Jumping Back Into the Arena

I've been a bit busy. 

That's like the world's most terrible, overused excuse, but I feel like I owe an explanation why this is the first blog post I've written in a couple of years. I was really focused on Tiller Money, so between that amazing company and my own family, the reality is I just didn't feel like making blogging a priority for a while. No more excuses, though - I left Tiller earlier this summer, on great terms, after a truly wonderful five years. I still love that team and the service. Tiller is doing an incredible job helping people with their personal finances, but, to put it concisely, I was getting 'antsy'. I took the summer off to spend with family and figure out what I wanted to do next. Now the kids are back in school (well, sort of, anyway), the leaves are turning, the rain has started falling, AND the furnace kicked in yesterday - all good cues for me to get back to work.

I'm not just back to blogging though, I'm straight-up jumping back into the arena. 

If you are (or know of) an inspired founder on the brink of starting, executing, or scaling something remarkable, but "just need that extreme generalist technical cofounder", I'd really love it if you could reach out to me at tim@timjohns.com, DM on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn

Finding a good fit in a founding team is a crucial challenge, and I've already been lucky enough to be very very early to work for a couple of magical founding teams. I was also a solo founder myself, twice -- one was a mediocre success bootstrap I ran for five years, and the other crashed and burned spectacularly before it even got off the ground. I've blogged about those elsewhere so I'll spare you the gory details here, but I can tell you one lesson learned across the board is that a great founding team is an obvious advantage. I can't promise I'll be a good fit for anyone in particular, but as much as finding co-founders has been compared to dating -- hey let's at LEAST make a connection, maybe give it a shot, and think about seeing where it could go.

I'm currently most passionate about privacy and security, and have been tinkering with some of my own ideas in the SaaS ChatOps infosec space, but would love to hear your ideas - it's trivial for the right person or team to get me on board with pretty much any idea that just_makes_sense. "Just makes sense" is hard to quantify, but I'll try. If it clearly solves a significant pain point that I have myself or can easily envision, and I can see one or more paths to delivering on solving it with unit economics that scale rationally, then it just makes sense. The good news is that I'm pretty good at assessing all of those points (and even inventing them), so even if you haven't figured that all out yet, let's still talk. It's honestly a LOT more important that we be able to work together constructively than you have a perfect idea to just execute on. In fact, if your idea is 'perfect' and well hashed out, you probably don't need ME - you can just hire or inspire a lot of folks to build it for you.

As an example of the ideas of my own that I've been inspired to work on, here's a free Slack App that I am building, using the CheckPhish API from Bolster, to help teams find urls that may be suspicious. Among the COVID pandemic, the 2020 census, and the election, there is a TON of phishing going on right now, and there is vision, mission, and opportunity in addressing that. Please check it out and let me know what you think. 


Speaking of inspiration, I'm also particularly inspired to kick something off with folks currently underrepresented in the tech startup space. Just about every demographic metric that I am in is OVERrepresented in this space, and it's part of my personal mission to help resolve that. It's obvious to me that representation matters tremendously to the health of a team, and I want to be a part of a founding team that has broad representation at the top, for the even broader team that grows with it. 

In addition to early CTO-level strategic thinking, I come to the table with a good amount of hands-on nodejs backend development and operations experience in the cloud, most recently several years on GCP, but also several more years before that on AWS. Importantly, in addition, I also bring a decent amount of product development experience from idea through launch, product-market-fit assessment, and decent growth, and I have a particular affinity for troubleshooting difficult problems of any variety - technical or otherwise. 

On the flip side, I'm NOT a great aesthetic designer or front-end developer, but I can get done what needs done there -- which brings me to my superpower. My superpower is being that early extreme generalist: WHATEVER* NEEDS DONE, GETS DONE, whether that's development, ops, IT, sales, marketing or LITERALLY whatever*. Until we have the leverage to better fill those roles, where it's clearly the priority: I can wear that hat.

So there it is, my first blog post in almost precisely 3 years. Even if you don't have an opportunity in mind at this time, I'd love to know what you think!


*as long as it's legal, moral, and ethical


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