Foundry Trivia was back in-person on February 28, 2022 after a three year hiatus. There was no shortage of pent-up pandemic aggression as the players prepared to battle.
The evening started with introductions by Foundry Fellow (Inaugural Class) Daniel Kent. Kent introduced Kurt Opsahl, renowned quizmaster and General Counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to start the show. Opsahl’s smoking jacket appeared to have been well-reserved during the pandemic.
Close to 100 combatants showed up to battle it out for the three steins. In all about a dozen teams competed. The reining champion, comprised mostly of Future of Privacy Forum staff, returned to defend their title with their leader Jules Polonetsky confidently presiding over the table. But at another table, a newly-hired FPF staffer had designs to win the cherished 1st Place Foundry Trivia stein for herself.
The fighting was fierce through round three, with three rounds of trivia to go. By the halfway point, the returning champions began to sense their chances to repeat were slipping away. They were being bested by one of their own.
Indeed, the night belonged to the sentimental favorites, team “NFT (Nerdy F*cking Trivia), helmed by Amie Stepanovich. Stepanovich had been on the podium before, winning 1st place in 2018 with her all-star Nerd Party Doctrine team, the wonderful Sherwin Siy among them.
While Siy was impossible to replace, Stepanovich (a new FPF hire) made some key additions to the NFT roster including cybersecurity expert Harley Geiger and First Amendment expert Emma Llanso. Having just returned to DC, and having just returned to in-person gatherings, Stepanovich came to slay. Together with Julian Sanchez and Meredith Rose, the NFTs hoisted the stein once again. Wistful, Polonetsky expressed disappointment with FPFs new employment contracts, which lack mandatory FPF trivia team participation clauses.
Alla Goldman Seiffert (Inaugural Class Foundry Fellow) led her team to a 2nd place finish. The “Zero Trust Vibe Shift” team, which included Googlers Nicholas Bramble and Will Hudson, fought valiantly all night long to hold off a fiercely competitive third place team.
Perhaps the most ferocious team of the night was the “We Own a Theme Park in Florida” team. Their ferocity paid off with a 3rd place finish. Ashkhen Kazaryan (2017 Class Foundry Fellow) and Jennifer Huddleston set the ferocious tone for the Theme Park crew. The team included newly minted 2022 Foundry Fellows Kir Nuthi, James Czerniawski, Matthew Lane and David Morar. Their ambition did not stop with the 3rd place stein. They also managed to walk away with the coveted “Best Team Name” honors and prize, which included a set of four “Alan Davidson” coffee mugs (retrieved from deep storage).
Kurt, his smoking jacket, and Foundry Trivia will return again. It remains to be seen whether FPF can regain their title. Georgetown Law left disappointed, but determined to reach the podium next time. And one wonders whether CCIA, a veritable Trivia dynasty in years past, will return to form. We shall see.