In what I’m hoping is not going to become an annual tradition (ahem) I started a new job at Sincerely three weeks ago. Sincerely is the startup behind the iPhone and Android app Postagram, which you can use to send an Instagram-esque photo as a postcard, and they’ve been building on that initial success with similar apps that bridge the gap between the virtual world of social networking (which is increasingly mobile) and the real world of physical goods—witness Sesame, their recently released gifting app.
Of course this also means I’m parting ways with Simpleform. It turned out to be exactly the type of gig I needed to get back on my feet after a year of traveling, but by the end of the contract we’d been working on, Andre, Robert, and I decided against doing further client work. So we’re all amicably moving on to other projects.
What I realized I missed most since leaving Federated Media was the sense of ownership and camaraderie that comes from working as part of a team on a single product—who’s success we all have a direct stake in. So after taking a few weeks to focus on some neglected personal projects, I started searching in earnest for my next opportunity. I stumbled upon Sincerely through Doctor Popular, a photoblogger I’ve been following for awhile, and the rest is history. I’ll be concentrating on their front-end web experience at first, but I’ll likely be working across their stack (and maybe even dabbling in mobile, who knows).
I must admit it’s been an unusual time of year to start a new job, and it was made doubly so by the fact that they’d scheduled a hackathon for the Thursday and Friday of my first week. So together with Leah Culver, we whipped up a hack called “Hugstagram”: a heart-shaped pillow that triggered an iPad app to take a photo when you squeezed it—which you could then email or send as a Postagram. Leah worked on the iPad app, I worked on the pillow’s Arduino guts (a wireless webserver that reported the status of a single switch), and we sewed and stuffed the pillow together (ok, that was mostly Leah).
That Friday night, around ten teams (including several people from outside Sincerely) presented their hacks to three celebrity judges (one of whom was Steve Huffman, co-founder of both Reddit and Hipmunk). They ranked them in terms of their thoughtfulness, commercial viability, and innovation. The team behind the winning hack in each category got a prize, and remarkably, Hugstagram won “most innovative”. Not a bad way to cap off my first week, eh?