SOMA People That You Meet — James Nanscawen

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People That You Meet is a series of interviews conducted and posted by the Vanessa Pollock Team/Keller Williams, highlighting residents of the South Orange-Maplewood community and their diverse and interesting lives.

This installment is an interview with James Nanscawen, co-creator of babysitting website; Sitterfied.

What town do you live in?

  • Maplewood.

Where did you live before that?

  • Hoboken. Yep. Not Brooklyn.

What brought you to SOMA?

  • Friends. And an overwhelming sense of calm. The first time we drove through Maplewood – the quaint downtown, the tree-lined streets, the impossibly green lawns…we knew we had to live here.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)?

  • By day I’m an IT Director (yawn). By night, I’m a problem solver. And I like to build businesses around those problems. Some might call that an entrepreneur but in this day and age when “entrepreneurs” build apps that text “Yo” to your friends, I feel that title is a little overused. My latest venture is Sitterfied. It’s a community-driven website that helps parents find babysitters through friend connections. My friend Andy (also a parent here in Maplewood) and I built the company to serve our own needs. We often found ourselves stuck without a sitter for an upcoming event and would call friends for recommendations. It was highly inefficient and time-consuming so we built a platform that would serve up local, available sitters (based on a future date and time) who were, most importantly, hired and recommended by friends. Sitterfied was born and today we’re enabling parents to find trusted sitters in minutes with online bookings and 90 second response times. We launched in Hoboken (where we both lived) but, since moving to Maplewood 10 months ago, we’ve added several hundred parents and more than 100 sitters. In March, we began partnering with local businesses (like Vanessa Pollock’s Team) and nationally-renowned to host monthly free ‘sitter socials’ (speed-dating for parents and babysitters). These events have been a great way to bring together SOMa locals to serve a need, see new faces and gather feedback.

What’s your favorite feature of your home?

  • I’m a gadget freak so I’d have to say my ‘Harmony Hub’. It’s a Logitech app that allows me to automate EVERYTHING. I have my lights, my thermostat, my security system, my audio system and even my door linked to it so, for instance, when I come home my lights will switch on, home security will disarm, door will unlock, preferred room temp set and I could even have it play my favorite song, but I don’t. That would be weird.

Where do you love to go on a date night?

  • We don’t have one place. Given our proximity to NYC, we still tend to tap into the deep resources that this amazing city offers. Hard not to take advantage of that. I once heard that you could go out to a new restaurant every night in NYC and still not exhaust your choices in a lifetime (in case you’re trying to do the math, this is possible because new restaurants replace old restaurants nearly everyday.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be?

  • To convince my future teenage kids that I’m cool.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? 

  • Tesla (Nikola..not the car) by Carlson. Despite his revolutionary inventions around electricity, radio and television, his eccentricities and bad decisions led to lack of recognition and poverty. In fact, even today you won’t see him on the first results page when you Google his name (in lieu of the car that shares his name)

What’s something that amazes you?

  • That my 6 year old son can deftly eliminate a dozen stormtroopers on our PS4 without blinking an eye yet he’s completely incapable of walking a bowl of cereal to the table without spilling half of it on the floor.

Describe your family:

  • My 6yo son is an inquisitive scientist/engineer. My 7yo daughter is a voracious reader and future leader. My wife is the ultimate multi-tasker and fashionista. She’s a voracious shopper (God bless her) but fortunately she does this more for other people these days. Yes, she’s a personal shopper/stylist. They all have this drive-me-crazy-but-cannot-possibly-live-without affect on me.

Describe your ideal day:

  • A day trip to the shore (Spring Lake) with the family, dinner at Surf Taco, ice cream at Sundae Times, home by 9 and crash into bed all windswept, burned and salty. Nothing better.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little?

  • My Dad. I still do.

Of all the places you’ve traveled, which is your favorite? 

  • Ok, I’m a little biased but…Australia. Technically I didn’t travel there because I was born there but, of all the countries I’ve visited (including this great one I now reside in), I’d still call Australia my favorite. Fresh produce, friendly locals, beautiful beaches and unique wildlife. It’s exactly what you see in the brochures! Fun trivia – by December 4 of this year I’ll have lived longer in the United States than I have in Australia.

What inspires you? 

  • Anybody who acts on a thought or idea. Especially people who are disenfranchised. The opposite of that? Procrastinators and complainers.

Coffee or tea?

  • Coffee – black, no sugar. Preferably 4 or 5 of those before noon.

People That You Meet:

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