Watch this inspiring summary of Rob Pyers' journey from laid-off grocery bagger to major player in following the money in California politics.
Despite being the home state of Silicon Valley, California's online resources often seem designed by a Kafka fan. That's where Rob comes in:
After joining the Target Book, Pyers taught himself how to code, mostly by watching YouTube videos. Two years later, the 41-year-old has built its systems from the ground up, and now runs the website from his cramped West Hollywood one-bedroom. He is often the first to publicize major donations and new candidates, making his Twitter feed invaluable to campaign consultants and journalists alike.
Pyers, who describes himself as "95 lbs of concentrated tech geek," has become an expert on pulling data from hundreds of voter databases, election filings, and campaign finance disclosures. He's done all this despite the fact that the state's main resource for campaign information is an inaccessible hodgepodge of ZIP archives and tables that even the current Secretary of State has called a "Frankenstein monster of outdated code."
It's so great when someone finds a calling that helps everyone else (except secretive political donors).