Thursday, August 22, 2013

To The Audrey Watters Haters

I've had the joy of watching a lot of you bash on my girlfriend, from the misogynistic douche bags telling her to get back in the kitchen because she questions their technology startup, to the recent @FakeAudreyWatters Twitter account spending a good portion of their day mocking her.

Audrey and I are very different personalities when it comes to expressing ourselves in an online environment, but we share one common thing--a passion for helping encourage meaningful dialogue about where we are going with this whole technology roller coaster.

Audrey is extremely passionate about education and where we are going with the education of our kids, and how we are applying technology in the classroom. If she is critical of your startup, idea or otherwise, you may not like it, but there might actually be a reason behind it--why don't you engage her in dialogue about it?

She spends at least 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, researching, writing and stressing over her work(unpaid). I spend every moment with her and I see how much thought she puts into all of this. She is a very positive person, and extremely intellectually stimulating to be around, which is why I'm with her. Together, as a team we have achieved some amazing things in the last three years.

I strongly believe Audrey and I have positively impacted the online world by helping folks think critically about education, and across numerous other industries through analysis of APis. I depend on Audrey to bounce ideas off, ranging from oAuth to API terms of use. API Evangelist would not exist without her.

When I was first with Audrey she often frustrated me with her confrontational approach, but over the course of four years, I have found it to be essential to what I do. She battles me on ideas, sometimes to the point where we both stomp off, but in every case, I've been able to apply her critical feedback and make my work more polished as a result.

What I hope is, that you can learn to do the same. If she says something that bothers you, have a dialogue with her and either change her mind, or I bet she'll change yours. If you don't like what she is saying, come to DC and sit with us and talk it out over a couple pints or bottle of wine.

If not, I think secretly you have more problems than just Audrey. You are probably insecure, greedy, sad sack o shit like the creator @FakeAudreyWatters. Someone who could be spending their time actually contributing to the education space, but they are actually working hard to suck value from their space, just like the company you work at. Something that is just unacceptable, c'mon these are our kids asshole, get a fuck'n life.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

My First Day in Washington DC As Presidential Innovation Fellow

Tomorrow, will be my first official day in Washington D.C. as a Presidential Innovation Fellow. I'm super excited, yet also very calm about what is happening. It seems like it is so meant to be, that I don't have any questions or reservations, I just want to get to work.

I was not in the realm, where I would take a job from anyone. I was doing very well, educating the masses about APIs as THE API Evangelist. However when the I got the call to be a Presidential Innovation Fellow, I did not hesitate. Yes. Of course I would take the role.

As a Presidential Innovation Fellow I will be assigned to the "VA Modernization Team", along with two other very talented individuals, Molly Ruskin (@mollieruskin) and Ben Willman (@benwillman). While we are working together as a team, I will be specifically assigned to the Digits-2-Digits (D2D) project which is:

An enterprise Digits-to-Digits Electronic Claims Submission Service that will provide a common access point to standardize, centralize, and integrate the universal collection of Benefits Claim Forms and supporting evidence data to produce a streamlined, paperless Veteran/Service member-centric claims process.

I couldn't think of a more meaningful project to be part of. I've gone through the project and begun to acquaint myself with its inner workings, and I'm impressed with the amount of work and detail that has gone on so far, in such a short period of time.

I'm really thankful for this opportunity, to really put APIs, and my experience to use for such a meaningful cause. I'm looking forward to the talented folks I will be working with over the next year, and the amount that I will learn on this new adventure in my life and career.

In closing wanted to give a quick shout out to my father Jim Bignall (top photo) who I never got to know, and my step-father John Ronald Kehoe (bottom photo) who impacted my life in so many ways. Both have passed on now, but both were Vietnam Veterans and left significant marks on who I am, and contributed so much to prepare me for the next year of service.