Hi Thinkful! I'm Mark.  

I'm a TFA Alum from Honolulu and I presently run the coolest music and dance school in Hawaii. Its been a ton of fun, but I'm really inspired by Thinkful and would love to develop your students' experience. 

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Why do you want to work at Thinkful?

Hmm. Sounds like life story time. 

Well, like a lot of other well-intentioned, 20-something year-olds, I graduated from college not caring a smidgen about making money. I wanted fulfillment. I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to change the world!

So in 2010, with K’naan set to repeat on my iPOD and TOMS fit snug, I joined Teach for America. 

It took me exactly three months of pouring everything I had into the job to feel completely exhausted and disillusioned. I didn’t lose hope in “closing the achievement gap” or in my abilities as a teacher. Instead, I lost hope in my personal intentions and assumptions from the get go.

See, I began realizing that my bullish focus on a mission statement turned me into a soulless brute. Students weren’t kids that deserved a loving teacher who would inspire and equip them, they were a hinderance to ME closing the achievement gap.  And it wasn’t just students.  I believed other teachers, parents, and even innocent passers-by on the streets were mere hindrances to ME accomplishing MY mission. In reality, what seemed at first like selfless sacrifice for the greater good was really a cheap swap of faith in financial capital for faith in social capital. 

I needed to make a change. 

Before taking a single step forward, I needed to ensure that the conditions for true transformation were present within me and within the organization I worked for -- thoughtfulness, centeredness, unadulterated intentions. I needed to love more deeply, laugh harder, hug longer -- to foolishly hope. Letting go of my “mission” was the start, and it frankly made all the difference. 

This shift in focus lead me towards empathy, which lead to trust, which lead to the single most important development of transformational change in my classroom -- true community with my students. Fast forward to today and I’m running a one of a kind music and dance school (getting here is a long story) that differentiates itself entirely by one important factor. You guessed it -- community. 

So back to the question, why am I interested in working at Thinkful?

It’s way, way more than your mission.

Don’t get me wrong, I think your mission is incredible, but nearly every startup has a compelling mission. By reading between the lines and examining the program decisions you’ve made disposed towards intellectually honest and rewarding student experiences, I wholeheartedly believe the important conditions are present at Thinkful to truly change the world.  This is exactly the type of organization I crave to work for.  If you’ll have me, I’m all in. 

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Why I'd be a good fit. 

 1) I’m driven to deliver “wow” experiences.

I’ve learned that the art of “wow”-ing extends beyond finishing projects with exceptional detail, but instead, requires deep empathy with the end user.  With an honest approach to defining the problem, it’s much more possible to develop a real solution.  There’s nothing more wow-worthy than a real solution to a real problem.

 2) I geek out on world class customer service.

This is not a joke. I was turned on to it by my experiences with Kikutext but got really into it at Branch Studios. I am obsessed with top notch support and the ingenious systems used to deliver it. To prove I'm not BSing you, here's a link to a few world class help center hubs that I'm inspired by. 

3) I’m disposed towards data-driven decision making.

Why make a decision based entirely on gut and showmanship? 

It may take more work upfront, but I’d much rather rapidly prototype with real users.   In my past experiences, this looked like hundreds of formative assessments (Teach for America),  A/B testing e-mail copy (Kikutext), and obsessively tracking client information to make curriculum decisions (Branch Studios). 

4) I love learning, and learn quickly. 

From recruiting college interns to pull off an ambitious curriculum, to searching forums for java script tutorials, to renovating an old Kodak warehouse to encourage collaborative learning. Whatever the job may be, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and learn rapidly to get things done.

5) I love games (especially board games). 

From Settlers to Keythedral to Hold ‘em, I’m so down. No where does it explicitly state that your team likes board games, but I have a strong hunch that you do!

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My Past Projects

Download my traditional resume here. Warning -- it's boring. Instead, explore a more visual representation of my work experiences below.

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Contact Me

My e-mail:  markchristophermcdonald@gmail.com

My phone number: 808-386-0266