Founders Talk

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In-depth, one-on-one conversations with founders, CEOs, and makers. The journey, lessons learned, and the struggles. Let’s do this!

🚀 Ships weekly(ish)

Founders Talk Founders Talk #63

Zero up-front costs for a CS education

What would be the impact on the world if a Computer Science education was available to you completely free of charge until you get a job in that field paying $50,000 or more? That’s the question that drives Austen Allred and the team behind Lambda School. Lambda School is a revolutionary new school that invests in its students and they completely align their interests with their students. Seems like a novel idea, right? But Austen’s path to Silicon Valley was where things began for him, so that’s where we’ll start today’s conversation.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #62

Entrepreneurship in medicine

Dr. Steve Hotze is the founder and CEO of the Hotze Health & Wellness Center in Houston, TX where they’ve helped more than 30,000 patients to take charge of their health. But Steve Hotze is more than just a doctor — he’s an entrepreneur and a pioneer who has spent his career pushing back on the HMO’s, PPO’s, insurance companies, and big-pharma to build a medical practice that’s focused on one thing…the patient’s health.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #61

Isaac Schlueter on building npm and hiring a CEO

With JavaScript in every corner of software development and npm in every corner right along with it, the rise of npm can be drawn as a hockey stick up and to the right with Isaac Schlueter at the top grinning ear to ear. After reading their recent announcement to hire a CEO, I knew it was time to talk one-on-one with Isaac about building npm and the journey of hiring his successor.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #60

Leading data-driven software teams and products

For the final show of 2018 I’m talking with Travis Kimmel, the CEO of GitPrime. Travis has spent years as an engineering manager. Travis’s mission at GitPrime is to bring crystal clear visibility into the software development process and bridge the communication gap between engineering and stakeholders. This communication gap is often an ongoing plague in product development lifecycle. We talked through focus, tech debt, leading teams, predictability, and more.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #59

How $3.8M in seed funding started Gatsby as an open source company

Kyle Mathews is the founder and CEO of Gatsby, a new company he’s building around an open source project of the same name. Gatsby as a project describes itself as a flexible modern website framework and blazing fast static site generator for React.js. At the macro level — Kyle’s career has been focused on a better way to build and ship websites. It seems he’s done just that with Gatsby’s launch in late May 2015…since then he’s taken on a co-founder and a seed round of $3.8M to form Gatsby Inc.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #57

From dropout to CEO of Sentry and taking on New Relic

David dropped out of high school AND college, but that didn’t stop him. He ended up teaching himself programming and eventually landed his first job as the webmaster of a World of Warcraft community website. What a beginning… We talked through “the rough slog” period of Sentry and how David powered through to traction and enough profit for him and his partner to go full time, raise three rounds of funding, and take on New Relic.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #56

Eric Berry is funding open source with CodeFund

Eric Berry started Code Sponsor a year ago because of his passion for finding ways to sustain and fund open source developers. He ultimately had to shutdown due to potential legal issues with GitHub, but was given new life as CodeFund when he went to work for ConsenSys and Gitcoin. We talked through the backstory of this idea, why he’s so passionate about funding open source, ethical advertising, being unapologetically focused on your mission, the value of honesty and openness, and the future direction of CodeFund.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #55

Side hustle to $35M ARR at Zapier

Bryan Helmig, Wade Foster, and Mike Knoop started Zapier in 2011 as a side hustle. They ultimately applied to Y Combinator, twice. And this year they hit $35 Million dollars in annual revenue. I talked with Bryan Helmig (CTO) through the backstory of starting this company, being 100% distributed, the flexibility as well as the constraints of being remote-only, how they reached product market fit, growth, scaling their teams, and how they bring everyone together for company wide retreats.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #54

From side project to $7.25M for Unsplash

When Mikael Cho started Unsplash from its small beginning as a Tumblr blog and side project, he had no idea it would have such a huge impact and ultimately disrupt the photography industry. In this episode, Mikael shares the backstory of Unsplash, how it got started, keeping things focused, levers of growth, flipping the marketing funnel, turning free into a business, raising $7.25 million to build a new economy for photography, and the impact of an API.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #53

Danielle Morrill on starting over from zero

Danielle Morrill joined the show to talk about how she’s starting over from zero after the recent acquisition of Mattermark to FullContact where she held the role of CEO and co-founder who walked away with “zero dollars and a job”. We talked through the details of the company, the acquisition process, the deal — which she brokered herself — as well as her outlook on the startup grind and silicon valley today, and what she’s planning to do next.

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Founders Talk Founders Talk #38

Sam Soffes / Nothing Magical, Cheddar - Part 1

Sam Soffes the Founder of Nothing Magical and the maker of Cheddar joins Adam Stacoviak to share all the details of his wild ride as an indie software developer and designer. Sam has worked at Hipstamatic, built YouTube ripoffs, gotten offers from some of the most respected names in the business (some accepted and some turned down) all to circle back around to start Nothing Magical and build his own products. He shares the highs, the lows and all the things he’s learned along the way - plus so much more. And, check out “After Dark” for a short extended chat with Sam.

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