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Backer Spotlight: Meet Jimmy!


It’s gift giving season once again. Working in the ethics and compliance industry means heightened awareness of company gift policies, value of vendor gifts, and whether any of that can be mis-construed as bribery and the like. But for many of us in the corporate world, that also means tokens of appreciation for teammates and colleagues in the office. As the team lead I’ve always tried to be creative about tokens of appreciation. One year it was Kiva credits to raise awareness that for as little as $25, you can make a huge impact to an entrepreneur halfway across the world. Another year it was a Space Pen. As an avid space fan, I wanted to share my passion for space without putting everyone on a rocket.

So this year, I had some bigger goals. There were three things I wanted to accomplish: 

1. Get to Know Each Other: we just merged two companies and two teams, so getting to know each other’s interests and passions was important.

2. Get Involved: we’re all geeks at some level and should be involved in things that aren’t just our day-job.

3. Experiment: explore, try, widen your view - think about how to help others explore.

With these goals, what came to mind immediately was Having backed other projects before, and seeing the wide range of questions scientists (of all types) are trying to answer, I knew this was it! 

So what was the “gift”?

I chose to expose my team to (and none of them were aware of it before) by asking each of them to find a project, fund it, and share with the rest of the team what they chose and why it was of interest. In return, I would provide a gift card of the same amount to them.

The result?

The team had a blast. They thought it was creative, they loved exploring and they shared their interests with each other. Interests ranged from lung development in premature babies to next-gen rovers for Mars to the impact of stress on memory loss. We’re hopeful that these projects will successfully yield answers to continue momentum for their respective scientists.

I’m sure I’ll repeat this next year, but that in-between, our team will find time to continue to explore their passions and get involved.

This guest post was written by Jimmy Lin who backed his first project in January 2015.

Jimmy Lin has over 18 years of experience creating and leading growth strategies for organizations of all sizes, including NAVEX Global, The Network Inc, Oversight Systems and UPS Supply Chain Solutions. He has an MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and an undergraduate Aerospace Engineering degree with honors from the University of Florida.  He is passionate about space exploration and is a frequent contributor with the NASA Social community in his free time.