This is the first installment in a four-part series. See part 2, part 3, and part 4.

Note, names have been changed for privacy.

I was in Gold Rush Territory(1), and it was a strange place. I had heard about this place, of course. It advertised itself everywhere — billboards on the Bay Bridge, seemingly constant articles and whispers about 22-year-olds becoming millionaires. I had an uncle who spent a lot of time in Gold Rush Territory, and a few people I knew from high school, and a lot of people they knew. But I had never been here myself.

Inspired by a true story.

The Twins approached 13, the traditional time for their rite of passage in the form of a Bar Mitzvah, which of course they would do together. They did everything together. Besides, what were you going to do, book two synagogues and have the family schlep from one to the other on the same day? Out of the question.

Everything was set. The synagogue had them practicing the melody for their haftarah portion. Each branch of the family knew the time and place. The caterer was ready with blintzes, fruit, chicken cutlets and bourekas. Their father…

I met up with my dad at Civic Center station to go on a walk. It was the first time we had seen each other after I had moved to Berkeley three weeks earlier, a late morning in March right before my 24th birthday. He was dressed in white ill-fitting baggy slacks, beaten up white tennis shoes with velcro straps, a white zip up hoodie, and a t-shirt underneath depicting a cartoon version of him shouting “where’d I put the MP3?!” while holding a small black voice recorder in his hand. …

This is the last installment in a four-part series. See part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Note, names have been changed for privacy.

I started crying a lot. I would cry on my walk on the way to catch the N train in the morning, and when I walked out the doors of Impact Hub in the late afternoon. It was confusing. I didn’t know what I was crying about, because I wasn’t sad. At first, I thought it might just be an acutely stressful day, or mercury was in retrograde or maybe I had read a sad article…

This is the third installment in a four-part series. See part 1, part 2, and part 4

Note, names have been changed for privacy.

Ben sat me down for one of our Serious Conversations, which happened 2–3 times a day when he had what he deemed a good idea or a pivotal concern. During this particular Serious Conversation, he said he thought I should have the title of Chief Operating Officer due to the fact that, when examining the breakdown of our work, he was the one coming up with the ideas and I was the one implementing all of…

This is the second installment in a four-part series. See part 1, part 3, and part 4

Note, names have been changed for privacy.

Ben talked to me for a while about how prolific he was in the global democratization circuit, especially in the Republic of Georgia, and how his idea about using people’s social networks to get out the vote was exactly the silver bullet for progressives to win elections but he just needed the right team to get it off the ground. After talking at me for about fifteen minutes he asked about my background and how I…

Note: names have been changed for privacy

There’s a scene in the movie Paddington 2 where the namesake, Paddington, has recently broken out of jail, after being put there on some shady information provided by a menacing Hugh Grant. Paddington — a lovable talking bear who tries to find his way in the world but keeps getting into trouble — escapes with the help of his new inmate friends and makes a call from a phone booth in an alley in what can only be presumed to be a rough part of East London.

If you look closely behind Paddington…

Charlie B.

My crowning accomplishment is that I once came second-to-last in a pun competition.

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