Tailwind Staff Software Engineer

Hi Team!

This post is my application for the open Staff Software Engineer position.

A Bit About Me

I'm a software engineer from Omaha, NE (USA) with BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering from University of Nebraska and an MS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon. For the last 9 years, I've been self-employed running a bootstrapped software company, Unstack Software. My goal has been to build, acquire, and run a portfolio of small SaaS and content businesses (more on that later!).

I have 3 kids (ages 6, 4, and 2) and a 4th on the way. As a solo-founder of 9 years with a young and growing family, I'm very used to (and enjoy) having a busy lifestyle with lots of moving parts. Our favorite thing to do together is take long road trips to the mountains to go hiking. We've done trips of 37 days and 41 days, kids in tow, and all while I managed my business and team.

Hiking Medicine Bow Peak in Wyoming

Yes, my timezone (Central) is off by 1 hour of your preferred timezone, but having managed a global team (ranging anywhere from Brazil to Serbia to Japan) for the last 9 years, I have no problem accomodating for and working with people from vastly different timezones.

I'm also comfortable with the contractor status, as I already pay for my own health insurance and retirement plans.

But Why Hire Me?

I've packed an entire career worth of experience in the last 12 years or so. A few highlights:

  • During my masters degree at Carnegie Mellon, I worked on their lunar rover project for the Google X Prize, which spun off into Astrobotic and just made their first launch attempt to the moon a few weeks ago.
  • Also in my masters, I co-created Pixy and successfully raised almost $275k on Kickstarter. Pixy is now sold at most major online electronics retailers.
  • During my time at Sandia National Labs, I shifted more towards a software focus and worked on a variety of projects, including satellites, communication systems, and more.
  • After leaving Sandia in 2015, I started and bootstrapped Unstack Software where I've been starting, acquiring, and running software products, both solo and with a team.
  • I started Stack Abuse (the site you're on now!) during the launch of Pixy in 2013 and have been actively growing it since 2015. At our peak, SA had over 1.5 million monthly visitors, 5 full time staff, and we managed dozens of contract writers.
  • I acquired Block Sender, rewrote everything, and grew it from a few hundred users to over 60,000 users today. It's one of the most technically challenging products I've worked on and could be a case study for learning how to deal with edge cases and conflicting customer needs.

The thing I'm most looking forward to in this role is the challenge of learning new skills and contributing to a product that I really love. I truly believe that your best work is done when you're straddling the line of comfort and discomfort, which this role would do for me. I may not check all the boxes (i.e. lack of experience in Rust and Accessibility), but my entire career has been about learning whatever skill it is that I need to get things done - whether it's learning new languages, frameworks, how to manage a team, how to manage customers, or anything in between.

As I tweeted a few months ago, Tailwind has been an incredible teaching tool for me. It has taught me more about CSS in the last few years than I learned in the first 10. I believe that I can use my unique skills and perspective to help make Tailwind more accessible to a broader range of developers.

Technical Skills

I consider myself a full-stack developer and almost solely use JavaScript for all of my projects. My preferred stack is AWS, Node.js, Next/React, Tailwind, and PostgreSQL. In a previous life I wrote a lot of Python, Java, and C/C++, but I have primarily used JavaScript for the last 8 years. I've been desperately looking for an excuse to learn Rust, but I promise I'm applying to this job for more than just that 😉

A few things I'm proud of:

  • Stack Abuse's Course Platform: In addition to the custom CMS, I also built a full course platform for Stack Abuse that has been used by thousands of students. It's built with Next.js, Tailwind, and PostgreSQL. This is where I got my first taste of Tailwind and have been migrating my projects to it ever since. At its peak, this platform was serving over 100,000 users per day.
  • Block Sender's Backend: This was a small app I acquired in 2016 and completely rewrote from scratch. To date, it's processed over 750M emails, which taught me a great deal about working on systems that need to scale. I also built a simple dashboard and Chrome extension for our 60,000+ users.
  • Camo, my first open source project: What started as a fun project to learn Node and Document DBs 9 years ago turned into a semi-popular ODM with over 550 GitHub stars. While I can't say I'm super proud of the technical aspects (after all, it was my first Node project), it did teach me a lot about managing open source software and working with users and contributors.
  • Matrix, my personal bot platform: As a small team, we needed to be as fast and efficient as possible, which meant automating as much as we could. I built a bot platform that made it easy to write and deploy tools that would handle time-consuming periodic tasks. For example:
    • Monitor Reddit and HN for mentions of any of our products.
    • A tool to check our 1500+ articles for broken links, broken images, spelling errors, poor formatting, etc.
    • Sync customer data to our master email list.
    • Make periodic backups of certain data.
The custom CMS I'm writing this on. You'll probably notice some early Tailwind UI components in there!

Note: I should point out that my GitHub profile's activity is not representative of the amount of programming I do. While almost all of my projects use git version control, I don't host most of them on GitHub.

Leadership

I've been leading teams for the last 6 years, in addition to the code I write. The roles ranged from virtual assistants to editors/writers to developers. Check out Stack Abuse's About Us page to see some of the amazing people I got to work with! Of the 120 staff displayed on that page, I personally hired over half of them.

Writing

Since founding Stack Abuse, I've written/edited over 450 articles and edited 6 books. Here are a few of my favorites:

Want to dig deeper into any of the books listed above? Just let me know and I'll get you access to the course versions.

Fun and Useless Facts

  • My wife and I have been avid CrossFitters for the last 9 years. Fitness is my 3rd passion after family and work.
  • I share Adam's love of metal - all of my productivity can be attributed to bands like Soilwork, Darkest Hour, Tool, and Korn.
  • My office is on a farm. Like an actual farm. Our family has run a company in the ag space for the last 130+ years. I'm fortunate to be able to rent office space from them and escape the noise at home.
  • My personal best Rubick's cube solve is 42 seconds 🤓
Last Updated: March 29th, 2024
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