Before recently, I hadn’t had the chance to meet any computer whizzes at Brown–or, for that matter, anywhere else–so I don’t quite know what to expect when I venture into the CIT for the first time to meet Graham Carling. He takes me up to the 5th floor of the building and as we walk past old computers on display he tells me, “It’s usually pretty deserted up here.” And he’s right: the two top floors feel like a ghost town. I find myself wondering whether I should have chosen a concentration with its own swipe-access-only building. This place is like a goddamn personal library.
I’ve reached out to Graham to hear more about an app he’s been a part of for close to two years, Push For Pizza – an iPhone application that streamlines the process of ordering pizza. If the name sounds familiar, it’s probably because Push for Pizza went viral last fall with an awesome video [above] that the team made for the launch of the app. The video and the app caught the attention of Forbes, New York Times, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post–for Christ’s sake, it featured on Steve Harvey. It was everywhere. But don’t Google “Push for Pizza” and expect Graham’s face to pop up. He’s not on the public side of the app. Instead, he’s busy developing it – building and maintaining the complicated code that makes the app function.
“It’s not that simple,” Graham says as he explains some of the intricacies of how the app actually goes about ordering pizza for a customer. “We first thought about writing a code that went onto Dominos.com and just filled out forms…we could’ve done that. But that would’ve been boring.” Without getting too specific, Push For Pizza version 1.0 worked by sending a customer’s information to Ordr.in, where the order was processed, confirmed and then routed to the pizzeria. “It was extremely janky and so inconsistent…it was not good,” Graham says. Still, the Push for Pizza team released the app to the public in August of 2014 with phenomenal media success. “Then the VCs started to get involved.”