I’m Ian, and I’m an entrepreneur. In previous lives I was an architect, product designer, product manager, and software engineer. I’m motivated by creating great urbanism at scale via fast-moving startups.
Most recently, I was exercising those beliefs by building Homestead — a startup focusing on financing & facilitating new housing in California.
- New Things 2023 → Working on small SaaS products on the side:
- Webjet 2023 → We build great websites for great businesses. Copywriting, design, and implementation included. Interested? Book a call.
- Homestead 2022 → 2023 Joined homestead as a late Co-Founder in 2022 when the company pivoted to SB 9. Our mission is to power a grassroots movement to reshape housing in America. After difficulty scaling the model, Homestead transitioned to a traditional real estate fund, which my co-founder now runs independently.
- Outfit 2020 → 2021 Founded Outfit to make DIY accessible by delivering materials, tools, and instructions to homeowner’s front door. Clever idea, terrible market (low willingness-to-pay), and questionable-execution (first-time-founder). YC-backed. Raised ~$1M.
- False Starts 2018 → 2020
- Seated → Figma, but for office layouts
- PermitDesk → Permits, but automated
- Subcast → Convert your favorite articles into a text-to-speech personal podcast
- Figma (Contract) 2018 Got to spend several months working with great people PM’ing a small team focusing on Figma’s nascent Business & Enterprise tiers. A (poorly-timed! Congrats on the acquisition) come-to-jesus moment for me that I am not a terribly-good employee and hated being a PM.
- Katerra 2017 → 2018 LOL. Made it 4 months. Not sure why it took me that long to quit.
- Xamarin / Microsoft 2014 → 2017 My big break. Got to work with incredible people across design, engineering, sales, and more. Started as a Product Designer, and within a year was PM’ing a new SaaS product doing $1M run rate. Acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for +$400M.
I currently reside in Brooklyn after 8 great years living & working in San Francisco & 2 not-so-great years of Los Angeles (boo cars). I was raised in picturesque Evanston, Illinois and was fortunate enough to earn a Bachelors of Architecture from Cornell University.
Beliefs & Ideas
- I’m a staunch urbanist & believe dense housing solves many problems at once:
- Reduces our collective footprint on the planet
- Togetherness makes us more tolerant of out-groups — helps fulfill dream of America as a multi-ethnic democracy
- Gets people walking and out of their cars
- Cars Suck
- I do own one out of necessity of living in Los Angeles — I wish I could trade it in for a electric bike
- Too many people spend way too much of their lives on highways & it makes us sad, angry, and anti-social
- You don’t get 20th Century American Hegemony without the automobile — saying we should have never built interstate highway system, etc. is foolish — but we do have a lot of self-correction in front of us
- The Housing Crisis is the Everything Crisis (many to most issues stem from it)
- We have a veto-crisis in America
- Too many people & entities can say ‘no’ to all types of new things — housing, power plants, interstate power-lines, bridges, etc.
- We need to blow up many veto-checkpoints at the city, county, and state levels in radical ways
- This will never get done at the local-level due to self-interested parties and will require state & federal policies that massively deregulate the rules that stop us from building
- The only way out of the Climate Crisis is to Build Like Hell
- De-Growthers & their ilk are a death cult wanting to make lives miserable for billions (conveniently when they’re on top of the pyramid)
- We need to build an insane amount of infrastructure, from housing, to subways, to small-nuclear-reactors, etc. to escape the worst parts of climate catastrophe
- Imagine what your idea of “insane” is, then multiply it by 10 and that’s where I’m at — I want your skyline covered by cranes, your neighborhood unrecognizable in 10 years
- Get the money (h/t Chamath)
- Money drives the world, for better or worse — and if you have a viewpoint that you think matters, you need to go and get it because that is how you truly can put those beliefs into actions
- Privileged, ambitious, and capable upper-middle-class millennials have a moral obligation to take real risks and build a prosperous future for their country and not over-index on being personally-comfortable
- I’m talking to you FAANG employees, consultants, financiers, lawyers, vc’s, etc.
- We need to Build Like Hell and you’re are sitting on the sidelines and it’s quite frankly, embarrassing
- We need 10x more entrepreneurs, risk-takers, and future-makers — and this group is privileged & capable enough to do it — they just choose not to
- 2035 prediction