How We’ll Build This

I’ve always believed that technology should be a force for good.

In 2012, I joined the founding team at VolunteerLocal, a Des Moines-based software company designed to automate the volunteer signup and scheduling process for events and nonprofits. Over the last nine years, we scaled that business to thousands of users impacting millions of volunteers around the globe.

With a fantastic team at the helm, I knew it was time for me to pursue a new challenge.

Two weeks ago, I stepped forward into my new role as the Head of Customer Development at Roboflow, a YCombinator-backed startup focused on responsibly democratizing computer vision. While machine learning is certainly a far cry from tracking volunteer shifts at a music festival, the tenets of scaling a high-growth SaaS business are remarkably applicable across sectors.

Smoke before fire!

Roboflow presents some unique and exciting challenges. We are selling a product that has never existed to a market that generally doesn’t know it needs it (yet). Our company is creating its own category in the global economy, with real-world implications that will invariably touch the lives of everyday people.

What is computer vision?

Computer vision is an interdisciplinary scientific field that deals with how computers can gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. From the perspective of engineering, it seeks to understand and automate tasks that the human visual system can do. (“Computer Vision”: Ballard, Brown)

Bounding boxes like these help our customers train models to detect specific objects within images.

Put simply, Roboflow enables computers to understand and interpret images; we automate human sight. We’re currently seeing significant adoption in object detection.

As you can probably imagine, the applications for this technology are expansive. Our customers are pioneering vision projects in cancer research, fighting wildfires and even tracking endangered species.

It seems inevitable that computer vision will play an integral part in shaping our world for decades to come. Self-driving cars, mobile apps and enhanced drone security at those festivals we all love (and miss) so much are just the start.

That’s why I’m excited to be a part of this startup’s journey to mass market penetration, and I hope you’ll follow along as I chronicle my experiences, our customers’ stories, and everything I learn along the way. Cheers! 🦝

Building at Roboflow