Code Story — November 2021

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E21: Laura Butler,
When she decided to simplify her life and sell her house, Laura went through the process of buying a Condo.. and interacting with the HOA. She realized that the process was a bit arcane, and getting the details up front was near impossible. Her and her co-founder, who happens to also be her mother, set out to bring value to the buyers in the process, with the goal to eventually positively impact all stakeholders.

Bonus: Phill Lawson-Shanks,
In 2013, the founders of Phil’s current company saw the way the data center industry was going. They saw that the energy consumption around DC’s was going to be astronomical. They started building some incredibly innovative things in this area, and got Phil’s attention. Three years ago, he joined the team.

Bonus: Oleg Fridman, Verb
Prior to their current venture, Oleg and his co-founder, Dave, ran an agency focusing on high fidelity prototyping. After doing many projects, they figured out that the process of creating dashboards for a product was a mostly the same, but took a ton of time to prepare the data, extract data, and display it. They both figured out that they could create a solution to make this process simpler.

Bonus: Matt Dixon, Code
Matt has been in tech industry for nearly 21 years, and started Front Range Systems, building software for bidding customers. He found that post difficult projects, he started to figure out that the best way to improve a project was to improve the team — the entire team, as a whole.

E22: Josh Dzielak,
At a prior company as a developer advocate, Josh started using the Orbit model. He compared the model to being like the funnel for sales, except the Orbit model applies to community. After he left the company, he joined his now co-founder, using the Orbit model in a consulting context. Then, the aha moment occurred — what if we built a product to facilitate this?

Bonus: David Ciccarelli,
Growing up, David loved experimenting with sound — playing piano, tuning into radio stations, and tinkering with an old record player. He discovered there was an audio engineering program at school, and set out with the goal of starting a small project recording studio. He met his now wife and co-founder through their first voice recording project… which then, began to be advertised and attract more and more talent.

Bonus: Guillermo Rauch, Vercel & Next.js
Having been a JS person, he saw an opportunity to build out the frontend layer of the web. To put that in context, think about what Stripe, Twilio, etc. have done for the industry with their foundational, developer first API’s. He decided to create a framework that had no opinion about how you got your data. Along side of this, he created the optimal ecosystem for developers to build very fast — specifically, to develop, preview, and ship.

E23: Ulf Schwekendiek,
Ulf enjoys building software that invokes an emotion from its user. While he was at Postmates, he got really interested in the way people work, specifically around flow states. He studied the Pomodoro method, and its associated 25 minute cycle. This became the first building block into creating his current venture.

Compiler Recast — Why Should You Write Technical Documentation?
In my experience, the need for technical documentation goes way beyond the boundaries of open source. Within the walls of a business, the need to share technical documentation around product architecture, entity relationships, DevOps workflow and even product strategy are absolutely critical in ensuring that everyone is on the same p age to move forward.

Bonus: Brandon White, File
The genesis of Brandon’s’ current venture started with his wife, who manages a family office. At one point, she was switching accountants, which required the transfer of a massive amount of documents… the bulk of which was in email. He thought that there had to be a better way to find these documents, across accounts in the cloud.

Bonus: Adrian Tobey,
Adrian dropped out of University school, and thought — what next? He didn’t want to do agency work forever. He took a look at how expensive, convoluted and clunky marketing technology tools can be. He vowed to create the ultimate suite of tools, and to do it on WordPress.

Bonus: Shinji Kim, Select
At Alkamai, Shinji worked with large enterprises and saw that there was a problem around data discovery, and that it was growing in the middle market, as more companies migrated to the cloud. She decided to build an automated way for users to discovery and understand their data.

E24: Thejo Kote,
Prior to his current venture, Thejo co-founded Automatic, connecting cards to the internet. This eventually sold to SiriusXM for several million dollars. Looking into another problem, he saw that the way people spend money lacked true visibility and connectivity between systems. He asked some questions, got some feedback, and set out to capitalize on the opportunity to build a better solution.

Bonus: Luke Hoban,
Post Microsoft, Luke went work for Amazon on the cloud, specifically EC2. The thing he had in the back of his head for many years was how to bring the programming model into the cloud space. He eventually left Amazon, and set out to combine his love of designing programming languages, with the movement and excitement of the cloud.

E25: Bobby Ross, Fire
Eventually, Bobby was an on call engineer — either by accident or intentionally — because he always wanted to help solve the problem. At one point, he set out to bridge bootcamp grads into the real world of software through a video series. As it turns out, the product he was building during the series was much more interesting — and desired — than the videos themselves.

Podcasts We Love

How I Built This with Guy Raz :
Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists — and the movements they built. Order the How I Built This book at



Hosted by Noah Labhart, Code Story is a podcast featuring tech leaders, reflecting on their human story creating world changing, disruptive digital products.

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Code Story Podcast

Hosted by Noah Labhart, Code Story is a podcast featuring tech leaders, reflecting on their human story creating world changing, disruptive digital products.