These DC tech folks are some of the city's 'most interesting people' - DC


Dec. 13, 2016 10:20 am

These DC tech folks are some of the city’s ‘most interesting people’

According to the Washington City Paper's most recent People Issue.
We agree, it’s the people who really make this city.

We agree, it's the people who really make this city.

(Photo by Tajha Chappellet-Lanier)

Washington City Paper is introducing us to our neighbors ahead of the holidays.

The local weekly published its fourth People Issue last week, a collection of portraits and short interviews with “23 of D.C.’s most interesting people.” And what do you know — amid the drag queen, the sandwich maker and the rare book collector, there are even some local tech folks included in that 23.

Here’s who got noticed:

Aaron Saunders, entrepreneur and educator

Clearly Innovative CEO Saunders is devoted to promoting access to tech education through his Luma Lab initiative, and City Paper has noticed. In his interview, reporter Zach Rausnitz asked whether Saunders sees the D.C. tech scene as distinctive from that of other cities and Saunders responded like this:

Yes, without a doubt. It’s challenging to get individuals to take the risk to work at smaller, more entrepreneurial companies, because it’s expensive to live here, and it’s easy get a job with a big government agency or consulting firm and get paid a lot of money and do nothing. There’s a lot of people I meet at meetup groups getting paid really well who really don’t know how to write software, but they’re at technology companies. There’s so much coddling around them that you can be successful without really being that good at it. And that just doesn’t fly in a lot of other areas.

Josh Patchus, Cava data geek

Patchus is the data science brains behind the “world domination” of fast casual chain Cava Grill, and he comes by way of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and LivingSocial. What has surprises him about his work at Cava?

People will leave a review on a website and they’ll say, “Best place ever, loved the chicken, loved the salad, clean, staff was friendly, if Jesus Christ himself came back I’d take him to Cava because that would be the one place I want him to eat.” Then they’ll be like, “Four stars because it was a cloudy day.” I can’t control the weather. This is true anywhere, but especially in food: Customers say they want things, but they really want something else and they’re very opinionated.


Jake and Pum Lefebure, graphic design power couple

The Lefebure’s design firm, Design Army, boasts an office on H Street NE and work done for Washingtonian Magazine, NPR, the Washington, DC Economic Partnership and others. Why so many local clients? According to Jake:

Over the years we’ve definitely been more selective in the folks we work with. But we always still put the creative first. If it’s something I think the staff is really going to want to work on, then we’ll pursue it. If we wanted to have our own mass fortune empire, we’d just do associations and trade conferences and healthcare out the wazoo. But we prefer high risk clients.

See the full People Issue


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