When I left my job in May, I'd never even heard of Andrew Yang. Like most of the people I'd come to meet at the tail end of last year, I'd never really bothered with politics, either.
I'll spare you my waxing poetic about how I'd spent my summer traveling, leaning into hobbies, and studying like mad. By the time autumn rolled around, I was finally figuring out how to like myself without citing my last performance review as evidence. So go figure the guy telling the world "we need to stop confusing human value with economic value" struck a real chord with me.
I was surprised and humbled that the campaign reached out to me. Endeared as all hell when "I'm just trying to build cool stuff with my friends" is one of the best interview answers they'd heard. I'd been saying that for years. They extended an offer and I'd never felt such a draw to go be a part of something in my life. It wasn't even an option.
In the span of about a week and a half, I had broken my lease, packed the majority of my stuff into storage, loaded the rest into my car, and took my first adventure away from Michigan and into the great unknown (Read: Rural Iowa).
The next few months were the hardest I've ever worked. Moreover, the most I'd ever let myself believe in something. I still can't make out if it felt like an eternity or happened in a flash. But I can say for certain that then it was over as soon as it had started.
Along the way, it occurred to me that I'd want to remember the experience. And so I took a lot of screenshots.
And a whole mess of pictures. Some flattering.
Some not so much.
But it never possessed me that "I could get tens of blog hits about this!" Frankly, I was too busy to document my time in Iowa up and down. Combing my computer the last few days, I've just got what I've got-- all of the data, emails, and Slack correspondance are gone for good.
And that's certainly for the better, I'm not interested in writing a salty tell-all. Frankly, I'd be A-OK if this proves to be too boring for some journalist to rip off for ad revenue. Nor do I want to go running roughshod over the NDAs I've signed (the boilerplate kind, not the hush hush kind).
Whether or not anyone decides that this is worth reading, I intend for this to be more self-care than anything else. For the most part, I'm past the depression of it all. But I've been... stuck these last couple of weeks. This is my attempt at closing the slew of mental tabs I haven't been able to drop.
That's the introduction I intended to use to preface several other posts at the end of February. I've been writing and doing side projects for a few years now and nothing exhausts my interest in working on them more than talking about it. Moreover, teasing the release of a post that I haven't written yet is a sure-fire way to make a hobby feel like work to be avoided. I wrote first, second drafts of everything I wanted to say. Figured it'd be pretty easy to keep up with revisions, not outright drafts, edits, and releases.
But the context I release them in just keeps on changing.
When Andrew started teasing a "big announcement" he intended to make, I put it off, not wanting to come off as an opportunist, releasing to ride the attention. His rollout of Humanity Forward came and went and I got busy with other things. I moved a couple times, started a new job, and spent a lot of time glued to this whole "unfolding global pandemic" thing that I write from now. I'm a creature of habit and do most of my best work between the gaps in my routine. However, routine means normal and what's normal anymore?
Nevertheless, it's clear to me that there isn't ever going to be a right time to get started. Besides, it's not like I've got some crucial insight into COVID-19 that will fundamentally change what I want to talk about. Best-case scenario, reading me prattle on about this crazy thing I did proves to be decent mental-departure from whatever you're holed up doing. At worst, I'm finally closing the tabs I've held open-- along with everything else-- for the past couple months.
- Part I: What did I get myself into?
- Part II.a: What was the data like?
- Part II.b: What was our data like?
- Part III: The people involved
- Part IV.a: How we arrived at the Iowa strategy
- Part IV.b: How that strategy played out