Get to Know Tommy Goode, CTO

Tommy Goode, known to some as that tall guy who loves Ultimate Frisbee, known to others as a Dr. Who fanatic who can fix your computer. Known to many as the Co-Founder & CTO of benja.

Photo by Danielle Selby,

Photo by Danielle Selby,

I had the opportunity to ask some hard-hitting questions in our first in-depth look at our resident bug-fixer and feature-adder.

What’s one trend (technological or not) that really excites you?

Solar power. I want my house, my car, and my dog covered in panels that generate cheap, renewable energy. Growth in renewable energy generation (especially once we can pair it with efficient storage) will greatly cut down on pollution as well as reduce our dependence on the grid. Plus, it will be much cheaper to charge my (future) Model X.

What are your favorite tools to stay productive?

I find that music helps me focus (whaddup, Spotify?), and having two monitors means I do a lot less window-swapping. I’m also one of those crazy list-people, so I have checklists on checklists on checklists to make sure I know what’s next.

What’s your favorite hardware / software to use?

I love developing on OS X in Sublime Text and Xcode. I use Dropbox daily as a backup and to share files with co-workers and friends. Slack is essential for keeping in contact since we’re a distributed team.

What’s your ideal workspace setup? 

I would work in an office or co-working space within walking distance of my apartment. There would be unlimited Slurpees and sour gummy worms available, as well as daily Ultimate games. My work area would have an electric sit/stand desk with 3 screens on it (hooked up to a Mac Pro, of course).

What’s your favorite thing about being a developer?

I’m passionate about solving problems; each bug or new feature is a problem that needs to be taken care of. I also love having a tangible impact on something people use - it’s empowering to be able to find an open-source project, fix a bug or add a feature, and then contribute that fix back to the community. The same thing applies to building things: starting with someone’s idea or mockup and turning it into a functioning app is a great feeling.

What’s the best part of being a part of a small, independent, geographically-diverse team?

There are so many “best parts!" I love being responsible for the product - the buck stops with me, so if something needs to be done, it’s up to me to do it. I get to have a very tangible impact on the company and our users. There’s no hierarchy or bureaucracy - I don’t have to submit paperwork to a committee before making changes. I’m not constrained by “office hours” or “work weeks” - if I want to sleep in and then stay up late working, I can do that. Oh, and traveling to visit teammates/attend events is pretty nice.

What resources do you use to continue learning?

I do a lot of reading. I follow tech and programming blogs (EngadgetBig Nerd Ranch, & Coding Horror), influential coders, and Hacker News.

If you get stuck on a problem, how do you overcome it? What are some resources?

First, I’ll take a break. Having some time away from the computer gives my mind a chance to work on the problem in the background. I also like to research the issue and see how other people have tackled it. Through the years I’ve honed my Google-fu to get pretty good at searching for solutions, and there is always the venerable StackOverflow.

If money was no object, what would you do with your time?

I would run a group of Airbnbs and travel around the world. While traveling, I would leverage my technical skills (and my Airbnbs) in philanthropic pursuits. I’d also probably play a lot of Ultimate.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what's your favorite gif?