Hi! My name is Patrizio Murdocca and I am Chief Web Developer at Drover Rideshare. I am from Venice, Florida, and currently, live in Nashville, Tennessee where I am an undergrad at Vanderbilt University.
I am also the primary writer of the Drover Blog. I hope that until this point, you have thoroughly enjoyed my entries or, if this is your first one, read the others also, please! Working on Drover has been a phenomenal privilege for me -- but more on my involvement with Drover later!
I was born in Long, Island, and moved with my family to Venice, FL when I was just over three years old. Venice is a small city on the Gulf Coast side, about 1.5 hours south of Tampa, and super close to Sarasota, FL. Siesta Key beach -- consistently ranked one of the top 10 in the world -- is about a 30-minute drive from my house. I sincerely loved growing up there in Venice; the weather is beautiful all year round, the beach is amazing, and I grew up always feeling safe to take a late night run pretty much anywhere in town.
As a child, I loved to play chess (I still do, but never can find the time or an opponent :/ ), go to museums or the library with my mom and sisters, and watch movies. When I was around 6 years old, my parents sat my older-younger sister down and explained that we could either afford to buy cable television or a computer. My mom especially has always been amazing about helping empower us to make decisions or encouraging thinking out loud. My sister and I ultimately decided on a computer -- yes, that was before Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, etc existed, so it was somewhat of a hard choice between the two!
I fondly remember sitting down at the computer throughout elementary school, making PowerPoints (on Office 2003 folks) about WW2 tanks for class, or the website my sister and I made on Microsoft Publisher but never published online. Then, two or three years into owning it, the computer started to act up -- as they so enjoy doing to spite us all. My parents encouraged me to take ownership and, to the extent possible, learn how to fix it myself, the same way that my dad had learned to do an oil change or a tire rotation as a young man.
So, in an effort to save money from taking it to the shop, I started learning how to diagnose and fix basic computer problems. Fortunately for me, my uncle (who lived in Canada at the time) was an A+ certified tech, so I spent hours on the phone with him following instructions, and dissecting the intricacies of Windows XP. I sincerely enjoyed it and started to consider fixing computers (at a basic level) a hobby or even a passion of mine. As I grew older, Windows 7 came out, and I started to learn that as well.
To break from discussion of my early fondness for computers -- I wasn't very popular in school as a child. I had a few friends in different parts of it, but in the case of most of those relationships, we grew apart into different interests/personalities etc. To give perspective on why this was the case, in seventh grade, I straight up preferred classical music to any other genre -- suffice it to say that Beethoven's 7th Symphony or Chopin's Nocturnes were not the primary subject at middle school lunch tables. My social solitude was bearable, however, because I was always very close to my family. I adore my sisters and have a very strong relationship with my mom. My parents were married for 24 years before divorcing in 2012. Without getting into it too much -- my mom had been a dutiful and loving wife throughout that whole time; they experienced hardships as every couple does in that amount of time, yet as my mom grew more supporting and more loving, my dad became more withdrawn, bitter, and angry towards her and us. In the last two years of their marriage, we had "family meetings" that became "family arguments" that lasted entire weekends -- almost every weekend.
At this point in my life (sophomore year of high school), I withdrew even more into my school work and buried myself to avoid thinking about anything else. It was then that I took AP Art History online, which I am immensely thankful for as art history/appreciation is a huge part of my life today.
When my parents eventually did separate, it was hard to define what -- or who -- family was anymore. My mom and my sisters and I still loved each other, but we were emotionally paralyzed by the loss of my father no longer being in the picture at all after they separated. In December 2012, my mom informed us that she wanted to start going to church with a friend. We had never been really religious, and I probably wasn't even convinced of the existence of God.
At first, and for several months, I only went to church to support my mom. I recognized that it was an important part of her healing process, and I saw it as one that I did not personally need. Between Art History and a human geography class, I had been exposed to the intricacies of several religious traditions and found none more compelling than the other. As I went Sunday after Sunday, however, I slowly began to actually listen to the messages and realized that a lot of it made sense. Yet, I still didn't think 'it' was for me.
In the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, I wanted to get a job to be able to pay for my own gas and insurance and be less of a burden to my mom, who is a teacher, raising three kids. When I wanted to get a job at a local grocery store, however, my mom said the best and most gracious thing she could have ever said to me. She said, "instead of worrying about making money right now, go learn something that you can take with you for the rest of your life". Prompted by her encouragement, I remembered my early interest in computers, and cold-called every computer repair place in town, asking to work for free if they would teach me how to fix computers. Finally, one said yes, and I started learning how to fix PCs on a higher level.
At the end of the summer, I finished my apprenticeship and started 11th grade. On the first day of school, my AP English Literature teacher asked us to write down our goal for the year. I wrote down "to do something that matters"... My life came to somewhat of a grinding halt in that moment when I realized that nothing I had done until then benefitted anyone besides myself -- I was acquiring all of this knowledge without giving anything meaningful back. I stayed up until 4:30am that day until I was inspired to create a non-profit organization that builds and fixes computers and donates them to students who cannot afford them. A split second later, I felt called to share the Gospel with this company. This surprised me, as I had not yet accepted Christ into my life.
That fleeting thought was the impetus that lead me to, for the first time, what a life dedicated to God and with Jesus as my Savior meant, and could mean. A couple of days later, by God's Grace, I was Saved and accepted Christ as my Savior. From that moment forward, my life has been so different; it was similar to the first time I put on glasses when I was seven years old -- I had a rough idea of what everything looked like, and I got by ok, but with my glasses, and with God, the world is so much clearer and more focused.
I named my non-profit organization Interfaced Ministries, and today Interfaced is a 501(c)(3) organization operating in Sarasota/Venice, FL and Nashville, TN.
Over the course of the next two years -- I will cover them briefly -- I continued to grow Interfaced with the support of friends and family and grew closer to God throughout the process. My junior and senior years of high school were academically rigorous and intellectually exciting.
About half way through my junior year, I again was confronted with the question of making money to become more financially independent from my mom. I had made the website for Interfaced myself, and at that point got the idea of making websites for local businesses as a way to both learn about and support local businesses and also make money on a flexible hours schedule. Web design proved to be the perfect solution, and I have loved every second and every site that I have made in the last three years. Aside from the money, just meeting passionate business owners and connecting with them is its own reward.
Fast forwarding, I chose to go to Vanderbilt University to pursue my Bachelor's in Economics and a double major in English. It was in a Lyft ride to a web design client -- the Hop Stop in Nashville if you were curious -- when I met Jeffrey Garland. Jeff was my Lyft driver, and since it was a longer drive, we got to talking about passions and hobbies. When I told him about my passion and experience with website design, he told me about this exciting, innovative new rideshare service he wanted to start to compete with Uber and Lyft. At first, I was put off by the idea of competing with such established and wealthy companies, however, I realized that competition is the spirit of a free market economy, and America's corporate culture is predicated upon competition pushing each individual firm to produce at a higher standard. So, I was in.
I started working on DroverRideshare.com in April 2016. Today, the DroverRideshare site is fully operational, along with our fully functional DroverShop online store, and the Drover Hall of Fame. I have absolutely loved my time with Drover and working with Jeff so far, and I feel so blessed by the opportunity. I am looking forward to seeing Drover grow in the coming weeks, months, and years, and moreover I look forward to supporting and being a part of that growth!
Patrizio Murdocca is Chief Web Developer at Drover Rideshare, a student at Vanderbilt University, and President of Interfaced Ministries.