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Academy senior, Josh Lurie '18 is bringing innovation to the government. Josh is co-founder of Town Square, a software designed to help improve constituent relations for legislators. Here, he shares how frustration can be the best inspiration for innovation…
What project are you working on right now?
My Garage Experience project is a software solution to support our elected officials’ offices. This project was inspired by friends who were interning at government offices. They complained about how frustrating it was to process all the constituents’ messages. I then worked with some Academy friends to flesh out the idea. With this software, we are increasing a representative’s effectiveness in processing, understanding and responding to constituent sentiment. We automatically sort incoming constituent emails and derive clear insights. We will also add SMS, Facebook message, WhatsApp, etc. as official communication channels for an office processed by our software.
With our software, representatives have an easy way to respond to segments of their district, allowing them to better continue conversation with constituents. Ultimately, we are decreasing office manual tasks, delivering insights into constituent issues, and providing better communication between constituents and representatives.
Is there a leader or mentor who inspires you?
My friends. They motivate me to explore new opportunities and build innovative products.
Is there an inspirational quote you live by?
“When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Tell us a bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?
I was looking for a program focused on innovation. More than the skills of business, design, and engineering, I was looking for a school that requires innovation and attracts entrepreneurs.
What advice would you give to a freshmen?
No matter what happens or what obstacles get in your way, your determination will lead you to success in whatever you want.
Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?
In college I have been a student government senator, radio host, committee lead in an innovation student organization, team lead in a consulting student organization, fraternity board member, graphic designer for an anti-genocide student organization, executive board member of a religious student organization, and player on three intramural teams.
What the one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?
English Table Manners and Etiquette
What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
Laptop, headphones, tons of chargers, a sweater, and a pen.
Favorite app or website?
My favorite web app is Google Sheets because it allows me to develop and easily work on huge Excel documents and models with my friends.
Favorite class at USC and why?
Disruptive Innovation because it was a class that required constant teamwork, design, engineering and business skills. Moreover, the expectations of us were higher than what we had for ourselves. It was definitely one of the most intense and rewarding classes I’ve taken.
Favorite way to de-stress:
In my free time I work on developing a fantasy football analytics site.
Thank you Josh!