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Meet the Team

A more intimate introduction to the Forecast Foundation

We thought you should get to know us better. So here we are, in detail:
Christian is an Aspiring Supermodel.

Name: Chris Calderon

Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, California

Age: 22

Position: Python/Serpent Developer

Road to Augur: 2013 was a tumultuous year for me. I dropped out of college, ended a lengthy relationship, and I had to live with my parents again (something no 19 year old should have to do!) I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, but I ended up moving to Isla Vista to stay with my old friend from high school, Zack Hess.

It was there that I got into cryptocurrencies. Since I have lots of experience building computers, I was initially interested in building litecoin mining rigs. But the more Zack and I learned about Tor, cryptocurrencies, and cryptography in general, the more my interests shifted from mining to software. Zack and I already knew how to program, so we tried to come up with a good software project. Our idea was to build a Tor hidden service that used bitcoin and BitMessage to help users anonymously set up multisignature escrows for safe-ish transactions. That proved to be a lot easier said than done!

At the same time, I was increasingly involved in the astrophysics labs at UCSB, and my focus shifted away from bitcoin for a time. Those months in Isla Vista marked the starting point of my path to Truthcoin, and eventually Augur. Zack and I started spending more time thinking about profitable ways to write software for bitcoin, and when Zack stumbled across Truthcoin (near the end of 2013), it became all that we talked about. Zack eventually dropped out of school, too, to work full time on Truthcoin. I moved back in with my parents, got a shitty job, while wishing I could work full time on Truthcoin. After several months of work, Zack got offered a job, and when his employers asked if he knew another good dev for them to hire, he told them about me. That's how I became a part of Augur!

Favorite part of Augur: I'm most excited for Augur's use as a cheap and accessible way to hedge your money in a way that matters the most to you, i.e. with respect to the value of anything. I envision billions of people in developing nations using prediction markets to keep the value of their money stable with respect to foodstuffs and materials they need to survive. This is just one of the ways Augur will be a massive benefit to humanity.

Fun fact: I'm currently single, ladies! }:)

Joey is a Cowboy.

Name: Joey Krug

Hometown: Knoxville, Illinois (about 30 minutes from Peoria, IL --- where Penicillin was invented!)

Age: 19

Position: Core Developer + Hacker

Road to Augur: One of my friends, Matt Liston, was working on a sort of altcoin binary options site back in June, 2014 and in July asked me if I'd be interested in working on it. I told him no, that I didn't really care about altcoins.  

He called me again in August and told me about Truthcoin (which ended up being the theoretical pinnings behind Augur) and I immediately found it interesting.  The idea of crowdsourced predictions on any subject was fascinating, especially considering the opportunity we had to decentralize and open them to everyone.  His partner, Jack, interviewed me to see if I'd be a good fit with their technical team (himself and Scott at the time) and I ended up joining.  We started work on some pre-requisite projects for Augur in mid-August.  

Favorite parts of Augur: one is that it disrupts all three industries I think are ripe for disruption: healthcare, governance, and finance. The other is the sheer amount of technical challenges we face daily.  I wrote a point of sale software in Android and while fun, it wasn't really challenging, whereas with Augur each of its main facets are fun problems to solve.

Fun fact: I used to show hunt-seat Paint horses!

Proof that Scott is at least 80 years-old.

Name: Scott Leonard

Hometown: Unknown

Age: Older Than Time

Position: UX/UI Developer + Designer

Road to Augur: Scott Leonard has a degree in Computer Information Systems with an emphasis on Business Administration. He is a creative savant of complex information systems and an entrepreneur with a broad knowledge base reaching from low-level network protocols to user experience design. In over twenty years working in the field—for large media companies and on small open source projects—he's developed a holistic perspective on systems design and a critical eye for appropriate technology.

Both professionally and personally, Scott is dedicated to improving limited and archaic systems. He's a champion of the underdogs and unsung heroes and envisions a world where their gifts can be better utilized through more elegant and intuitive design. He's a passionate innovator, most comfortable in the area outside the box.

Favorite parts of Augur: All of the women.

Fun fact: I was investigated by the FBI when I was fourteen for phone line hacking.

Yes, this is what he always looks like.

Name: Jack Peterson

Hometown: Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Age: 32

Position: Core Developer + Physicist

Road to Augur: I'm a programmer.

This was unintentional: I actually meant to be a physicist. But, after I got my PhD, I realized that about 95% of my research was programming, and that was the 95% I enjoyed most. So, I hung out my shingle, and I've been at it for about two-and-a-half years now, as a freelancer, the lead developer for two tiny, spirited startups, and now as core developer on Augur.
Freelancing was a hectic, chaotic sort of fun. I started out as the one and only developer (and "CTO", with the emphasis on the quotes) for a three-body startup, FlyJets. My first startup, and my first real run as a full-stack developer. We were going to revolutionize private aviation with a marketplace for seats on empty repositioning flights, and I was building the flight scheduling, routing, and sales system that would make it work. I did everything: system administration, security, back-end and front-end development, and, later on, managing a team of three developers.
After the aviation revolution petered out, I decided to try and make the freelancing thing work. It turns out that just about everybody needs a website, and I picked up a few small jobs almost right away: adding new features to a photography portfolio, rebuilding a Joomla website, moving a business's site into Drupal to make it more manageable. It wasn't long before I landed my first significant contract: building a web-based geospatial visualization and mapping system for the U.S. Forest Service.
GeoNIS is an automated system that downloads spatial data collected by the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, processes the data, places it into a local PostgreSQL database connected to a geographic information system (ArcGIS), then makes the data available as a free, interactive web map on the GeoNIS website. I teamed up with another developer on the back-end system, a sprawling set of Python and XSLT scripts that automated the geospatial and metadata processing and format conversions. The front-end system I built myself, using ArcGIS's JavaScript API to craft an interactive web mapping system. GeoNIS is currently in production mode, and serves about 1,100 scientists and students in the LTER.
As we were wrapping up work on GeoNIS, I got a call from an old friend in San Francisco, Mark, an engineer and biochemist trying to cure aging. Curing aging sounded like a worthwhile use of time to me, so I took a road trip down to San Francisco to crash with Mark for a while. Mark and I had for years talked about automating the "lifespan assay", a key experiment in the aging field that is presently done entirely by hand, making it both inaccurate and slow. Mark had spoken with a friend of his who runs a venture capital fund, and she'd offered us $20,000 for a proof-of-principle that we could automate this experiment. The software end of this problem really boiled down to being able to count tiny worms (Caenorhabditis elegans) on a Petri dish and say whether or not they were dead. Since I wanted to cure aging (not to mention the $20,000), I duct-taped together a proof-of-principle blob detection program, written in Python with the assistance of the OpenCV library, then wrapped it in a pretty Qt GUI. My "WormCam" software came together pretty well, and Mark is now putting together the hardware end of the experimental setup. We're planning to publish a paper or two on our system later this year.
I first became interested in Bitcoin in late 2010, if I remember right. I specialized in networks and information theory in graduate school, and studied cryptography as a natural offshoot of this. I hunted around for interesting applications of cryptography, and stumbled across Bitcoin. I followed it in fits and spurts after that, then, about a year ago, embarked on my first real cryptocurrency project: designing and building a distributed currency exchange for a site called Peercover, an entry point for the Ripple network. Peercover shut down a few months later, after falling victim to ACH fraud. I worked on a few small cryptocurrency web apps after that, meeting Scott Leonard along the way.
This past September, Scott and I found inspiration in an academic project called Truthcoin, and joined forces with the rest of the crew on this page to create Augur, the first decentralized prediction market platform. Presently, I'm focusing all my energy on developing Augur's distributed event resolution algorithm, which is a heavily modified version of the Truthcoin mechanism.

Favorite part of Augur: The predictions, of course! Because good forecasting really, really matters. You can't make informed decisions if you don't know the odds of things happening.

Fun fact: I know kung fu.

Tony has really great Selfie-Skilllz

Name: Tony Sakich

Hometown: Detroit, Michigan

Age: 30

Position: Director of Marketing

Road to Augur: While I’m originally from Detroit, I’m now based in Atlanta, Georgia. In Detroit, I worked at Eminem’s Web Entertainment Records as well as at Record Time, the store that was the birthplace of Detroit Techno. My interest in Bitcoin began in 2012, which was a completely different era of Bitcoin usage and infrastructure.

Near the end of 2013 I began consulting local business people on Bitcoin related matters. The knowledge led me to accepting a position as Marketing Manager at BitPay where I was able to participate in many successful “firsts” in the crypto space. More importantly, I was able to ensure BitPay’s digital branding and online customer interaction services led the industry throughout my time at the company. Multiple “best practices” pieces and articles highlighting successful campaigns helped me to become one of the most successful players in marketing and business development in the crypto/decentralized space.

Throughout 2014, I worked with Jeremy Gardner on multiple occasions through his College Cryptocurrency Network, this led to Jeremy aggressively trying to add me to the Augur team. Once I learned more about Augur, I can honestly say that I felt the same level of excitement toward the project that I did in 2012 when I first heard about Bitcoin.

Favorite parts of Augur: The first aspect of Augur that drove me to join the team was my interest in Bayesian Statistics that began by reading Nate Silver’s “The Signal and the Noise” in 2013. The second aspect was the involvement of Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin as an advisor and collaborator, as I find Ethereum to be the most fascinating project happening in decentralized tech.

Fun Fact: Marketing is sometimes viewed as a dirty word and I feel it’s something misunderstood and overhyped by many within the field. The truth is, the most important part of any marketing plan is a well-designed, high-quality product that serves a need. After meeting the team, and speaking with both Joey and Jack in person at length, being a part of a team this bright and creative is an honor. Combining both the Augur team and the advisors, it is truly a “dream team” of those within the crypto and prediction market fields.

Jeremy always gets carded (especially when riding his tricycle)

Name: Jeremy Gardner

Hometown: Northampton, Massachusetts

Age: 23

Position: Philosopher/Diplomat/Mom

Road to Augur: I founded the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN) almost immediately after transferring to the University of Michigan last winter. The nonprofit’s exponential growth made it increasingly difficult to rationalize remaining in school. Opportunities seemed to arise on a near-weekly basis, but I was determined to get my degree for my parents, due to a fairly turbulent, yet academically successful, scholastic career. However, when, at the end of this past summer, I was informed that I had too many credits to graduate on time (the University had recognized all 88 credits I had earned at my previous college and in high school, to only later realize they had a 60 credit quota policy for transfers), I promptly dropped out.

While the action was broadly applauded by those in the cryptocurrency community, it was a challenging decision, as I wanted to primarily focus on CCN and most jobs I was offered detracted from that. So when I was offered a vague part-time consulting position on a project called “Truthcoin”, I quickly accepted.

However, upon joining the team that would become Augur, and reading the underlying academic work behind the project, I quickly became enamored. Having been a huge fan of InTrade, I saw Augur as the first killer app for both bitcoin and blockchain tech, particularly in the developed world. I haven’t looked back since, while still receiving federal tax exemption for CCN and attempting to serve as a general catalyst for blockchain technology.

Favorite part of Augur: the notion that this software, if it achieves even a modicum of success, could be the most powerful forecasting tool in human history, never ceases to blow my mind. I have always wanted to positively change the world, and this project seems to be on the cusp of doing so.

Fun fact: There is nothing fun about me.

wha'chou lookin' at?

Name: Peronet Despeignes

Hometown: Elmont, New York

Position: SpecialOps / WorryWart

Road to Augur: I worked as an economics reporter for Investor's Business Daily, the Financial Times and Fortune Magazine. Loved trying to stay ahead of the conventional wisdom. Decided to jump into the world of startups before the media business imploded. Fun having greater freedom, but the early years were tough - not a decision to be taken lightly. Eventually became a manager at a global IT services group, which got me exposed to the world of cryptocurrency, Ethereum and eventually to Augur.

Favorite part of Augur: The jokes and random banter. This is a very funny group of guys, as you might have guessed from the content above (make sure to hover your mouse over each of the photos). Humor is essential for the mental health of any startup, especially in crypto.

Fun fact: I'm a big fan of DC/Marvel graphic novels and limited series (though I'm getting tired of all the comic book movies), anime from the early 90's (including Robotech Macross, Akira and almost everything by Hayao Miyazaki), classic films with great dialogue and twists (Casablanca, All About Eve).... and serious lookin' koalas.

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