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The Culturephiles

Poetical Scientists and Guest Bloggers

Andrew hands over the keys to the Culturephiles blog as he takes a sabbatical 

Andrew Recinoa

Andrew RecinosPresident, Tessitura Network

TitlePoetical Scientists and Guest Bloggers


Read/View Time3 min

Ada Lovelace envisioned the digital age in 1842.

Lady Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, was a brilliant mathematician and close friends with Charles Babbage, the man who wrote the designs for the first digital, programmable computer.

Today, Babbage gets much of the credit for being the “father of the computer.” The reality is that while Babbage wrote the hardware spec for the computer, it was Lovelace who wrote the first algorithm to plug into that machine. She was the first computer programmer.

Even more than that, in her writing she imagines what computers could be capable of someday. She predicted that in the future, computers would write music and make art. She was a true visionary.

Best of all is the philosophy that Ada Lovelace brought to her own invented profession, which she called Poetical Science. Her goal was to create a discipline that combined the rigor of science with the creativity of the arts, during a time when the arts and sciences were splitting into separate camps. It was her mindset, valuing both sides of the equation, that allowed her to envision the digital age 150 years before it happened.

Amalia Hordern and I presenting our talk “How to be a Poetical Scientist” at the Australia/New Zealand Tessitura User Group conference in Melbourne in April 2019. Photo by Sandra Ashby.

In this recent talk, co-presented with my colleague Amalia Hordern, we tell Ada Lovelace’s story. We suggest that today’s business of arts and culture is overflowing with Poetical Scientists — a good thing for our industry (and perhaps the world). Again and again, we see that this (too) rare combination of open, creative thinking and cold, hard logic can help cultural organizations grow and thrive. I hope you check it out — it will take about half of your next lunch break.

Stewards of this Blog

With Ada Lovelace’s words about poetical science dancing around in my head, I finally realized what to do with this blog while I’m away for the next seven weeks.

Perhaps I should back up.

I will be taking a seven-week company-sponsored sabbatical starting at the end of this week. Like many other innovative companies, such as Patagonia and Intel, Tessitura has a staff sabbatical program to help ensure that after several years, team members have an opportunity to refresh and recharge. Of the many responsibilities I am handing off for seven weeks, among the most precious to me is ensuring this blog is in good hands.

I had a few options:

  1. Put a “Gone Fishin’” sign on the Culturephiles blog for seven weeks. But after a year of doing this, that didn’t feel right at all.
  2. Write a bunch of posts in advance and have them roll out as if I’m still at my desk. I genuinely considered this one. All I can do in the end is quote Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I love the sound of them whizzing by.” On to plan #3.
  3. Invite guest bloggers to take over the blog while I’m gone.

I liked Option Three the best, because I immediately realized who I could entrust this blog to: The Best Team in the World. Team Tessitura. A whole group of hard-working, passionate, endlessly fascinating poetical scientists. People with equal parts mind and soul; brain and heart; science and art.

And so, a few months ago, I put up a virtual “In search of bloggers….” sign by the virtual Team Tessitura water cooler. Lo and behold, I got some takers, and today I am so happy to present nine guest bloggers who will each take an installment of the Culturephiles blog while I’m gone. (Yes, there are nine bloggers for seven weeks. I’m not worrying about the math.)

In the coming weeks you will hear from a team member who has worked with us for 16 years, and one who has been with us for eight months. You will hear from Boomers, GenXers and Millennials. You will hear from folks who work in product development, consulting, project management, community, marketing, and support. Each personal story will tie back to culture, our community, our work, or all three.

I can’t wait to read them all when I come back. (Did I mention I’m also going off the grid for seven weeks??? Expect to see me with a very long beard at TLCC 2019 in Chicago).

And so without any further ado, I present the Team Tessitura Culturephiles Guest Bloggers!

Kelsey DeGreef
Project Manager
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Team member since 2016 

Matt H.

Matt Hilgers
Quality Assurance Specialist
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Team member since 2011

John Jakovich
Vice President, Business Intelligence
Fort Collins, Colorado
Team member since 2015

Marie Majors
Product Marketing Manager
Frederick, Maryland
Team member since 2007

Kayleb McKelvain
Support Manager
Laredo, Texas
Team member since 2014

Alex M.

Alex Mendelsohn
Project Manager & Consultant
Baltimore, Maryland
Team member since 2015

Natalie Threlfall wearing a black shirt and smiling

Natalie Threlfall
Support & Extended Services Lead
Marsden, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire 
Team member since 2009

Andy Wertner
Support Specialist
Folsom, Pennsylvania
Team member since 2018

Don Youngberg seen from the neck up, looking at the camera and smiling without opening his mouth

Don Youngberg 
Vice President, Community 
New Haven, Connecticut
Team member since 2003


Lying Fallow

I recently learned that the word “sabbatical” was originally derived from the term to “lie fallow”. And that is largely what I plan to do. While I may do more than grow a long beard, it won’t be much more. I look forward to returning in time for TLCC 2019 and picking this byline back up afterwards.

In the meantime, I’ll say what I say when connecting anyone to a member of our team:

You are in good hands.


Lying fallow. 


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Andrew Recinoa

Andrew Recinos


Tessitura Network

Andrew Recinos spend his days in conversation with professionals devoted to advancing the world of arts and culture.

He considers himself very, very lucky.

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