April 20, 2016
Feel the Bern
I recently jumped at the chance to work on a dating app for supporters of Bernie Sanders. The Bernie App features a website made by yours truly with a Web Developer credit and - so far - good feedback.
Since the target user is a young, tech savvy progressive likely already familiar with similar dating app constructs, we did not want to waste anyone's time with demos or instruction manuals. The app is designed to be simple enough to use without too much work, without layers of buried menus. We wanted a straightforward web design using parallax, highlighting the crowds and popular support for the Sanders campaign. In terms of content, we wanted to strike a playful tone that would appeal to a progressive audience that nevertheless takes the politics of Bernie seriously. He has a positive message that we wanted to echo in our tone. We wanted to get in front of a roadblock of the popular conception of the 'Bernie Bro' - that Sanders supporters are mostly young, white males - which we could easily disprove with some quotes from a variety of reputable news sources.
Inspiration for the Bernie Site
Here are some of the sites that got the creative juices flowing.
- Periscope homepage.
- Laser NYC page made me want to learn about parallax effects.
- PorscheEvolution is an award winner and deserves all the accolades it receives. Such a fun, creative site, helped in no small part by the music.
I didn't want to talk about politics on my very career-centric blog. Helping with a Bernie Sanders labor of love app doesn't exactly position me as a centrist. I thought quite a bit about whether this project would mark me in some way but decided that if someone was going to not hire me because of my political leanings, then it is pretty likely I would be miserable working for them.
I worked at a hedge fund for a while in New York and majored in Economics, so am pretty comfortable with capitalism and recognize its uniquely transformative power. I also found that, between college and the work I have had rubbing elbows with hedge fund clients, CEOs and entrepreneurs, many people at the top of the economic dog pile are libertarian by experience, with little faith in government. I dealt with the government on a limited basis as owner of a technology service company with local government clients and was not inspired by their flexibility or nimbleness. I also found the RFP-centered bidding process to be completely corrupt and subject to any number of under the table bribes and kickbacks that kept honest bidders out in the cold.
Devs of the World Wide Web Unite!
So where does this place me with Bernie? I think the social justice issues facing the U.S. are the most important ones to tackle. I think we've been obsessed with security as a country since 9/11 and have kicked the can down the road on education and infrastructure. College is nearly unaffordable for many and yet is the best solution to income inequality and upward mobility. And I think the anti-science social conservatism of the evangelical side of the GOP is a huge problem in a world where science and technology drive innovation, and technological success drives economic outcomes.
I am also doing work for a climate change startup Climate Cents so it hurts my heart to see serious people with elite college educations like Ted Cruz deny that man-made climate change even exists. I strain to imagine how you can see the mountains of publicly available data and deny the link between fossil fuels and global temperature increase, or think that climate scientists could conceivably be driving a world wide liberal conspiracy in which fossil fuel extraction companies are the victims of slander, the target of a global smear campaign of misinformation.
So there you have it. My heart's with Bernie. And if it's Hillary, I vote for her too, with a little less hope that some of the issues I care about will be addressed, but with the knowledge that at least the Taliban wing of the GOP is not running the show.