Our Mission

We're a diverse group of people who share a common set of ideals. We believe in supporting racial equality, gender equality, and equal rights for the LGBTQ community. We believe in prioritizing environmental sustainability while bettering the lives of American workers.

We also believe it's never been more important to firmly and effectively stand up for those values than it is right now, while we're all in the throes of Donald Trump's presidency.

We built Nudge for Change because we wanted a way to ensure that we weren't inadvertently funding companies and politicians that act in direct opposition to the issues we care about—without having to do hours of research every time we needed to grab a bite to eat or run an errand.

We hope that once retailers start taking note of all our small nudges, we'll be able to collectively give them one big push toward more ethical business choices. That way we can all nudge the world just a little bit closer to becoming a better place for all of us.

Our Vision

We want to help Americans collectively change corporate behavior for the better. We plan to do this by giving users the critical information they need, when they need it, making it easy to reward companies that make ethical choices, and avoid companies that don't.

Ultimately, we aim to radically transform the way that businesses interact with the world by empowering users to act on their beliefs in an easy, sustainable way.

Our Method

Given the current culture and expectations around non-profit organizations, we believe we are better suited to scale a social-good focused company in the for-profit sector, with strong accountability measures in place to ensure that we serve our user community well.

For more background on our thoughts on creating a for-profit company with a social-good mission, we'd encourage you to check out activist and fundraiser Dan Pallota's TED talk. It's not perfect, but we think it's an excellent starting point for further discussion.

At Nudge for Change, we have big dreams about transforming the way businesses operate for social good. In order to realize these dreams, we need to scale our operations as much as possible, and that requires scaling our funding.

We want to be transparent about the fact that this means we'll be exploring advertising options in the near future. We plan to be very selective and fully transparent about our choice of advertising partners. We're dedicated to working only with companies that operate ethically and sustainably, in keeping with Nudge for Change's overall mission.

We also want to be upfront about the fact that our ability to scale our funding will depend partly on anonymized usage statistics generated by our users. You may have noticed that we don't ask for any information about who you are, or require the creation of a login. That's not an accident. We want to deliver information to our users and, in return, learn what our users, in general, care about. But we never want to threaten your privacy or violate your trust.

We know that you're putting your faith in us when you use our app, and that you depend on the reliability of the information we give you. We take that responsibility very seriously, and we hope to continue to earn that trust in the way we operate.

Who We Are

Aaron Hayes, CEO

Aaron Attended Humboldt State University before dropping out and going on to attend—and drop out of—Diablo Valley College, Solano Community College, Vista Community College, and Cal State Monterey Bay.

Between then and now, he worked his way up in the tech world, starting as a QA intern in the 90's, working sales at CompUSA, and eventually doing IT consulting and later IT and operations management at several game studios including Planet Moon Studios, Bigpoint GMBH, Nihilistic Software and Kixeye.

In addition to being the founder and CEO of Nudge for Change, Aaron is also a Co-founder and Managing partner at The Batchery, a startup incubator/accelerator in Oakland, Ca, as well as the Tech Ops Manager at world-renowned game studio Double Fine Productions. Aaron started Nudge for Change because he's a firm believer that tech can be a force for good in the world.

Brian Zimmer, CTO

Brian is a true full-stack engineer, experienced with low-level firmware engineering all the way up through front-end development, though he primarily specializes in backend development and infrastructure these days. He studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UC Berkeley, where much of his coursework focused on embedded systems. His first job out of college involved working on 4K video scaling chips. He decided to switch to back-end development due to the ability to reach and deliver value to a much higher number of users in less time and with fewer resources. As a back-end engineer at Thumbtack, he learned many lessons about scalable application engineering, user-centric product development, and making informed, data-driven decisions.

Brian is thrilled to work on Nudge for Change as it represents a tangible way to move from an awareness of corporate America's problems towards specific, effective action—an ideal way to combine his desire to affect social change with his skills in technology.

Swing dance is a great passion—Brian has owned and helped run multiple swing dancing venues around the Bay Area, and taught lessons at most of them (as well as companies like Google). He also loves to go backpacking. Late last year he completed a week-long, solo backpacking trip on the High Sierra Trail, and hopes to work up to more ambitious trips in the future.

Stella Greene, COO

Stella studied fine art and photography, but has spent much of her career working as a specialized project manager at major ad agencies. She has facilitated the development and production of vast, multi-platform creative ad projects in the U.S. and internationally for a broad range of clients, including wine labels, finance companies, and tech giants like Microsoft, AMD, and Hitachi.

Stella joined Nudge for Change because she wanted to help reveal the truth about corporate ethics behind all the glossy images—a role she's particularly well-suited for, given her expertise in creating those glossy images. Stella is also a process and workflow expert who delights in finding and connecting talented creatives, and facilitating their collaborative efforts toward a common goal.

When she's not masterminding creative projects, Stella can often be found getting blissfully lost in stories, either through binge-reading big stacks of books or consuming excessive quantities of digital media in one fell swoop.

Esme Gaisford, Head of Research

Esme is a researcher, science writer, molecular biologist and classically trained philosopher. She has worked in a variety of academic research institutions including Temple University, City of Hope Hospital, and the University of Chicago.

Esme is passionate about finding ways to apply scientific questioning to every realm of our lives—a skill set she has put to good use in establishing Nudge for Change's rigorous research method for scoring businesses.

When she isn't busy conducting research, Esme enjoys backpacking and hiking around the Bay Area, playing board games, and documenting the adventures of her cats, Winson and Hermes, on Instagram.

Sal Aldana, Senior Engineer

Sal is a mobile application developer with an extensive background in iOS, Android and Web Service design and integration. He received both his Master of Science in software engineering and his MBA from Colorado Technical University.

Sal specializes in communicating complex technical concepts to non-technical folks with enthusiasm, kindness, and clarity—a talent that has rendered him an indispensable team member at Nudge for Change.

Outside of work, Sal enjoys comics and RPG games, and despite his amiable demeanor, he has always preferred villains over heroes—mostly due to their superior costumes. He spends most of his free time hanging out with his wife of nearly ten years and their four children, who are also pretty into his supervillain outfits.

Walter Kim, Senior iOS Engineer

In addition to working at Nudge for Change, Walter is currently an iOS software engineer at Audible, and previously worked at San Francisco startups Thumbtack and Launchpad Toys. Prior to that, he completed a masters program in Information Design & Technology at Georgia Tech, and an undergraduate program in Legal Studies at UC Berkeley.

Walter's primary passion is understanding and improving human experience, which has led him to study cognitive science, psychology, sociology, economics, play, ethical and political philosophy, phenomenology, semiotics, dramatic writing, linguistics, user experience (UX) design, and visual aesthetics. He joined Nudge for Change because it affords an opportunity to solve a collective action problem and produce positive, real-world change while also presenting a unique and interesting set of UX challenges to solve.

When not software engineering or waxing philosophical, Walter enjoys TV and film, board games, karaoke, and freestyle dancing.

Cory Hughart, Creative Director

Cory is an art school graduate who found his calling in pixels and code. After earning his BFA in digital arts and game design, he went on to become a full-stack web developer, lending his development and design expertise to companies like Choice Provisions (formerly Gaijin Games), Double Fine Productions, and Blackbird Digital.

Cory has a passion for balancing his art and design training with logic and order. He is incredibly grateful to have made a career of turning simple words and rules into something that comes to life with color and movement. He joined Nudge for Change as a way of channeling that gratitude into a collective effort to make the world a better place.

His love of video games also runs deep: In preparation for his wedding two years ago, Cory 3D-modelled and 3D-printed two titanium wedding bands that feature the Triforce from Zelda and the Master Emerald from Sonic the Hedgehog. He also has a whole lot of love for his chihuahua and partner in crime Sampson, making origami, and growing food in his backyard.

Peter Burghardt, CFO

Peter is a numbers and poetry enthusiast whose business management experience ranges from seed stage startup development to local nonprofit financing. He has worked with over 50 Bay Area startups as an operations manager at the Batchery, where he enjoys helping entrepreneurs take their businesses from idea to reality.

Theo Lane, IT Director

Theo is an IT expert and experienced full-stack generalist. Utilizing his special combination of technical and soft skills, and a broad array of practical knowledge, he is a master of all things outlier.

Theo is passionate about finding a positive outcome in any situation. At Nudge for Change, he specializes in setting up tools and systems, QA, social media, recruiting, and keeping up team morale. In his free time, Theo loves puzzle solving, cat herding, Lego, gaming, and all things nerd.

Amir Khazaieli, Social Techmaster

Amir is an electrical engineer and serial entrepreneur who got his start building circuits and making videos in his garage at age nine. Since then, he has earned a degree at the University of California Santa Barbara and founded or co-founded a number of innovative and successful start-ups.

Amir spends most of his time thinking about artificial Intelligence and bridging the gap between brains and computers, the Blockchain, and the urban communities of the future. He joined Nudge for Change because he believes technology should empower humans to build the world we all deserve.

When he isn't focused on engineering the future, Amir enjoys experimenting with lasers and curating his collection of raw denim.

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Money is power, and Nudge for Change wants to help you leverage yours wisely. Join us, and soon all our small purchases will add up to big change.

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