Why Chris Shiflett, Brooklyn Beta founder and Fictive Kin partner, moved to Boulder - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Jan. 26, 2015 7:29 am

Why Chris Shiflett, Brooklyn Beta founder and Fictive Kin partner, moved to Boulder

The short answer? Raising a family in Brooklyn wasn't for him.

Chris Shiflett, right, with fellow Fictive Kin partner Cameron Koczon.

(Photo by Flickr user Simon Collison, used under a Creative Commons license)

Chris Shiflett is now in Boulder, where he very recently relocated from Brooklyn.

The cofounder of civic hacking event Brooklyn Beta (RIP) and one of the two partners of product company Fictive Kin has left for Colorado, making the company now totally distributed. Shiflett explained that Fictive Kin is a company of nine partners, so while many people here know of it as Cameron Koczon and Chris Shiflett, he says it really functions as “more of a co-op.”

Now that he’s settled into his new town, we got Shiflett on the phone to talk a little about his time in Brooklyn and why he moved.

The short answer for his reason for leaving: family.

The Tennessee native now has two little ones and the economics and logistics of raising a family in the County of Kings started to look more and more daunting.

Shiflett’s family doesn’t have any particular ties to Boulder. Once the conversation about moving somewhere else opened up, there were many possibilities, he told us.

“I did this really nerdy thing,” he said, “I made a spreadsheet in Google Docs. I went and did a bunch of research of where families are the happiest, where the school systems are the strongest, days of sunshine, all this quality of stuff.”

He said that he even had columns for the average airline tickets to places they were likely to travel frequently. Once he put all that together, he said that Boulder looked really good on the spreadsheet.

He and his family tested the hypothesis by renting a house and moving there for two weeks. Shiflett worked during that time, too, to really see what life would be like. They enjoyed it so much that the decision was made.

Shiflett had a full decade in Brooklyn before leaving, though he started off in Manhattan. His sister had gone to college here, so he’d visited a lot before moving himself. “I really just moved to New York City. I didn’t really think of the distinction,” he said.

He met Koczon at Studiomates. That’s where they started putting together Brooklyn Beta. That led, he said, to the merging of their two companies about three years ago. Being a part of that space, he said, dramatically increased his work satisfaction here.

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Shiflett is trained as an engineer, but now as a manager of products and projects, he’s not really sure how to describe himself. “Once I started managing products there’s a lot of UX design that goes into that. You can get really good at that job or you can just kind of wing it,” he said, adding, “I’ve evolved from winging it.”

He says he’ll be watching (and rooting for) Tinybop from afar. The maker of electronic children’s toys just released its third iOS app, Homes.

Koczon recently spoke about design at Huge. Here’s at a look at some photos from a Fictive Kin retreat from this time last year.

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Brady Dale

Brady Dale is a tech reporter, comedian and storyteller. In July 2015 he joined the New York Observer. Brady was Technical.ly Brooklyn's lead reporter from August 2013 till June 2015. A native of Pittsburg, Kansas, he went to Cornell and worked as a progressive community organizer for over a decade before quitting his job to pursue writing.

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