Are you curious about Curious?
At Curious we believe in lifelong learning. Learning for its own sake. Learning that happens beyond classrooms, and not only in academic subjects (unless you count beer brewing, pipe soldering, and organic gardening as academic). Learning as a necessity of living.
At Curious we also believe great teachers are as valuable to society as great business leaders or academic thinkers. We wonder why there are hundreds of high-tech ways to share silly photos, and military-grade technology can help us find our friends at a bar, but teachers have few quality tools to help them succeed online.
We believe teachers are some of society’s greatest entrepreneurs and should be treated as such.
We also believe that videos of cats dancing the Macarena, and super-slo-mo exploding watermelons are really cool, but not the kind of online learning we’re talking about. And that Justin’s new band only reminds us a little bit of this. But that’s another story...
Mostly, we believe in being curious.
THE CURIOUS CREED
Our mission is to connect the world’s teachers with its lifelong learners. While doing that we aspire to live up to the Curious Creed, and its five priorities (in order, sort of):
We love employing people, and creating an excellent work environment. Even though Justin got in a lot of hot water once before for putting employees first on the list, he hasn’t changed his mind...
We strive to build beautifully simple products that are powerful and constantly improving.
Without customers we can’t revolutionize anything. We want our customers to depend on us to better their lives. If we ever let them down, we will always make things right, and fix the root problem so it doesn’t happen again.
We have an obligation to those around us: our neighbors, our fellow citizens, our globe and even our competitors who are also trying to improve the state of online learning.
We are extremely grateful for the support of our shareholders. We believe the best way to create long term shareholder value is to fulfill the above four obligations.
Meet the people who put the “us” in “Curious.”
Justin Kitch, Chairman, co-founder
Justin founded Curious, his third company, to help people of all ages nurture their love of learning on a daily basis. Previously, Justin founded Homestead, which grew into the world's largest small business web publishing platform before being acquired by Intuit. Prior to that Justin founded KartoffelSoft, a children's software company based on a programming language for kids he created while pursuing—and dropping out of—degrees in Computer Science and Science, Technology and Society at Stanford University. He is still a few credits shy of being accepted by his family.
Since he doesn’t have much “real” work to do as chairman, Justin posts an interesting fact every day called the Daily Curio. He has written over 1000 Curios in a row (and counting) and has over 500,000 readers waiting for him to make a mistake. See for yourself at curious.com/curios.
Justin also founded the Homestead Foundation and the Kitch Family Foundation, which support non-profit organizations dedicated to education, environment, and poverty issues. He also enjoys coaching youth sports, and young entrepreneurs who are desperate to change the world.
Justin grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and lives with his wife Marlo and their three children in Palo Alto, California.
Thai Bui, CEO, co-founder
As Curious CEO, Thai does a lot of everything, like marketing, product, analytics, and, yes, even employee benefits. This just means he knows more about the small business health insurance market than he wants to know, but still not enough to understand it. At Homestead, Thai was co-founder and CTO, where his proudest achievement was assembling an incredible group of engineers. He also felt proud to host the annual Homestead talent show, even though he has no talent. After Homestead’s acquisition, Thai served as Director of Software Development at Intuit for several different groups. He holds both a MS and BS in computer science from Stanford University.
Thai refuses to believe that a 5’3” Vietnamese man with no discernible basketball skills can’t make the NBA. You can keep up with Thai on his blog, “Ramblings of a Short Man,” or follow him on Twitter.
John Tokash, CTO, co-founder
At Curious, John guides our development process and leads mobile development (that is, when he isn’t fixing the printer). At Homestead, John built and led high octane teams against big hairy goals such as constructing a platform for web-aware desktop apps, and integrating with strategic partners. At Intuit, he led development of the SiteBuilder product line and several online marketing solutions.
Gordon McNaughton, lead developer
Gordon has been developing creative and leading-edge software for over 10 years at companies like Homestead, Intuit, and Netflix. His responsibilities at Curious include architecting complicated systems, documenting them poorly, and answering questions in a mysterious voice in order to appear wise. He is also responsible for DevOps, cloud infrastructure, and ensuring the high quality transcoding of kitten videos. When not reading other people’s code, Gordon likes to bike, play volleyball, and travel the world.
Ron Hemphill, lead designer
Ron basically draws all day long, and more generally designs, directs, curates and embodies awesomeness. Ron has held jobs concocting awesomeness at Specialized, Broderbund, Mattel, Homestead and Intuit. However, there’s something unique about the Curious universe that has Ron especially twisted around its orbit. When he’s not obsessing about his next caffeinated beverage, Ron likes to swim and play music. He holds a MFA in graphic design from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Kristen Woodward, librarian
Kristen loved school so much that she collected degrees in biomedical engineering, engineering management and business before leaving Cal Poly and returning to the Bay Area. As the librarian, Kristen is responsible for finding and supporting really cool teachers who are passionate about their areas of expertise. She also mans many of the Curious social web outposts, and seems to know a lot about beer. She spends her free time exploring disc golf courses, planning her next big trips, and getting her arts and crafts on.
Kristen Bautista, software developer
Born and raised in Hawaii, Kristen moved to the Bay Area to go to Stanford, where she majored in math, minored in computer science, and got a Master's in education. After working with software developers for a few years as an accountant and a curriculum developer, she decided she should be one herself! Outside of work, Kristen has been dancing since she was three years old and thinks it would be pret-ty cool to be a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance.
Justin Cohn, lesson producer
As a lesson producer, Justin develops best practices for building lessons, investigates the shadowy craft of search engine optimization, and tells people where to use an em dash. After work, his chief preoccupations are writing music and scouring through everything Netflix has to offer. He holds a BA in English from UC Berkeley, and is resident master of the Telecaster.
Kai Hess, product designer
Kai always knew he wanted to be a designer, so he promptly studied English and storytelling at Santa Clara University. Between half-finished stories and lyrical concoctions, he provided brand consulting for emerging solar energy companies and later worked in design for a Silicon Valley big-data company. Curious’ certain brand of do-goodery hooked Kai, and he has since been working to help make lifelong learning easy and delightful for everyone. Kai’s life proudly revolves around food. When he’s not crafting an experimental sushi roll or the perfect burger, you’ll find him backpacking through the great outdoors... as he plans for the next sushi roll or burger.
Henry Mayer, software developer
Henry studied symbolic systems at Stanford University, with a focus on “decision-making and rationality,” which might explain why he is often seen shouting “WHY?!?!” at his computer. He joined the Curious crew after working with many of our team members at Homestead, and later Intuit. Henry plans to someday run off and become a journalist, a high school history teacher, or some other job that makes him feel very smart. Henry enjoys spending time cooking, sailing, hiking (preferably in Yosemite), and avoiding shaving or waking up before noon.
James Reed, software developer
James studied software engineering and computer science at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. At Curious, his daily responsibilities include coding, testing, and keeping the raptors in their cages. In addition, James has dutifully taken on the role of Chief Distraction Officer, in which he is tasked with discovering the greatest distractions the internetz has to offer. He enjoys brewing beer, climbing, competing in triathlons, and working on cars and motorcycles, the latter of which means that he often needs a ride to work.
Cindy Wu, growth marketing & analytics
Cindy loved numbers and solving puzzles growing up, so after studying math and economics at UC Berkeley, naturally, she went into finance. One day, she got curious and well...here we are. At Curious, Cindy continues to play with numbers and is fascinated by quirky trends and insights. (Guess what city has watched the most Curious lessons?!) She also coordinates and optimizes marketing campaigns to help grow the community of Curious learners. In her free time, Cindy trains for marathons, rock climbs, and enthusiastically cheers on her Golden Bears.
Mary Zhou, quality assurance engineer
Mary has moved around the Bay Area testing various applications for nearly a decade: speech recognition in Alameda, website builders in Menlo Park and automotive tracking devices in Hayward. Her role at Curious involves lots of testing to ensure learners and teachers enjoy an awesome experience across multiple web browsers and mobile/tablet devices. She enjoys watching anime, trying new teas and baking. Mary holds a BS in computer engineering from UC Davis.
If you’re interested in joining the Curious team, check out our current job openings.