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, CEO, co-founder
Justin dropped out of graduate school to start his first company (KartoffelSoft, based on a children’s programming language he created) and is still a few credits short of being accepted by his family. He co-founded Homestead in 1997, which became the world’s largest small business website platform. Intuit acquired Homestead in 2007, and Justin then served as GM of Intuit’s Grow Your Business Division and the company’s Chief Growth Officer until 2010. Justin enjoys coaching (and investing in) entrepreneurs who are desperate to change the world. He also chairs the Homestead Foundation, which supports organizations focused on educational, environmental, and poverty issues. Justin grew up in Wichita, Kansas and holds a BS from Stanford University in Values, Technology, Science and Society.
Besides loving to tickle-torture his three kids, Justin enjoys playing the guitar and basketball, mountain biking, and coaching youth sports. You can follow Justin on his blog, "CEO Unplugged".
Thai Bui, CTO, co-founder
At Curious, Thai is our growth hacker, using his technical powers for good instead of evil (except when it comes to Rock Band). 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, Head of Engineering, co-founder
At Curious, John guides our Agile 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 ten 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.
Sadie Stoumen, lead lesson wrangler
Sadie studied International Relations and Economics at Wellesley College, the combination of which turns out to be a pretty great way to get into high tech. After time at Intuit and Google, she now leads the Curious lesson wrangling team in finding and supporting the web’s best teachers - and ensures a plethora of awesome lessons are added regularly. Further, Sadie sees that the team attends weekly recess in the park. She’s convinced that fresh air and healthy competition are critical to overall success and happiness, especially when she wins.
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.
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.
Henry Mayer, software developer
Henry studied Symbolic Systems at Stanford University, with a focus on “Decision-Making & 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.
Rokas Venckevicius, software developer
Rokas’s life has thus far been marked by a Westward-directed inertia. He was born and raised in Lithuania, attended college in Tennessee, studied Computer Science in Wisconsin, and eventually landed in the Bay Area tech scene. He thinks his next stopover should be Hawaii, as he is an enthusiastic kitesurfer. Rokas has attempted, unsuccessfully, to recruit his Curious co-workers to kitesurf on the San Francisco Bay. He holds a MS in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin and BA in Math from The University of the South.
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.
Kristen Woodward, lesson wrangler
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 a lesson wrangler, 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.
Dara Kosberg, lesson wrangler
Dara has more than a decade of experience in program design and management in the nonprofit and education sectors. She's excited to support teachers in making great Curious lessons and building their student base through online resources and training. Prior to joining Curious, Dara developed experiential learning programs and conferences at Net Impact, managed children’s art programs and taught third graders as a Teach For America corps member in New Orleans. Dara received her MA from Stanford’s Graduate School of Education and a BA from Georgetown University. In her free time, she loves photography, dancing, tennis, and washboard playing.
Joe Stoltz, lesson wrangler and video producer
Joe is an experienced cinematographer, designer and editor. He holds a MA in Multimedia from California State University and a BA in Theater and Cinema Studies from Illinois State University. At Curious, Joe supports teachers by using his mad video skillz to help them create awesome lessons. Joe is a self-described terminally-obsessive music fan with a love for food that is literally unhealthy. Most people would assume that Ron is Joe’s favorite person in the office. They’re wrong. It’s John.
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 B.A. 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 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.
Maggie Campbell, marketing
Maggie recently moved back to Silicon Valley after graduating from Columbia University. In college, she studied Political Science with concentrations in Comparative Politics and American Politics. Maggie is a passionate learner, and excited to find and support some of the world’s best teachers. When she’s not at work, you can find Maggie exploring the streets of San Francisco, or cheering at a Giants game.
Josh Zipin, lesson wrangler
Josh earned a BA degree in Sociology from Davidson College, where he played for the men’s soccer team. After college, he worked in fundraising for Davidson College Athletics. At Curious, Josh is excited about working with teachers to create the best possible environment for lifelong learning. When he’s not chatting up teachers, you can find Josh writing, getting his workout on, or hacking up your local golf course.
Elizabeth Torres, office manager
Elizabeth has over a decade of experience in office management, having worked at Homestead, Intuit, and now Curious. We tried to think of how to summarize her responsibilities, and subsequently realized that Elizabeth does just about everything. She loves her job, because she thrives on providing the uniquely hospitable, warm and fun Curious experience for anyone who crosses her path. Elizabeth loves spending time with her husband and family, volunteering for the Homeless Cat Network, gardening, interior designing and mowing her lawn barefoot.
Paymon Payamipour, software development intern
Paymon is a soon-to-be junior at UC Berkeley pursuing a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He loves thinking about algorithms and anything related to programming. Some of his tasks include slaying man-eating bugs and creating jaw-dropping new features for the Curious website! When he's not coding, you can find him skiing, hiking, studying weather, or watching Doctor Who.
Mandy Ferreira, marketing fellow
Mandy is a journalist (no, really) that has worked at publications like Sunset magazine and Yoga Journal since graduating from Santa Clara University. At Curious she is tasked with translating engineer, putting words together, and talking in the third person. She’s currently obsessed with running, CrossFit, and yoga, but she also swims, cycles, and does just about everything else she can. You can try and keep up with her on her blog and twitter.
If you’re interested in joining the Curious team, check out our current job openings.