Trinker is a service that simplifies your social life by providing an easy, secure way to share your nightlife activities, keep track of your drinking buddies, see what parts of town are hoppin’, and even save you some cash. Trinker represents my first foray into entrepreneurship, and has been a constant source of inspiration, energy, and learning for me.

Trinker was first brought to life through conversations with Rob Brooks, a good friend of mine, and when we decided to participate in Startup Weekend: Madison 2012. Armed with the skeleton of a back-end I’d built on PHP and MongoDB, and my knowledge of jQuery Mobile, I set my team out to do as much validation as possible while I threw together as much of a functional prototype as I could based on what Rob and I had sketched out. I actually invented the Trinker logo when hailing a team after giving the 60-second pitch on Friday night, and designed our first business cards that night.

After running into some severe performance limitations with jQuery Mobile, and being inspired by Assanka’s (now FT Labs) Financial Times mobile app, I decided to re-design the app and re-write the front-end using vanilla Javascript and CSS. This was my first foray into mobile web development as well, and due to my relative inexperience with Javascript at the time, I ran into a lot of issues, and ultimately decided this approach wasn’t sustainable and went about re-writing it a third time using YUI and a new back-end built on top of Ruby on Rails.

Unfortunately, that was about the time my two team members had to move away from Madison for work, and I ran out of steam on the project, so Trinker has laid dormant for approximately a year. However, a new business model has breathed some life and inspiration into me, so don’t be surprised if you see this app running around Madison bars soon.

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