Thoughts on interviewing, employment & changing the world from some product guy to the 2013 Nashville Software School Class

I'm Ferf

Entrepreneur, Product & Engagement Specialist    |    @theferf


Having purpose

My hopes for you


Most people suck at it. You probably suck at it. Just be a person.

  • People want to make sure you are not a dick, they have to work with you
  • Not everyone deserves the same resume. Customize it.
  • Expose yourself in public, they will look (github, twitter, facebook, blogs)
  • Kevin Bacon the hell out of the job you want


  • I typically do group interviews (2 way dynamics)
  • I usually have a developer, you might just not know it
  • The questions I ask - they are not for the reasons you think (Approach, logic, humility)
  • No matter size, tell me about your previous projects
  • When I google you, what am I going to find?
  • I want to know why you are leaving your old job
  • You should tell me how you heard about my job opening
  • I want to know what you do when you are not working

The point

When the interview is complete, I should WANT to work with you because I like you, I see potential in you & I appreciate the way you  solve problems. Not that you already know all the answers.

having purpose

You're Hired! Do something that feels good & go home proud.

  • Build something you believe in
  • Start something that you don't know the end of yet
  • Solve problems every day
  • Create a culture of gratitude
  • Leave when the time is right

so What is your purpose?

Your first job outside of the Nashville Software School won't be your last. But it might be your largest opportunity for growth. Someone is making a bet on you, who you will become and how you will impact their business.

What are your options?




Not your only options, of course, but for the sake of this presentation... it is an interesting angle.


One mans thoughts on the cons of freelancing & agencies...

  • You don't really get to choose what you work on (gun for hire)
  • Technical requirements (eg: dictated technology) confuse/slow progress
  • Things you build aren't reusable, usually build new for every client
  • When you leave, the client could be left helpless/underprepared
  • Rarely get a chance to learn about the company, their goals and how
    what you are building will help solve their problems now and into the future
  • You may not get the ongoing mentoring you need to grow
  • You spend at MOST 75% of your time coding. The rest is finding new clients


Working inside a company to solve bigger problems...

  • Ability to think about the long term future of a product and the company
  • Can look across multiple products and figure out best integration path
  • Can choose the right tools for the job, not be dictated to
  • Your opinions matter more and more as your tacit knowledge grows
  • Not spending time (25% or more of your time) finding clients, billing, quoting, etc

The point

No matter what type of work you do, do it with purpose and intent. Choose the direction you feel comfortable with based on your needs. Just know that the freelance life is not just raking in piles of cash, and the employee route may leave you longing for more.

my hopes for you

Nashville is an amazing place for developers. Wether you go the agency route or the employee route, I would challenge you with the following...

have fun

hone your craft

work with purpose

find mentors

choose culture

change the world