Chris Duesing

The self is not discovered, it is made.
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
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.
Don't quit your day job
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We're building a market for sustainable agrictulture
Future Projects
Some ideas I have had floating around my head.
Durable Vintage
Wicker Park Stories
Other Interests
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)
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)
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.