Folk Stories

Stories from Awesome People

Hosted by: Kevin S Lin

16: Friends, Family and Startups with Robert Sweeney

May 6th, 2019 (82 minutes)

Robert Sweeney is CEO of Facet, the premier platform for hiring senior contract software engineers.

Before becoming a founder, Robert was a senior software engineer himself at companies such as Netflix and Microsoft. Robert knew from an early age that he wanted to be an entrepreneur from working at his grandpa's grocery shop. Robert left Netflix with a friend to start a software development studio with an initial verbal contract from Western Digital.

In 2014, Robert founded Numetric, a SaaS based analytics startup. After working on the company for close to four years, hiring over 40 employees, and raising over $16 million in venture capital, Robert was fired from the very company that he founded.

Today, Robert is working full time on Facet and helping other engineers make the leap from full-time work to doing their own thing.

In today's episode, we talk about negotiating contracts, hiring and firing friends, and that time Robert's house almost burned down.

Quote

We had to make the decision that day… That didn't give us enough time to sign the contract. So we quit our jobs on a verbal yes.

– Robert Sweeney

Closing

  • inspiration
    • being fired from my startup - changed my perspective on startups and venture capital and also provide extra motivation
  • surprising
    • deal with anxiety
  • principal
    • complete transparency
  • anything else
    • successful entrepreneurs out there don't have anything that you don't have

Notes

  • working at grandpa's grocery store
  • early years at Microsoft and Netflix
  • first startup and quiting Netflix on a verbal agreement
  • working with western digital and communicating expectations
  • hiring and firing friends
  • that time when the house almost burned down
  • keeping a family together while doing a startup
  • Numetric, working with family, and getting fired from a company that you founded
  • facet, how it came to be and where its going

15: Domain Expertise with Jay Westerdal

April 22nd, 2019 (68 minutes)

Jay Westerdal is a CEO, founder, board member, and investor of a wide multitude of companies.

14: Focusing on the Message with John Lauer

April 8th, 2019 (44 minutes)

John Lauer is the CEO of Zipwhip, a Seattle based businesses that enables businesses to text message their customers through software and API solutions. Zipwhip is one of Seattle's fastest growing private companies and was the first business that made it possible for landlines and cellphones to communicate with each other.

13: Creating Film and Community with Vivian Hua

March 25th, 2019 (59 minutes)

Vivian Hua is the director of the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) , a non-profit film and arts center dedicated to public dialogue and creative action through collective cinematic experiences. Prior to NWFF, Vivian was Communications Manager for ICANNWiki, a collaborative resource dedicated to simplifying the complex issues, policies, and players in the sphere of internet governance. Vivian was also editor in chief of REDEFINE Magazine, a print and web magazine focused on music and the arts.

12: Feeding Ghosts with Tessa Hulls

February 15th, 2019 (68 minutes)

Tessa Hulls is an artist/writer/adventurer whose work spans a multitude of genres and whose travels have taken her across all 7 continents, much of it on bike. She is the daughter of two first generation immigrants and is currently working on a graphic novel about her grandmother titled "Feeding Ghosts".

11: Building a Successful White Label Technology Platform After a Decade of Pivots With Mark Michael and Daniel RustExplicit

January 31st, 2019 (54 minutes)

Mark Michael (CEO) and Daniel Rust (CTO) are the co-founders of DevHub, a white label technology platform that powers some of the world's most recognizable brands. Companies license DevHub technology to create sites /landing pages pages at scale. Companies also use DevHub as the repository for their experience data.

10: Getting Off the Couch with Mike Grabham

December 3rd, 2018 (69 minutes)

Mike Grabham is a serial entrepreneur who has founded six companies over the past twenty five years. He currently consults would be founders who are interested in launching either software or hardware based products and services. Mike is also the founder of "Package Guard", a company based around a patented product that protects items left out after delivery.

9: Telling Stories with Paul Currington

November 19th, 2018 (93 minutes)

Paul Currington runs the Fresh Ground Stories(FGS) meetup in Seattle. If you're not familiar with FGS, its a meetup that comes together ones a month to share personal stories (based off "The Moth"). Every month, there's a theme and people tell stories based on that theme. Anyone can go up on stage and tell a story, provided that they are true, personal and under 8 minutes.

8: Not Living on Automatic with HB Siegel

November 12th, 2018 (73 minutes)

H.B. Siegel is Prime Minister of Ideas at Amazon and also one of a very select group of people who have been at Amazon now for almost two decades. In that time, H.B. has been the Director of Media Technologies, the CTO of IMDB (an Amazon subsidiary), and helped launch the "search inside the book" feature for Kindle.

7: Running the Distance with Evan Williams

November 5th, 2018 (83 minutes)

Evan Williams is a man of many miles and talents. He has degrees in both physics and biomechanical engineering and for his day job, Evan works as a design engineer at MSR (Mounstain Safety Research), a firm which designs and manufactures high performance gear for the outdoors.

6: Hands on Learning with Sarah Smith

October 15th, 2018 (70 minutes)

Sometimes I have days when I wake up and think of everything wrong with the world (this is fun - I encourage you to try it sometime). Sometimes, this can feel overwhelming with all the problems going on - climate change, nuclear weapon proliferation, extreme social inequality, etc. Sometimes, it's hard to know where to start. And as a consequence, I do nothing about any of it.

5: Love, Math and Design with Janet Galore

October 8th, 2018 (78 minutes)

My guest today is Janet Galore, Creative Director of Amazon's Retail Experience Concept Lab. The Concept Lab is a department that looks 3-5 years ahead and explores potential retail experiences that could be possible in that time.

4: Celebrating the Century with Hallie Kupperman

October 1st, 2018 (73 minutes)

Before introducing today's guest, I like to setup a bit of context. Within the last two years, I wanted to get out of my regular circles and do something that didn't involve technology (for people unfamiliar, my day job is a software engineer at Amazon). I ended up picking up salsa dancing - little did I know that this decision would lead to some of the most significant relationships that I have today.

3: Taking No Shortcuts with Colm MacCárthaigh

September 24th, 2018 (67 minutes)

Colm MacCárthaigh is a Principal Software Engineer at Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS provides on demand cloud computing services to individuals, companies and governments around the world.

2: Just Playing with Jay Hitt

September 17th, 2018 (69 minutes)

Jay Hitt is a cast member and Managing Director of the Unexpected Productions (UP) Theater. UP is Seattle's longest running Improv Theater and Jay has been there for two of the plus three decades that its been around.

1: Directing the Narrative with Johan Liedgren

September 10th, 2018 (76 minutes)

Johan Liedgren is an award winning film director, consultant and investor/advisor/CEO of over 15 ventures. His clients include major brands like Amazon, Nike and Warner Brothers.