On this special re-broadcast of the freeCodeCamp podcast, Quincy Larson (freeCodeCamp’s founder) interviewed Adam and Jerod in the ultimate Backstage episode to celebrate a decade of conversations, news, and community here at Changelog. Yes, this month we turn 10 years old! We go deep into our origin stories, our history as a company, becoming and being a leader, the backstory of our branding, our music from Breakmaster Cylinder, and where we might be heading in the future.
Today we have a very special show for you – we’re talking with Quincy Larson the founder of freeCodeCamp as part of a two-part companion podcast series where we each celebrate our 5 and 10 year anniversaries. This year marks 5 years for freeCodeCamp and 10 years for us here at Changelog. So make sure you check out the freeCodeCamp podcast next week when Quincy ships our episode to their feed. But, on today’s episode we catch up with Quincy on all things freeCodeCamp.
Jeff Meyerson, host of Software Engineering Daily, and the founder of FindCollabs (a place to find collaborators for open source software) joined the show to talk about living in San Francisco, his thoughts on podcasting and where the medium is heading, getting through large scale market changes. We talk at length about his new project FindCollabs, the difficulty of reliably finding people to collaborate with, the importance of reputation and ratings systems, and his invite to this audience to check out what he’s doing and get involved.
Lynne Tye is the founder of Key Values, a platform where developers find engineering teams that share their values. To be more precise, Lynne is a solo-founder. She’s also a team of one. Lynne’s path to becoming a founder was anything but typical. She had plans to follow in her parent’s and sister’s footsteps to go into academia, and got two years into pursuing her PhD in Neuroscience before she made one of the best choices in her life — she quit. Lynne has mastered the art of quitting, at the right time of course, and she’s used that art as her secret weapon in her quest to become a founder.
Sahil Lavingia is the founder and CEO of Gumroad, a platform for creators to sell the things they make. Since 2011 Gumroad has sent over $200 million dollars to creators. That’s a big number. Sahil’s ambitions lead him to believe that Gumroad would become a billion-dollar company, have hundreds of employees, and eventually IPO. That didn’t happen.
…we were venture-funded, which was like playing a game of double-or-nothing. It’s euphoric when things are going your way — and suffocating when they’re not. And we weren’t doubling fast enough to raise the $15M+ Series B we were looking for to grow the team. For the type of business we were trying to build, every month of less than 20 percent growth should have been a red flag. But at the time, I thought it was okay…
We talk through Sahil’s journey with Gumroad, why it failed to meet his goals, the path he’s on today and the things he now values…but to understand why Gumroad didn’t live up to his expectations, we really have to understand the backstory of Gumroad.
Saron Yitbarek is the founder and CEO of CodeNewbie — one of the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code. Saron hosts the CodeNewbie podcast, Command Line Heroes from Red Hat, and she’s also the creator of Codeland Conference taking place on July 22 this year in New York City. We talk through getting started, lessons learned, mental health, developing and running a conference…but our conversation begins with a pivotal question asked of Saron…“What are you optimizing for?”
Colin Billings is the founder and CEO of Orro where they’ve built the first truly intelligent home lighting system. It knows when you’re in the room, and adjusts the lights automatically for you. But Colin’s path to starting this company wasn’t a straight line. Like most innovative products, Orro has an interesting beginning — after-all, they’re going up against the giants.
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.
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.
Adam Clark and I met back in 2013. We started a podcasting company together (which we both left), he shut down his consulting business to move to California and work for Apple, and now he’s back in Tennessee. Last year he launched a new business, Podcast Royale, a company he says will afford him more freedom to do whatever he wants to do.
He talks to me about growing up in a cult, losing his father, marriage, and how being a parent gives him a purpose in life.
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.
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.
Joseph Jacks, the Founder and General Partner of OSS Capital joined the show to share his plans for funding the future generation of commercial open source software based companies. This is a growing landscape of $100M+ revenue companies ~13 years in the making that’s just now getting serious early attention and institutional backing — and we talk through many of those details with Joseph.
We cover the whys and hows, why OSS now, deep details around licensing implications, and we speculate the types of open source software that makes sense for the types of investing Joseph and other plan to do.
We talk with Ben Halpern the founder and webmaster of dev.to — a community for developers to talk about software. Last Wednesday they open sourced the codebase of the dev.to platform, so we wanted to talk through all the details with Ben. We talked through the backstory, how Ben realized this could become a business, how the team was formed, their motivations for open sourcing it and why they didn’t open source it from the start, the technical stack, and their vision for the future of the site.
Adam and Jerod invite back Katrina Owen after years away focusing on Exercism—a 100% free platform for code practice and mentorship with over 2500 exercises and 48 different language tracks. They talk to Katrina about how the platform has changed, the direction it’s taken, the backstory on the recently launched version 2, and how she plans to turn Exercism into a sustainable business. Also, what happens if that doesn’t work?!
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.
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.
Pia Mancini joined the show for the first episode back from a nearly 5 year hiatus. We talked about her work at DemocracyEarth, being a first time mother, her new role as CEO of Open Collective, their focus, supporting ad-hoc community formation all around the world, their revenue and growth plans, and their path to sustainability.