Brett Connison is a co-founder at Beyond the Ballot, a political services platform targeted at connecting politicians and voters. Brett graduated from Louisiana State University in Information Systems and Decision Sciences and remained in Louisiana working in various aspects of IT. Brett has over 10 years of experience managing IT operations and software projects for both public and private entities including IBM, LSU, and the State of Louisiana. Brett is also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and is always looking at ways that technology and software can make our lives better.
In a former life, Brett was considered a pretty good poker player, winning hands in house games as well as tournaments along the Gulf Coast. After having 4 boys in 3 years (including twins), his poker skills don’t get that much practice anymore so he traded the casinos for a family life. Brett now enjoys hanging out with his wife Jennifer and playing outside with his sons Owen (5), Parker (3), Jack (3), and Ben (2).
See how he answered our questions below:
What is the most exciting thing you are working on right now?
Our business, Beyond the Ballot, has recently released our Beta version of www.beyondtheballot.com, an online political services platform focused on connecting voters and politicians. Politicians claim their profile so they can update their own information from our custom control panel, making it easy to manage their own website. These political profiles give voters a quick look at a candidate for upcoming elections – bios, pictures, social media feeds, political history, and blog feeds make researching a candidate very easy for voters.
As we grow, we will be adding many features, such as searching by upcoming elections and the ability to endorse a candidate (The Times Picayune endorses XYZ Candidate for Mayor). We will continue to grow the site based on candidate and voter feedback on the features they want to see.
Voter research is very important and we are creating a clean, simple, platform where it can all be done in one location.
If you wrote a regular column for Silicon Bayou News what would it be about and what would you name it?
It would be titled “Isn’t There a Better Way?” and it would be focused on all the frustrating areas of our lives that remain unchanged in technology even though the tools and knowledge are readily available. My first article would highlight the horrendous inefficiencies of a doctor’s office, their lack of adopting tools and technology that could make their lives easier and improve on the patient experience.
If you could win any award in the world, which would you be most proud to possess?
Dad/Husband of the Year.
If you were stuck on an elevator for two hours, what one person (dead or alive) would you choose to be stuck with?
IYO, which institution is most due for disruption?
If you had to pick a drink to describe yourself (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) what would it be?
Bourbon and Coke.
Tell us about your biggest failure.
I was part of a startup called Classes on Demand, a company focused on video-casting university lectures, complete with audio, video, and computer input (powerpoint, excel, internet). We researched our equipment, built our website, received our first contract, and we did it at no cost the university. Adoption and feedback was well received by the students who paid to view their lectures, but it was a tough sell to the university who was going through budget issues. I never thought it would be so hard to sell a free service to an entity where the true cost was passed on to the user who was willing to pay. We learned many valuable lessons and are using that experience to grow our current company.
What’s your favorite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon?
Anything and everything with my wife and kids.
If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If you could live in any other time period, which would you choose?
The American Revolution.
What are you most excited about happening on the Silicon Bayou that you aren’t directly involved in?
I recently went to PitchNight #14 at SeNSE BR, and saw Sean Simone put on a great night. It is nice to see like minded individuals coming together and promoting entrepreneurship in Louisiana.
The standard superpower dichotomy: