joined the yearbook club and the improv troupe. I liked the yearbook — especially doing layout and design. (I didn't stick with improv.)
In college, I found my home at the student newspaper. After reading Richard Ben Cramer's What It Takes, I decided I wanted to write literature journalism. My editors rolled their eyes and told me to stop writing first-person narratives about student council.
Then came my first job at The (Allentown) Morning Call. One of my jobs was to drive around to local courthouses and leaf through paperwork, looking for interesting crimes. Pretty inefficient (and taxing on my Honda Fit).
But! these same filings lived on the internet as PDF, and each had a predictable URL. So I built a web scraper that grabbed them, every day, en masse. My bosses thought I was a genius. I was just happy to save gas.
Moved to Pittsburgh, met the woman of my dreams. First time I saw her, she was half asleep over a beer at the bar, because she had just spent the day covering the mystery of a stolen baby. But that's a whole different story...
Meanwhile, I made mixing coding with journalism my full-time job.
Moved to DC. Wrote and coded about politics at The Atlantic, and promptly got burnt out after 2016. So I decided to see what this whole "product" thing was about... and spent two years helping The Atlantic build a membership tier, prototype smart-speaker products and launch a new iOS app.
Well, I missed the newsroom. Could I could do storytelling and product at the same time. Turns out I could — by leading POLITICO's Interactive News Team!
In short, I'm a curious person who's walked a wandering path. The guiding line? I love creating stuff. As long as I'm getting my hands dirty with code, design, or a good story — I'm happy.