I’m Leaving San Francisco to Design for Politics

Thousands of the worlds brightest minds are drawn into the orbit of Silicon Valley every year. Ivy League graduates, child prodigies, talented immigrants; it feels as though everyone is looking for something new, something exciting. The gravitational pull of a place like the Valley is hard to ignore even as a young designer or programmer living 3000 miles away.

It’s been almost 3 years since I left Hawaii and threw myself into the orbit of San Francisco, and a lot of incredible things have happened in that time. When I arrived in the city I didn’t really know what direction to go in or how to navigate the startup landscape. With the generous help and advice of people like Enrique Allen, Daniel Burka, & Joyce Kim, I’ve been able to shape a path for myself that works for me. As a result, I’ve become a stronger designer and ultimately a better person.

As a young black man thriving in an industry dominated by people that don’t look like me, it’s consistently my goal to tackle the tough problems that other people typically avoid. Whether it’s helping make the Earth cleaner at Sudokrew, making people smarter at Elevate, or making sense of finance at Plaid; I’ve always tried to stick to the soul of my mission. It’s a mission that embraces holistic design, considers humanity and ethics in its approach, and ultimately aims to make the unattractive areas of the world more appealing and approachable to others. Now I’m taking that mission and starting something new.

Whats next?

Along with a squad of brave thinkers, I’ve founded a company that aims to level the playing field for everyone in our country. Focusing on campaign finance, we’re building tools that give journalists and political professionals the power to follow how money moves in and out of politics.

Big data in government, agency compliance, corporate campaign contributions; these are all concepts that average people struggle to comprehend. When I look at the these issues, I see them as squares on a Rubik’s cube that hasn’t been solved yet. I’m looking forward to growing a team of smart focused individuals that are ready to remove the fog of war from our political system.

Today is my last day living in San Francisco. I’ll miss a lot of things and a lot of people, but I’ll be taking all of my experiences and relationships with me. We’re excited to play a role in creating a new era of transparency in an industry that’s been cloaked in secrecy for decades. — Not super excited about the snow. ☃

Catch you later San Francisco, see you soon Washington, D.C.

Happy Aloha Friday 🍍


We’re building the future, want to see what happens next?

I’m Jon, a black man, designing solutions to problems that shape modern culture and improve society. You can find me on Twitter @umiworkshop. / also at umi.io

We’ll be releasing more information on our company’s progress and official launch in the coming weeks.