Meet Mike Durst: Inspire’s CTO and Second Employee
A Q&A session with our Chief Technology Officer about his journey at Inspire
We have audacious goals to re-imagine the world’s approach to energy and build products that contribute to a brighter energy future. It’s no surprise that our technology team plays a major role in building the tools and platforms to help us get there. Mike Durst, our Chief Technology Officer and second employee, has been on the Inspire journey since the beginning. He has played a critical role in leading us to the summit we envision: A world where every home is a smart home, powered by clean energy.
As we continue to roll out new smart energy products this year, we’re leaning on Mike and his team more than ever to build technology that powers impactful, engaging, and efficient products. We sat down with Mike to discuss his journey and unique take on technology at Inspire:
Q: What do you do at Inspire?
I run the technology team at Inspire. My role has evolved quite a bit from the beginning. It started with writing a lot of code, helping to define our product roadmap, and occasionally shopping for plants for the office. Now, more than ever, the most important part of my job is to find smart, passionate people who want to join us on our mission.
Q: You were Inspire’s second employee. Can you tell us the story behind that?
I love technology; I love working with dynamic, smart people, and I was frustrated with the current state of energy. First and foremost, I intrinsically believe that the technology I love can be used as a force for good. When Patrick (CEO) shared his vision of what he wanted to build together, and we studied the problems that were in front of us, I could see the role that technology could play in solving those problems. I jumped at the chance to work together and build a team to get this done.
Q: Tell me about a project you’re currently working on that’s exciting for you.
We're working on three major projects right now:
1 - our clean energy subscription product; 2 - integrating smart home technology with our platform; and 3 - our rewards program. Together, this is our attempt to solve for sustainability — incentivizing our members towards the cleanest form of energy, the kind they don’t have to use. What’s most exciting is putting these pieces together to create singular, amazing experiences for our members. This is the realization of a big part of our mission.
Q: What’s something you want people to know about working at Inspire?
We’re tackling really difficult problems, and we have the people and infrastructure to put a serious dent in solving them, but there's always so much more to do. Working at Inspire at this stage unlocks your greatest potential. There are few roadblocks, few obstacles, and no red-tape here. You'll find an environment that yearns for new ideas and provides the infrastructure to turn them into a reality.
Q: What have you accomplished at Inspire that you’re most proud of?
I'm really proud of the technology we've built together to solve some real problems. I love our subscription energy product. I love the crazy amount of technology that was required to create such a seamless, simple signup process. I'm really proud of that. But I think the greatest source of pride I have now, is seeing our culture in action everyday. I love seeing this group of passionate, smart, hard-working individuals work together everyday to collectively achieve our mission. I'm lucky to be a part of this.
Q: What opportunities do you see for Technology in Philadelphia?
The great majority of engineers who have shown interest in working at Inspire all share the same desire. They want to work at a mission-driven, technology-first company that builds great products. The talent is overwhelmingly there. We need to collectively keep creating great opportunities for these engineers and technologists to do their best work.
Q: What’s your favorite spot in Philly that most people don’t know about?
There are few secrets left that I know of! Maybe that's a sign that I'm getting older and out of the loop, but I love Little Fish in our neighborhood. It's a quiet little spot with some great, creative seafood. Philly is a great town with so much to love - from the food to the history. My favorite part of living in Philly is wandering through some of those little alleyways on the walk back home. You can still hear the echoes of the clip, clop over the cobblestone.
Mike has built the foundation of Inspire’s technology, and his philosophy of using technology as a force for good is a special part of what it means to be an Avenger. Our culture is about embracing risks and new opportunities with tenacity, curiosity, and grit.
Mike is continuing to add great new technologists and engineers to his team. He’s specifically looking for engineers who are passionate about technology and treat it like a craft; those who are not just relentlessly curious about technology, but also the world and their place in it.
What makes a great tech Avenger?
Engineers who are biased towards action and want to work in a dynamic environment, where they can bring a diverse set of experiences that will help them challenge assumptions, so that we can collectively crush our mission.
Does this sound like you? Check our open positions here.
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