Jim Gilliam, the founder and executive chairman of NationBuilder, passed away on Friday, November 23, 2018 after battling cancer and related complications. A brilliant entrepreneur and engineer, Jim was known for his belief that, “God is just what happens when humanity is connected.” His insistence that everyone has something unique they are meant to contribute to the world fueled his work and inspired thousands of people all over the globe.

Watch Jim’s 2011 speech The Internet is My Religion

Read Jim’s epic memoir The Internet is My Religion

Watch Jim’s 2015 speech What kind of god do we want to be

  • commented 2019-12-06 01:16:50 -0500
    If anyone deserves a strong memorial, it’s Jim Gilliam. While I only met him a few times, each interaction was an inspiration. He displayed a rare combination of ability,motivation, charisma, appreciation and humility. He spent his short, but very complete life working to help as many people as possible to come together in order to push the objectives of freedom and democracy. Jim Gilliam will always be remembered as one of the founding fathers of political campaign technology on the internet.
  • commented 2019-12-05 21:12:08 -0500
    I saw Jim speak at Politicon one year. He was a true brilliant thinker and I became so excited to hear what he would say next every time it was his turn to speak. I went up to him afterward and hoped he had some sort of show or podcast so I could always hear his latest thoughts and ruminations.


    I still think about some of the points he made back then (likely 2016 or 2017), and went to see what he was up to and figured he may have succumbed to his sickness. The world has truly lost out, as he was phenomenally brilliant, and he’s still not forgotten to a complete stranger 12-5-19. It greatly saddens me that we don’t have his wisdom to consult in an ever-changing world. He is truly missed.
  • commented 2019-08-13 15:50:36 -0400
    I’ve been thinking about Jim a lot over the last couple days and finally decided to write something on here. Thank you, Jim.


    I joined NationBuilder because I was inspired by Jim. I met Jim and felt immediately intimidated and engaged by him. Watching him lead the company through tough and beautiful times has been an all consuming ride. Being part of this community, of the people he and Lea brought together, this wonderful group of problem solvers, go getters, organizers, empaths, story tellers — creators, has been a joy of my life.


    When I considered applying to the Product Team, I’m not going to lie, I had major hesitations about working more closely with Jim. When I interviewed, Jim grilled me about what I believed the product could be and why it was important to me. It seemed to me that he cared so much about not just what you could do, but why you do it. We chatted about books, the future, and Taylor Swift.


    That interview is a precious memory for me. Not because it was a particularly meaningful conversation but because I was really nervous and in the end, all that really mattered was that I was myself. It strikes me that actually that was the thing Jim respected more than anything else, was when people were their true, authentic selves. It’s such a treasure in this world to find people like that that it’s almost jarring when you do.


    Jim has been absent from NationBuilder daily operations for a couple years now, and I never ended up really getting the opportunity to work closely with him. Except that I do. I work with Jim every day because I use NationBuilder. NationBuilder is basically Jim’s brain on a rails app. All the weird intricacies that can seem disparate but ultimately tie together to make something greater than the sum of its parts. That is the NationBuilder product and that is the company too. It’s more than any one of us, it’s more than Jim, it’s all of us, creating together, and I think that is his most beautiful contribution.
  • commented 2019-06-03 16:08:54 -0400
    Jim was a great guy, not only was he brilliant but he had a heart of gold too. I grew up with him and we attended the same church. We had a few theological discussions over the years. Jim could not understand that his god was actually his health. He never worshipped the one true God of the Bible. He made his help his idol. Yes the internet is great and people are great, but none of that can save you, only the blood of Christ can save your soul.
  • commented 2019-03-07 01:38:31 -0500
    Jim was a gentle giant, a big thinker and an inspirational leader. I am grateful for knowing him and seeing the change that he generated. Until we meet again Jim, dream big and you can reach the stars.
  • commented 2019-01-02 10:58:34 -0500
    I remember hearing Jim on stage at Personal Democracy Forum in 2011; he was absolutely riveting. He spoke with power, grace, and a luminosity that simply shone through him. Many of us seek a digital world infused by his spirit of sharing and humanity. The physical world is a much darker place without him.
  • commented 2018-12-19 21:02:02 -0500
    I really was looking forward to meeting him one day.

    I have loved his attitude and ‘Nation Builder’ as a vehicle for democracy near since its inception and have followed his journey and personal struggles , albeit – as just another citizen.

    I had hopes of sharing my own vision of my educational-nonprofit-interactive-website & game called ‘The History Institute’. I do believe he would of loved it.

    With that said. simply.. I ask the Lord to now comfort and embrace Jim – one of his treasured servants.
  • commented 2018-12-15 16:14:47 -0500
    Heartfelt, Jim you are an inspiration to a generation that experienced how the internet changed the world

    You lead the way by founding Nationbuilder, sharing your thoughts and life… your ideas and spirit will last, rest in peace my friend
  • commented 2018-12-15 05:52:28 -0500
    Hi Lea,

    Kindly accept my heartfelt condolences of Jim’s homegoing. Didn’t meet him but he impacted my vision through his entrepreneurship spirit. May the Lord deeply comfort all of you and especially his beloved family. I won’t say RIP because there’s no other option.
  • commented 2018-12-11 19:01:22 -0500
    I heard Jim Gilliam’s electrifying talk at Personal Democracy Forum in 2011. (Below for any who would like to see it, for the tenth time or the first, is a link to it.) He was a pioneer with a great heart. RIP, Sir. https://www.internetismyreligion.com/2011_video