Welcoming Cassie Marketos Back to Kickstarter
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Today we're happy to announce that Cassie Marketos is joining Kickstarter as our Vice President of Community Strategy. A lot of that happiness has to do with the fact that Cassie is really not so new. She was Kickstarter’s first official employee, before there was even a Kickstarter office. In this newly created role, much of her focus will be on nurturing the community we’re building at Drip, a tool for artists and creators to fund and build community around their creative practice. It’s great to have her back. We asked Cassie to answer a few questions about herself.
Tell us about your first day at Kickstarter in 2009.
It was, honestly, very nerve-wracking! I had never had a tech, startup-y type job before. I was also very young and had taken something of a risk: I was working out of my home, for an unproven concept that wasn’t really a company yet, I wasn't going to be paid right away, etc. (My parents had a heart attack when I told them.) My first day was just in Yancey's living room. He showed me how to use the system and talk to curious creators who were writing in, wanting a shot at using Kickstarter. He was also extremely excited to show me his seltzer maker.
What did you do after you left Kickstarter?
I left to go it alone and have some time to travel, make mistakes, be a young person, try out different kinds of jobs. In that time, I worked for a lot of different companies, but I also worked on an experimental nonprofit with Perry, called Dollar a Day. I ran it for a year, then open-sourced the code, and wrote up "lessons learned," so others could follow in our footsteps. Later it turned out that some folks at the White House had been following my work on the nonprofit, and that led them to reach out and offer me a job. I ended up working in Obama's Office of Digital Strategy for the last year or so of his presidency, which was about as surreal and incredible of an experience as you can possibly imagine. At the White House, you're always so close to history happening — it's truly awe-inspiring. It gave me an incredible sense of perspective on the world and I think it is safe to say that I was not the same person afterward. (In a good way.)
Why'd you come back?
I care about Kickstarter: the people who work at the company, the people who use the product. I also really believe in Perry's vision. And he's just a person who has been there for me, personally and professionally, through tons of ups and downs in my life. When he called me in to help out, it was just, “Duh, of course I'm gonna do it. It's Kickstarter! Kickstarter is family.”
What’s your new job all about?
Being professionally excited about Drip, basically. That's a huge chunk of it. In business-speak that means setting the high-level vision for the community and working to execute it across our teams. But I feel like the most important thing I can do is just be a consistent champion for both the people I work with and the product itself. Keep everybody excited. Keep everybody on the same page. Keep thinking about how we can make this thing GREAT. I'll also be working a little on the Kickstarter side of the house, providing support on strategy for projects with Kickstarter-dot-com.