Essays & Observations

Unfocus to refocus

I’m currently building my fourth software business. It’s called Codespeed and it’s a developer tools SaaS and platform that solves costly software development problems like tech debt, onboarding, security and other expensive, unmet issues in the architecture and development of code. We’re accomplishing this by better aligning the needs of a business among engineers through a collaborative layer of dev tooling.

Two of the largest cost centers in any engineering department revolve around continuous rewrites and refactors due to tech debt and the exceptional amount of time required to ramp up new developers to a codebase, let alone the time engineers who have already made significant contributions to a large application take in revisiting their work long into the future. Security is another area where costs can grow exponentially when collaboration in the code fails. Codespeed is a uniquely social developer tool, which means it also provides opportunities in emerging crypto, DAO and other web3 spaces as well.

I began building and selling software products at age 13 when I started an online gaming company where kids like me could customize avatars and save them to use around the web and even offline by arranging a nearly limitless number of combinations in outfits, accessories, and even background options.

This was the age when dial-up internet reigned supreme, so the portability of user generated content on smart phones was a long way off. I had an exceptionally successful web app version of the game with around 5,000 per day, so I decided to sell an offline version for those who wanted to use the game even if someone was already tying up the sole phone line in their house (really) or any number of other dial-up limitations that most young people would find hilarious today. I burned, tested, and shipped physical CDs to 100s of customers, creating a portable game long before mobile gaming ever existed.

I eventually sold that business to a large gaming company, and went on to work as a professional software engineer writing custom applications for businesses of all sizes, building my own agency, working through college, and going on to build two more software startups in eCommerce and marketing.

Relentless focus & execution

One of the first lessons I learned as an entrepreneur both building and selling code was that relentless focus on execution, shipping and refining my approach as I worked vs. excessive strategizing was just as important in the work of building a business as it was in the process of writing code in an “agile” methodology.

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Rebuilding the Internet with owner controlled websites, blogs & apps

Photo of a single fern leaf in the rain.

Before the centralization of information to social media platforms people created content inside a wide array flourishing, nuanced communities on websites and blogs across the Internet. Social media was an important but not primary method for creating or even surfacing content.

Today, however the landscape is much different. A small number of social monoliths have centralized access to much of the world’s information. This centralization has had disastrous results on a global scale with previously unimaginable network effects. These include flat earth conspiracies, anti-vaccination crusades and their subsequent deadly measles outbreaks, ubiquitous hacking and online harassment campaigns, and ethnic cleansing to name a few.

The most noticeable difference in the Internet is the shift in discovery of content from decentralized, self-contained, and self-moderated systems controlled by technology creators owned and maintained to a reliance on placement and space rented from social media companies. As a result of this centralization, once vibrant and diverse Internet communities have been forced into precut molds to grow at a phenomenal scale.

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Photo of a single fern leaf in the rain.

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