TJ Muehleman is a Georgia Tech grad that has been a developer for over 15 years. He cofounded both We & Co and Standard Code, and is also a graduate of Flashpoint, Georgia Tech’s intensive customer discovery accelerator.
We chatted with TJ a few weeks ago about his plans for teaching The Graduate Program next spring. After learning about the extent of his involvement with the tech startup community here in Atlanta, we were eager to find out more…
Co-founder and CEO of We&Co, a SaaS HR solution for restaurants and Co-founder, Partner of Standard Code, a dev shop.
I’m basically the jack of all trades for both companies. My background is technology so I do some coding but I also manage the teams and try to keep the trains running on time. I also have the best office dance routine.
What is your overall plan for the graduate program curriculum?
We really want to help people understand the mechanics behind developing an MVP. “Startups” and “entrepreneuship” are all the rage these days but the barrier to entry is still pretty daunting to a lot of folks. The idea behind the class is to help people understand that launching a product isn’t as intimidating as it might appear. We want to take away some of the mystique and teach common tactics that make rolling out an MVP more likely to be successful
What startup/tech projects have you worked on?
Yikes, this list gets longer and longer…
(these are all ATL)
We&Co — co-founder
Standard Code — co-founder
ThePort Network (now PowWowHR) — CTO
Starband — my second ever dev gig! I had a really great boss there who taught me a lot
Speech Machines — my first dev gig. I got it 2 months before graduating from college. I thought I was the richest dude ever. But then the dotcom bust happened in late 2000 and I was laid off 1 week before graduation
Why are you interested in startups?
A few reasons
- I like to build things from scratch. I really enjoy the process of taking something nebulous and poorly defined and trying to figure out who will use it and why and making it really work for them.
- This is a weird answer but when something fails, I like being the one accountable for it and learning from that experience. When you work for someone else’s startup, at the end of the day, it’s their failure and you were just part of it. I want to be the one calling the shots no matter if it’s a positive or negative outcome.
What tech/tools are essential to you?
Slack has become my savior. It’s cut down drastically on back and forth bullshit email.
And my moleskin notebook. I’m the worst most unlikely developer you’ve ever met in that I’m not a big tool guy. I don’t use evernote. I don’t particularly care for online tools or anything like that. Something about actually writing down my notes and sketching things out helps seal something in my memory far better than using online tools
How do you stay informed & on top of emerging trends?
One word: twitter. I have a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, I don’t think twitter has exactly nailed the short bursty lines of communication. I think someone will come around and do it better. That said, I tell all new devs / entrepreneurs that if they don’t have twitter, they’re missing out on real time news and goings-on in the community. I’m also fond of Product Hunt. I also surround myself with people far cooler than I am who tell me what I should know 🙂