Chris Duesing

The self is not discovered, it is made.
THE PORTFOLIO AND PROJECTS OF
Overview
a jumping off point
Hello, I am Chris Duesing; startup founder, programmer, photographer, crossfitter, aspiring woodworker, and nature explorer.

I created this site to put myself out there in hopes of finding like minded individuals. People with interesting perspectives to meet, learn from, collaborate with, photograph and get to know.

I am currently in the process of starting a street photography collective in Chicago.

Just want to chat? You can reach me at chris.duesing at gmail.
How I spend my time
Photography
A Serious Hobby
Taking product photos with an entry level DSLR turned in to a maddening struggle to master taking a good picture. As a hobbyist in Chicago, with little access to landscapes or wildlife, my attention turned to candid photos of humans in their natural habitat. The entire process is all consuming; learning the exposure triangle, composition, subject, interaction with strangers, developing film, scanning, processing, publishing and community. If I did not need to eat, sleep or earn money I would likely lose months at a time trying to create the perfect picture.
Everyone:
Don't quit your day job
Me:
...
My Entreprenurial Journey
After dropping out of college and a series of jobs including temp, house painter, lifeguard and cook; I found programming as a hobby, and quickly a career. The first few years were about becoming competent and mastering my craft. It became apparent to me that I did not want to spend 1/3 of my life doing things for other people, I wanted to learn more about business and customers and what made the whole system tick.
Simergence
After leaving Sears I started my first "company" (which was really more of a tech project). It was a platform for online gamers to plan activities, create profiles, and initiate voice chat. In typical first time tech founder fashion I spent 8 months of the 12 months I gave myself building the first version. By the time I got it out in the real world for feedback it was really too late to solve all the problems and monetize it.
Chicago Climate Exchange
After Simergence I needed a paying job. With few connections in Chicago I went to a recruiter and requested to be placed at a startup. I wanted to learn where I had gone wrong. Fortunately that startup was CCX, where I met a bunch of great people including my current co-founder Kellee James.
Exchangery
After CCX was sold I had three people approach me about building the tech platform for an exchange. I figured that sounded like a business opportunity! I applied to what is now Techstars Chicago and was accepted. Kellee joined me as I needed a co-founder and her project was on hold. Ultimately a startup serving startups with uncertain revenue wasn't the best idea after all.
Hobstr
I was ready for something different. I wanted to do something without venture capital, boards and control issues. I always tried to make my hobbies a bigger part of my life, so with Jack Eisenberg, whom I had met at Techstars, we started a company for hobby starter kits. It was probably the most fun I have had at a startup, but physical product with low margins is hard.
Mercaris
And this brings us to today. Jack and I wound down Hobstr and I sold Exchangery to Kellee for equity in Mercaris, the company she was in the midst of founding. It was a kindred spirit to CCX, but with Organic and non-GMO ag products rather than environmental ones. It was the perfect marriage of a solid business plan with a market that needed it. Four years in and we are still chugging along.
The Team
Mercaris
We're building a market for sustainable agrictulture
Future Projects
Some ideas I have had floating around my head.
Durable Vintage
Founderia
Wicker Park Stories
Other Interests
Crossfit
At 38, shortly after getting married, I realized my body wasn't just maintaining itself the way I had come to expect. I didn't want to be the 60 year old that looked 90, hunched over and sick. Concerned I would once again just join a gym and quit, as I had countless times before, I decided a group workout was more likely to keep me coming back. I joined Division St. Crossfit in Wicker Park.

Despite doing something amazing for myself, I have been surprised at the number of times someone accused me of joining a cult. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is like any other rec league style sport... a random assortment of people who grow to know each other and bond by sharing a challenging experience on a daily basis. I am in the best shape of my life and have made a great group of friends. I can't imagine not going as often as possible, and I am certainly looking forward to a 300lb squat and a 400lb deadlift. Someday, someday...

(picture is of my gym owner and coach JJ Christopher)
Volunteering
I volunteer at a dog rescue in the neighborhood called One Tail at a Time. It is an amazing organization that saves hundreds of dogs every year from being euthanized.

In return for feeding them, giving them medication and cleaning their cages I get to spend the rest of my shift playing with dogs in the yard. I keep waiting for someone there to realize how badly I am taking advantage of them. I love my time there and my next shift can never come soon enough.

(pictured is Miguel, he pretty much runs the place and is available if you're up for it)
Camping
I spent a lot more of my childhood than my adulthood outdoors. This is probably a pretty common scenario, but I have had a growing desire to get back out there. In 2016 I bought a pickup truck, a tent and started hitting the road. I have camped in a wide range of campgrounds in a number of states, getting my feet wet both literally and figuratively. In 2017 I intend to get a roof top tent, some offroad tires and head west to explore the national parks and public land.