Peter Ehrlich

I create things, I do web development, and I love community. I can elaborate.


Reliability is not trust. (but mutually assured destruction is)

While following talk of online reputation, I found the ideas of trust, reliability, and reputation indistinct. Here's my conclusions; they may clarify for you as well.

Spring 2012 was designed to be a place for people to connect over shared interests. Built with neo4j and Tibia.js (currently unreleased) on Rails.

Fall 2011 was a social mobile site for sharing lego creations. Built on the web and with phonegap for iOS and Android, it features facebook integration, camera phone integration, activity feeds and followers. Build on mongodb and with jQM_helper. Out-thundered by the oh so cool and inspiring

Summer 2011 was a mobile site dedicated to cooked-in-home underground dinners.
It still persists as The Grub Club.

Summer 2010

Four months at Airbnb helped me realize strengths in bringing out the best in people. I learned volumes on big site design and development, legends on managing userbase and dedication to every individual, and above all, how to keep every member of a team filled with energy and dedicated to their task.

Your Startup?

If you're part of a company that cares about the world and will be successful, get in touch!

Git Fight (alpha)

Because there's so much amazing high quality code in the world, sometimes the tough problem becomes only choosing a favorite library. Enter GitFight, a tool which combatively judges two opposing GitHub libraries, in a wonderful exuberance of ajax and lightning bolts

Get Them A Drink (alpha)

A stroke of genius and compassion from a fellow traveler will spread random acts of kindness around the world. It will allow anyone to purchase a beverage for someone at random accross the globe, and bring them feedback for their gift.

March 2011

Inspired by the success of Rosetta Stone language software, and the increasing worth of the collaborative web, this Startup Chile application would allow users across the globe to teach their language without knowing any other.

Important applications of this software would be allowing those in the third world to earn a first world salary, the preservation of endangered languages, and encouraging international travel

Hut-based video pitch on-site

jquery-ujs extensions

February 2011 — present

Rails provides an extremely well implemented set of jQuery extensions. This expands the work done their with synchronizing experimental tools for ajax callbacks, history management, and declarative dynamic content.

March 2011

Bumsocial would bring transparency and authentication to individual donations to the homeless. Inspired in part by Fit-Bit's feel-good-about-yourself philosophy, this would combine mobile location and photo data with micro donations to allow tracking of both donations sent and received.

More data allows us to become better at helping.

See associated blog entry as well.

Haven Carpool

Winter 2010

Invented to provide a carpooling application for Clarkson University campus, this would have been integrated with the school's declining balance payment system to encourage students to share their transportation with others.


This sets up dominos in patterns to be knocked down. Robotically controlled (w/ Lego NXT), programmable pattern creation.

“One of the most impressive pieces of mechanical engineering for the NXT that I have seen.”

Visit the LeJOS Forum thread for pictures and discussion.

Project Argosy

One truck 6x12" truck. Eleven Months. Four motors, five pneumatic cylinders, three springs, a giant pile of bricks. One complete creation of awesome.

Started May 2006, this was a project to cram as much finely tuned fully accurate functionality as possible in to as small a space as possible, my favorite style. Inspired by many model builders before me, I decided to make my own path in the world of Lego truck making, with a smaller, cheaper, more highly functional, more carefully designed model than most ever seen before. It was built only one step at a time, with only a few pictures of the actual truck to work from. The end result, however, was beautiful and very very red.

Functionality includes: Drive, Pneumatically actuated two-speed transmission, steering, front-axle suspension, correct Ackermann steering, true-to-life pneumatic staircases, LED headlights, automatic compressor, and fully tilting cab.

read the blog — or — view the gallery


This is how I am:
I grew up on a farm in upstate New York, son of two dairy cow veterinarians. I am in-between a brother and sister, yes I had a lot of free time for thinking, and yes it gets pretty cold up there. I've was homeschooled all the way until college, just because my parents didn't have a lot of respect for our American school system. What I learned and who I am because of this has lead me to a great deal of interesting places and wonderful people. And for some reason, totally beyond me, this causes me to leave a good impression on most that I meet.

When I was 16, I applied to a university and got in to it, doing Mechanical Engineering. It turns out that this was a good idea, because it brought me in to the more of the world. It was also a bad idea, because it was still very cold up there and we didn't get a lot of attention from the anywhere important to me.

By Summer 2010, I had been teaching myself web development for a while and had heard that if I went to Silicon Valley, I could get a job pretty quickly. So with a fallback plan of freelancing in Argentina (why not?), I went forward with booking a room on the night before I left. This certainly had a powerful impact on things, as they were hiring, Over three interviews in one weekend I passed various tests, and was hired in to the most powerful and vibrant community I have ever even witnessed.

After four months of living and breathing pure Airbnb I went back to school, and required all the persuasion from teachers, family, relatives and best friends not to drop out and go help found a Chicago-based school of Lego— I would have gone but that all the people telling me to leave, I didn't know myself. I kept busy with entrepreneurial machinations, but eventually had had too much. Half way through the Vietnam episode of top gear, I texted a friend and bought tickets to China for the day after christmas, stopping out six art credits short of my engineering degree.

I've been traveling since. I've written some interesting things on my blog. Myanmar (Burma) was the best place to spend a month, for living in a country without technology more than an overloaded built pickup truck will really bring you back to your roots. And it showed in the people, despite their feudally genocidal government. There are no suicides there, there is no depression. Only. Community.

There we have it. Its not much, but its been nicely packed.

Extrapolating from that, here's my life goal:

Increase social capital in the world. That is, people make people happy, and I want people to be happy.

There were other things on this list, but I think that they are but auxiliary.

Finally, here is a list of everything I know:

Believe and be honest in yourself, always.

Make alone time, always. Hours every week, and days every year.