Go say “hi”.

I’d never heard of Y Combinator. But my friend Terry had. So when he saw the Y logo on a laptop, he searched for the other words on the laptop: New Story.

He emailed me a link that told the story of New Story, a non-profit that builds houses to replace tents in disaster areas. And then Terry said that the co-founder of New Story, Brett Hagler, was sitting across the airport lounge from us.

I tweeted Brett. But Terry got up and walked across the room. He introduced us to Brett. And Brett spent ten of the fifteen minutes before his flight telling us about New Story. And about his story.

It’s pretty remarkable, the work that this group is doing to build neighborhoods. They built 151 homes in Haiti. They are helping a corporation fund another 115 homes. They are planning their next project in El Salvador. And looking to Nepal. And they started 18 months ago.

They crowdsource the funding. They hire local builders. They put in wells and other infrastructure. They work with local organizations to provide job training.

They are a non-profit that works with the creativity of a tech startup. And Brett is in it because he cares. And he wants to use his passion and skills to build communities. Not just community, a vague sense of connectedness. Communities, where people find relationship and safety and futures.

And then it was time for him to catch his plane. Before he left, we prayed for him.

Having friends who know things you don’t, who do things you can’t is remarkable. I could be frustrated that I’m not the kind of person who walks across lounges. But I’m grateful that I was traveling with a friend who is. I do what I do, he does what he does, and as we do that work together, we challenge each other, we complement each other.

And we meet remarkable people like Brett.


I published this May 18, 2016 on Linkedin. And Terry and I were working together as a team from Arbor Research Group.