Last fall, our annual MLB Challenge (read about it here if you couldn’t participate!) turned the iSchool into much more than the four walls we’re all used to – for the night, it became a think tank, a competitive arena, a 24-hr collaborative space, and most importantly, a canvas for untapped creativity.
On top of the resources the iSchool always offers its students, several employees from MLB’s Advanced Media division traveled back to their alma mater for this event, and offered their expertise to teams throughout the evening.
A little research into the MLB reps piqued my interest about Marc Squire, a 2011 graduate of the iSchool’s Information Management & Technology program, and a current MLB software engineer. He’s got an impressive resume: JPMorgan Chase, GE, Deloitte, Susan G. Komen, plus others, and most recently MLB.
But what was really interesting to me was something that you don’t see too often on resumes or LinkedIn – in 2014, Marc co-founded a web-based company called Leema.
What’s Leema? Well, to be technical, it’s an acronym for “Let Everyone Eat My Art.” It’s like an Etsy for food. By food, I mean desserts. And by that, I mean don’t look here when you’re even remotely hungry!
Marc and his partners envisioned creating “a platform for talented people to connect with their markets and showcase their passion for food,” Marc told me. “We wanted a community around food, with a marketplace/e-commerce aspect, but still a personal feel.”
A quick look at their beta site showed me that he (and his partners) have done a fabulous job doing just that. They’ve got just enough eye-catching confections to be able to offer a good selection for every occasion (or craving), but not too many that you lose the site’s personal feel.
Bakers have their own homepages, where they display their art – in the form of cookies, brownies, blondies, truffles, etc., of course – and a bit about who they are and what influenced them to become boulanger extraordinaire. Personalities and passions for creating these enticing treats show through for each vendor, and after reading their stories, you get a glimpse into their lives.
It’s been about a year since the idea for Leema was conceived, and they just launched the website. Marc’s been full-time at MLB since 2011, but he’s been able to balance working on some truly awesome projects like this one with scoping out and making some incredible headway on this new and exciting road.
“If it takes off, well, that’s the dream right?” he asked rhetorically. “Everyone wants to be their own boss.”