Social Impact Tech Start Up - Student Positions Available
Sow is an early-stage start-up building a tech platform to catalyze social progress across issues like climate change, protection of democracy, and more. We are looking to hire over 30 students with diverse backgrounds, undergrad or grad, finishing their schooling at the end of the 2022-23 school year. These student-employees will be deeply involved in building our business, organization, and product from the ground up.
This is a unique opportunity for students to have significant responsibility, earn equity, work directly with the Founder/CEO, and create something deeply meaningful and impactful. Students from any college and major are welcome to apply. Applicants will be interviewed and hired on a rolling basis. Please find our
Sow is a Public Interest Technology company building a social platform that will function as an operating system for civil society. When it comes to solving the biggest problems and making real progress, improving our information and communications systems is one of the biggest levers we can pull.
The way media is served to us and targets our weaknesses to keep us watching and scrolling has damaged our individual well-being and caused collective paralysis and delusion. Everywhere there is a spark and flame, our media ecosystem pours fuel on it, broadcasts it live, and algorithmically amplifies it to get engagement and sell ads.
If you want to live in a functioning Democracy on a habitable planet, then creating a replacement Info/Comms system to serve Civil Society is absolutely essential. Democracy cannot function with systems like Facebook, Twitter, and Cable News housing and steering our political info and conversations. We need a replacement that helps us focus on the real issues, understand them, and solve them together. That is what Sow is creating. We are redesigning the technology of social media to serve the public, meet the moment, and spur systemic change.
We are hiring for over 30 positions on multiple teams and are looking for student-employees to work part-time positions (10-15 hours a week) for the 2022-23 school year with an option to sign full-time contracts starting in Summer 2023.
We know how incredibly capable digital natives are, and we want to harness the energy, intellect, and creativity of our generation to build something transformative. Our teams are designed to be interdisciplinary and will primarily work asynchronously. Student-employees will need to be present for a one-hour weekly meeting with their team and a once monthly 90-minute all hands. Student employees will need to have their own computer and internet access (company laptops will be provided pending fundraising).
Compensation will take the form of stock grants and $1,000 a month in a debt note payable by the company to the employee as revenues are generated following launch in 2023. This is a rare and exciting opportunity for students. Most internships do not have real responsibility, and finding them at companies doing genuinely purposeful and impactful work is very difficult. You will also get a stake in what you are building, and when the business makes money, your wages owed will be paid out.
At best, you help create a generation-defining product and company with an unparalleled positive impact, secure generational wealth, set up a long and successful career in purposeful work, and create your own full-time dream position for after graduation. At worst, you get to work on an inspiring, idealistic mission where you get to flex the education and skills you’ve been accumulating your whole life on a diverse team of young people with a common goal, and get some amazing experience. Below are the teams we are hiring for and the positions available. Please only apply to one position.
Team Mission Statement: Create the public’s most widely trusted and empowering go-to source of information for the most pressing collective issues.
This team will provide an all-in-one source of information for priority issues that creates levels of trust not seen since Walter Cronkite and combines that with the power and utility that data and digital technology enable. We will be the one place where people can feel confident they are sheltered from the noise and nonsense that pervades the internet so they can actually learn about and understand important topics. The Information Team will do the work and build the system to earn that trust and provide unparalleled utility.
Information Associate (15 Jobs Available)
Information Associates will be tasked with topical database creation, organization, data structure, maintenance, improvement, and daily operation. Practically, this means scraping outlets and channels for content relating to the issue you are working on, enriching the database with qualitative information, and creating the knowledge map of your issue that will dictate how we organize content and break down the database internally to guarantee comprehensiveness and quality. Information Associates will gain an in-depth understanding of the topics they curate the databases for.
Functionally, the Information Associates provide the layer of sorting, filtering, organizing, cleaning, and displaying content that allows our users to have a degree of separation from the noisy mess of the internet at large and finally have a place online free of sensationalism, tribalism, and propaganda, where only the quality, important, relevant information makes its way in front of them. These databases will be helpful for the entire public - everyone from a citizen who just started wondering about an issue for the first time to someone with a Ph.D. in it.
Additionally, the Information Associates will be leading the effort to create a US News and Report style scoring methodology for critical systems. Think of how much the US News & World Report University Rankings impact how colleges act, and then imagine that power applied to energy, food, water, voting, economics, education, politics, and more at the local, state, and national levels. What we measure matters, and providing these dashboards and rankings helps us focus on what the systems are actually supposed to do so we can work towards improvement.
You are perfect for the Information Team if you are disillusioned by the current media ecosystem but know deep down that it could be a catalyst for American democracy instead of an albatross around its neck. You believe in the promise of journalism and want to figure out how to help the best parts of the 4th Estate find their footing in this new digital era and thrive instead of shriveling and dying. You have a deep passion for one of the three issues we are launching with (Climate, Democracy, Economy), and you believe in the power of information and communications. If you get excited by the idea of creating the best system for informing the public ever built and being responsible for providing citizens with empowering knowledge about the most important problems in the world and how they can be part of solutions, this is your team.
The Information Team has 15 openings available, split evenly between three divisions: Climate Change, Democracy, and Economy. The purpose behind the work, therefore, varies a bit. If you are interested in the role of Information Associate, please read how the purpose behind your work changes based on which division you work in, and please apply for only one division.
Information Associate - Climate Division: Climate Change is the largest, most complex problem humans have ever faced, and America is the lead sponsor in creating it, has the most resources to mitigate and adapt to it, has the most innovative industry capable of technological innovation, massive internal conflict over this problem, and has placed itself as the leader of the global community. Our actions on climate change are unbelievably influential, and it is paramount that we get this right. The Info Associates working in the Climate Division are responsible for providing the best publicly available source of information and knowledge to help spur progress on arguably the most important problem in human history for the citizens of the country that has had the largest role in creating this challenge and will have one of if not the largest role to play in solving it. Information Associate - Democracy Division: America is the oldest democracy in the world, and we are perilously close to collapsing into chaos and losing it all. We have an apathetic voter base, bloated and wasteful bureaucracy, broken institutions, elections and voting rights under threat, political extremism and violence, insurgent fascism, hyper-polarization, and entrenched corruption. Somehow, we have to figure out how to get our democratic system back on track so that we are not paralyzed in our efforts to address climate change, healthcare, education, the economy, infrastructure, and so much more. The Info Associates working in the Democracy Division will provide the source of knowledge and information to the public that will empower citizens to rightsize, fix, take back control of, and wield their governments. This information source will be the fuel that drives public non-partisan efforts to reinstate self-governance in the United States and regenerate our democracy and political culture at every level. Information Associate - Economy Division: The American economy is a behemoth and is the fundamental system that all of American society connects to. We have had the largest GDP in the world since at least the 1920’s, and our economy has provided immense power, skyrocketing standards of living, and influence on the world in a way that is both awe-inspiring and perverse. The ripple effects of American economic activity are hard to overstate. How our markets behave influences how the entire world lives. This makes it all the more worrying that we have such structural issues in our economy that make it increasingly perilously structured while funneling capital and power to a vanishingly small number of people. The National Debt, wealth inequality, neoliberal ideology, tax evasion, overfinancialization, personal debt, industry consolidation, the evaporation of the middle class, purchasing of political power and regulatory capture - all of it feeds into a corrupting, decaying flow of influence on the economy at large. The Info Associates in the Economy Division will provide the source of information to the American public that allows the 99% to understand how this machine works, what is broken, and how they can aggregate and wield power in their local markets to fix it and create common prosperity that is fairly distributed and ethically produced. We don’t actually know what an American Capitalist economy looks like when it is bent to meet the needs of the entire society instead of just the ruling elites. The Info Associates on this team will provide the knowledge to the citizenry that helps them carry out that bending.
Team Mission Statement: Serve the ecosystems of individuals and organizations working on the most pressing issues by acting as catalysts that improve the size, effectiveness, strength, and connectivity of these communities.
This team is the ultimate support for the communities already doing the work to address big issues and are effectively consultants and organizers that are free-roaming and choose the spots to help that have the most impact. They will research these ecosystems and find ways to connect them more deeply, facilitate meaningful conversations, point them towards opportunities for shared wins, and help them coordinate actions.
Community Associate (9 Jobs Available)
Community Team Associates will be in charge of researching the issue ecosystem of their choice to gain an understanding of all the actors, and will be tasked with identifying shared win opportunities and implementing change infrastructure to help the communities achieve their goals and become more collectively powerful and effective. They will also be in charge of engaging the broader internet community that cares about their topic by meeting them where they are at, which means engaging in conversation and sharing information on all major social media platforms where that community has a sizable presence. This work can be summarized as - Research, Engagement, Facilitation, Connection, and Organization.
We have to be careful as a society of framing everything in terms of war and battle, but the analogy is very useful here for describing the work of Community Associates. If all the individuals on the ground and organizations already working on a given issue are the platoons, scattered militia members, and defense contractors, then Community Associates are the intelligence agents and coordinators acting as the nervous system of the community, helping connections form, communications flow, strategies align, forces grow, and progress happen. They are the ultimate support staff for those who are doing the actual fighting. By understanding the issue ecosystems and all their actors, the problems to be addressed, the local environments, and potential solutions, Community Associates will be indispensable to their topical community at large because we are not competing against anyone in the community or looking to make progress dependent on us, we are trying to make the overall community as successful at achieving their shared goals as possible. Community Associates, at their core, are catalysts.
You are perfect for the Community Team if you naturally play a facilitating role in groups and enjoy introducing people to new opportunities, helping people solve hard problems, celebrating others’ success, and have excellent communication skills. If you play(ed) sports, you enjoy setting up a score just as much as scoring yourself and get satisfaction from doing the non-glamorous things that really win games. If you get excited by the idea of being a connector and facilitator, then this is your team.
The Community Team has 9 Associate openings, and the structure mirrors the Information Team, with the 9 positions spread evenly across 3 Divisions - Climate, Democracy, and Economy. The purpose behind the work changes in each division while the mechanics remain largely the same.
Community Associate - Climate Division (apply here): There are millions of people in America itching for action on climate change, massive pools of capital ready to invest and donate, and all sorts of organizations already doing incredibly important work. Our country is most responsible for creating this crisis and generated enormous wealth in doing so, buried the threat for decades to keep profiting, and now, we find ourselves in the most important leadership role in solving it. This domestic community working on climate is not connected well enough to wield power and effect change at the scale and pace needed. Community Associates in the Climate Division are tasked with getting to know intimately the ecosystem of individuals and organizations that want to resolve this problem and doing everything they can to make this community more capable of achieving their goals. We have tremendous responsibility for the climate crisis, and Community Associates in the Climate Division will be helping a community flush with talent, capital, shared goals, and deep responsibility coalesce into a stronger unified coalition to rise to the occasion. Community Associate - Democracy Division (apply here): We are on the verge of losing our democracy. Experts on democratic collapse are ringing all the warning bells and flashing all the red lights possible. The situation is dire but far from concluded. While our political system has been captured by extremes and corruption, Americans still want democracy and are fearful of losing it. There are all sorts of organizations working to mend divides, increase voter turnout, create community around shared values instead of hyper-focusing on differences, get money out of politics, and fix the machinations of governance so that citizens are actually represented. In short, there is plenty of will, talent, and desire to see American Democracy protected, strengthened, and improved instead of sacrificed at the altar of grievance, hatred, and polarization. Community Associates in the Democracy Division will be catalysts for the regeneration of democratic society in an America that desperately needs it. Community Associate - Economy Division (apply here): America is the largest, most innovative, and most prosperous economy in the history of humanity, but it is becoming a house of cards. We haven't had wealth inequality and consolidation like this since just before the Great Depression. Most Americans cannot cover a small emergency. Our economy cannot thrive or survive long without a middle class, which decades of neoliberal policy have all but destroyed. We have a massive skills gap that will continue growing in critical industries. People are angry at the injustice the economy produces and are primed for a bottom-up revolution. The recent wave of labor organizing is the first drumbeat. Community Associates in the Economy Division will be helping to weave the communities of people together that can effect change by influencing companies and markets. A more fair, innovative, safe, competitive, and genuinely free economy is better for everyone, and the Community Associates will help this come about through their work. America has unbelievable talent, an innovative culture, and limitless potential - Community Associates in the Economy Division will help bring about the next iteration of the American economy where truly common prosperity can occur.
Team Mission Statement: Generate, allocate, and manage the capital that fuels our operations, growth, innovation, and investments in perpetuity.
This team is responsible for creating the system that regulates the flow of capital through the organization. How we manage our finances, banking, investments, accounting, revenue, and more runs through this team. Capital to a business is like oxygen to a person, and this team will ensure that we have the capital to keep going, growing, and improving for decades as we deliver value and serve the public.
Capital Associate (3 Openings)
Capital Team Associates will be in charge of researching capital markets, preparing and executing a fundraising strategy with the CEO, and putting in place systems for banking, accounting, and regulatory requirements. They will also be tasked with implementing systems for tipping and crowdfunding early on to open the pipeline for capital from the community who are sympathetic to our mission and want to contribute and will, in the near future, be tasked with creating and building up new revenue streams.
The way we do business needs to change, and how businesses treat capital and think of profit is the primary reason why they exploit, cheat, and become corrupted. This team will be central to introducing a new theory of business and operationalizing it.
You are perfect for this team if you are fascinated by how powerful business, markets, and capital are in society and see the good they can do, but also are irate at all the ways in which business and economics have been weaponized to undermine society and the planet. If you’ve dug into neoliberalism at all and can’t believe that “greed is good” still seems to be the operating system of Corporate America and our economy, then you’re in the right place. If you have strong analytical skills and strategic thinking with a global perspective, this is your team. We will be building a business that has a unique blend of Berkshire Hathaway’s discipline and consistency, Apple’s long-term innovation and profits, and Patagonia’s responsibility and ethics. If that sounds like an inspiring challenge to you, and like a business you’d love to work for, then come help build it.
Team Mission Statement: Create the most politically empowering technologies ever for citizens of democracies.
This team will design, build, deploy, maintain, and improve the platform we provide to the public. This tool will be what citizens use to restore self-governance and address big problems in their own communities. You will be building the antithesis of the Chinese Technological Surveillance State. Where they use digital technology at scale to consolidate power and exert social control, you will take that same level of technological power and put it into the hands of citizens to empower them. Technology plays a central role in the global struggle between Autocracy and Democracy, and this team will create the best example in the world of how digital technology and Democracy can co-exist symbiotically.
Engineers (3 Openings), Designers (3 Openings), and Product Manager (1 Opening)
Designers (3 positions available) will be in charge of branding and the platform UI/UX. Engineers (3 positions available) will do the coding and problem-solving to create the platform pieces we need and ship them. The Product Manager (1 position available) will facilitate the collaboration and coordination of these two groups and work on things like messaging architecture, user journeys, and feedback mechanisms.
If you have been learning how to design and build digital products and you want to apply those skills to create something that truly matters and makes a difference, then this is your spot. If the Social Dilemma created all sorts of anger, motivation, disbelief, and lightbulb moments for you, this is your opportunity to build the antithesis of that sick method of technology and business. You will be building the software that runs on some of the most powerful and sophisticated technologies ever created - the semiconductor, internet, and smartphone, and you will introduce something that puts these technologies to work for the benefit of individuals and the public in a way that has simply never been attempted before.
This team will be doing the most important work in the tech industry. The design and creation of Sow is the work of creating infrastructure that is the backbone of a new, digital democratic institution at the exact time that our old, pre-digital institutions are collapsing. As our old ship is sinking, you will be building the bigger, better, more powerful ship that we can all jump to. If that lights a fire under you, we look forward to seeing your application.
Organizational Development Team:
Team Mission Statement: Build an unstoppable organization of innovation, public service, and execution that is the flagship, aspirational employer for a new generation of talent.
This team will be building all of the systems and architecture that allow the organization to bring in and retain diverse talent, train and develop that talent, organize it in a structure and culture that provides the best situation and support for successful work, and keep the oars moving in sync as we execute and build our platform, business, and organization.
Org Dev Associate (3 Openings)
Org Dev Associates will be creating the talent pipeline, learning and development system, cultural architecture, communications pathways, collaborative tools, and more. They will be recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, and applying recent knowledge in areas like decision-making, remote work, creativity, emotional intelligence, organizational psychology, and more.
If you learn from people like Adam Grant, Brene Brown, or Daniel Kahneman in your free time, this is perfect for you. This is where an understanding of human nature on an individual and group level is put to work in creating a world-leading organization. Corporate America is rife with rigidly hierarchical, butts-in-seats, up-or-out cultures ruled by three layers of solidly white male executives. We will build a new type of organization that stuns incumbents and old corporations not only with the quality, pace, and impact of our work but also with how we work, think, and run our organization. They’ll think we’re aliens, and we’ll expose them as dinosaurs.
Sow will be a remote-first, knowledge economy workplace that puts diversity at the core of the organization. That is a new frontier that has not been well mapped by existing organizations, and no good blueprints for this exist today. We will be among the first to create an organization in this environment that consistently performs with excellence and innovation.