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How to Build a Digital Product for Pandemic Response
Fireside Chat
How PathCheck is using open source to flatten the curve

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed product teams to tackle a tremendous amount of digital innovation as they work to uncover and develop new ways to serve people virtually while also keeping communities safe. Join this session to learn more about the development and design strategy, including technology considerations of the contact tracing apps thoughtbot brought to life with PathCheck.

Founded out of MIT, PathCheck Foundation rapidly grew as an organization focused on responding to the pandemic. They quickly cultivated both a community of technologists and a robust open-source library with the focus to build solutions that support containing the pandemic while preserving the privacy of individuals. thoughtbot was brought onboard in April to quickly develop a contact tracing mobile application.

The pressure was on to get something to market quickly without compromising quality. It was imperative that the solution would be able to scale to serve millions of users around the world, and deliver at a high quality as a part of the first launch.

The collective group, a driven community brought together by an open source project, worked together to navigate the various stages of design, development, iteration and launch. Given the sensitive nature of contact tracing apps, the team also had to work through the use of innovative privacy preserving contact tracing technologies such as the Google Apple Exposure Notification System.

This discussion will include:

  • Lessons Learned through rapid, high-stake product design, development & launch
  • How to manage a growing product team, highly visible launches and open-source library in parallel
  • Navigating sensitivity and privacy concerns in contract tracing apps
  • The good and bad of going with React Native for this use case
  • Live Q&A with you the audience

This discussion is ideal for:

  • Engineers, Designers and other Product People who are interested in contributing to this project.
  • Product Teams working on similar projects
  • Organizations considering launching some sort of "return-from-COVID" product
  • Sam Zimmerman, PathCheck

    Sam Zimmerman is currently the CTO of PathCheck Foundation. Prior to this, Sam was the co-founder of Freebird, a General Catalyst backed consumer fintech startup acquired by Capital One. Since 2011, Sam’s roles have consistently involved successful commercial applications of research technologies and methods, including work as a quantitative risk analyst, work as a machine learning researcher at NASA, and extending decision theory.

  • John Schoeman, thoughtbot

    John is a Development Team Lead at thoughtbot where he works as a product consultant. Since joining thoughtbot in 2018, he has helped companies from small health-tech organizations to Fortune 500 companies build their technical teams and ship successful products. Over the past few years, John has focused primarily on web technologies used for mobile development such as React Native.