Launching a Startup as a Dev with @tomjohnson3: TDI 7

Threads Dev Interviews

I am finding developers on Threads and interviewing them, right on Threads. You are welcome to follow along and let me know on Threads if you would like to be interviewed.

“My philosophy as a CTO is that my most important job is to keep the team focused and busy.”

Tom Johnson (@tomjohnson3) on Threads

What is the back story around the creation of @trymultiplayer and how is it going?

Good morning Ryan and thanks for having me! I really enjoy reading these interviews.

Contrary to what the name suggests @trymultiplayer is not a gaming software company! We’re just big fans of effortless team collaboration 😆It’s a dev tool designed to enhance distributed software development by providing a collaborative and visual tool for managing complex system architectures.

About 10 years ago I began thinking about a platform like this to make working on distributed software easier. 👇

Our CEO and I both came out of the dev world and we recognized a gap in the market. We bootstrapped and built the initial design, but it was too early. We waited for a few years until it was a problem every company was facing, and we began talking to investors a few months ago.

We’ve been working since Jan on the first version of the product, and we have some early users trying it out now. Our waitlist is open for more beta users to sign up and we’re on track to making it public this fall 🤩

I believe @trymultiplayer just closed a round of funding. Were you involved in the fundraising aspect and what is that process like?

Yes, our CEO and I went through the process together. The market was tough so we are very proud that we were able to raise the round. We leveraged our own networks to find investors who, like us, cared about and understood developers. For example, one of our earliest angel investors was Mitch Wainer, the co-founder of DigitalOcean. 👇

Our initial conversations were focused on the problems we were solving and then the investors who were interested in talking more would have us pitch some developers from their own networks to talk about the specifics of the tech.

💯 Developers are our most important audience and the most discerning users – we always have a lot of opinions to share about tools and I love talking with my people! 😆 😉

You posted about this recently, but can you give us a rundown of the tech stack you are currently using?

Of course! Currently we’re using:


  • ‣ React
  • ‣ Redux


  • ‣ Node.js
  • ‣ Rust
  • ‣ Mongodb Atlas
  • ‣ RabbitMQ
  • ‣ Kubernetes
  • ‣ AWS

We’ll likely evolve it in the future but for now it works really well!

Rust is amazing when deterministic performance is important. We have a “pluggable” backend DB architecture, so we will be able to support other DBs as we launch support for self-hosted and VPC deployments. MongoDB is great – but we have a lot of love for other DBs too (Postgres, etc)

What does a typical day look like as the CTO of a small new startup? Are you writing code? Working on marketing demos? Tutorials? Hiring? Everything?

Not so much coding anymore. 😅 It’s more about working with the whole team on different efforts – development, sales, marketing, and strategy.

From a development perspective, I collaborate on design, etc. I’ve coded since I was a kid but right now that can’t scale. My philosophy as a CTO is that my most important job is to keep the team focused and busy. Focused on the mission and where we are going and busy working on the most important features and what’s coming up next.

What advice do you have for a developer thinking about creating a startup someday?

Be patient. Have a lot of ideas. Take your time. Cut the ones that don’t stand the test of time. Focus on the ones that survive the “cuts.” It’s the ideas that keep coming back to you that deserve your time. Out of the hundreds of ideas that I’ve had – that I *really* loved at some point – there are four ideas that have stood the test of time. Multiplayer is the best of the four. 😉

How did your previous development roles specifically prepare you for Multiplayer?

I’d say that it was important for me to “see the world” so to speak as a developer before doing my own thing. That meant working on a variety of problems that interested me, and on a variety of different teams (large and small; startups and large companies). It helped me to see business opportunities, learn some patterns, as well as form opinions about tech and working with people.

You have to always keep learning in this business. …and that’s what makes it so fun.

What is something you would tell your younger self?

Don’t be in such a rush. Be patient. At the same time: don’t waste time on unimportant things (the things your gut was telling you would be a waste) – time is a precious…and u can’t get it back. Also, take some chances…it doesn’t getting easier to handle risk as you get older. 😉

How can people find you elsewhere online?

I’m tomjohnson3 pretty much everywhere: LinkedIn, twitter, Reddit, hacker news, etc. is the project I’m getting off the ground now. Open Beta soon. Thanks so much for the chat @ryan.swanstrom – it was fun!!!

Full interview here: @ryan.swanstrom • Threads Dev Interview #7 I am finding developers on Threads and interviewing them, right here on … • Threads





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