Moving On13 June 2016

June 17 will be my last day as CTO at Public Good. I am moving on after three years and joining the team at Ad Hoc.

I am proud of what I have accomplished with the team at Public Good. Over three years we have built a powerful platform that has processed more than a million and a half dollars of donations for hundreds of nonprofits in the United States. We’ve helped thousands of people find the organizations and causes that they care about. We built online fundraising software that’s faster, easier, and cheaper to use than any competitor in the market. We built an innovative tool to connect folks that read the news to the organizations and causes related to what they just read. From a pure technology standpoint, we’ve made tens of thousands code commits and nearly two thousand releases.

We have built quite a bit, all that on a team that has rarely exceeded 10 people total, and only 4 full-time engineers. Personally, I have learned a great deal about building technology and teams, and all of the ups and downs involved in the rollercoaster that is a venture-backed product-first technology startup.

I joined Public Good on September 3, 2013. Since then, the company has gone through three major product pivots: the original vision for a data integration platform as a service, inspired by the work Dan, Jason, Paul, Aaron, and I (the original PGS team) were involved with on the Obama 2012 reelection campaign; then a two-sided marketplace joining nonprofits with new donors; and now a focus on linking news readers to organizations and causes related to stories that inspire them to act.

Through each stage of product evolution, I have been challenged to learn and adapt to the needs of the people using our systems. As a result of working with our most recent partners, large media organizations, I’ve learned that I don’t have the desire or passion to build the products they want. I've also spent time reconsidering how much risk I am comfortable with, and realized that I no longer want to be part of an early-stage startup. I have decided to move on as a result.

I am excited to join Ad Hoc for two reasons. First, they employ a number of people I admire and have had the pleasure of working with before, namely Paul Smith and Daniel X. O’Neil. Paul hired me at Public Good, back in 2013, and Dan hired me for a 9 month spell at Smart Chicago where I helped him build the beginnings of the CUT Group, ChicagoWorksForYou.com, and a bunch of other civic-minded projects. Second, I am impressed with Ad Hoc’s meat and potatoes approach to building software that solves problems. Reading their case studies and coverage in the press, I am struck by their simple, direct approach to solving real problems that affect real people. The size and scope of the problems they're trying to solve, like making it easier to get health care and simplifying the process for getting veterans' benefits, is impressive (and more than a little intimidating). I believe that, as part of the Ad Hoc team, I will be able to effect real change and have positive impact on peoples' lives.

I am grateful for the opportunity I had at Public Good, and sincerely believe that the team will be successful. The folks that remain are smart and more than capable of building a fantastic product. I remain a cheerleader and ardent supporter.

Want to talk about this a bit more? Send a tweet to @cgansen or email me at cgansen@gmail.com.