Lifelong friends Josh Simmons and Chris Boyle founded the Newark-based digital firm CodeSpout in 2018 after a decade of building experience separately in the entrepreneur and dev spaces.
Recently, they decided to take that experience and create a podcast about building better local entrepreneurship communities. “The Second Foundation” launched in early February with a deep dive into the methods of incubating the startup ecosystem.
We wanted to know more, so here are five questions with Simmons and Boyle:
Technical.ly: How did “The Second Foundation” get started?
Simmons: I spent the last few years inside the bubble of the startup I was working with. Our perspective was that everyone we needed to interact with was either in New York or D.C. After that experience, I realized that things would have been a lot easier if we had networked and contributed to our local startup community.
Also, being from a software background, I know a ton of developers in the area. A lot of them are rockstars that definitely have the potential to build and scale their own ventures. So why weren’t they doing it? I didn’t have a good answer. We started the podcast to aid in the search process. It’s a forum for us to broadcast everything we’re finding and to bring in people that are critical parts of our startup ecosystem.
What is the basic format of the podcast? What can listeners expect?
Simmons: The first handful of episodes are about some foundational topics that explore existing entrepreneurial ecosystems. We attempt to extract useful patterns that apply to our area and others like it. We have a “people first” philosophy to the way we talk about things. We believe in focusing on the realm of what you can influence rather than concerns out of your control. We focus on what people can do right here and now to move themselves in the direction they want to go in.
What is your podcast setup?
Boyle: Our podcast setup consists of a MacBook Pro, GarageBand, MXL 990 condenser microphones run through a Focusrite Scarlett USB interface, all using years of experience from playing music and recording songs at home together.
Our ideal spot to record varies; we started generating content at Josh’s house, in a small in-home office. We have recently moved to the University of Delaware library to utilize the group study rooms. It’s perfect. With it being a nice quiet atmosphere, and easy to meet each other, we can record studio-quality content. We pack our microphones up with table top stands, grab our computers, throw everything in a backpack and get to work. We set up quickly on the go, record, and quickly break down, as Chris is excited to carefully edit each episode.
I edit and mange all podcasts, from recording, to editing, to distribution, to marketing, and to advertising/sponsorships. We use GarageBand to edit all of our recorded content, and utilize free music libraries for background and intro music.
What are your entrepreneurial backgrounds?
Simmons: For the last two years I was in a cybersecurity and machine learning startup based here in Newark. I spent most of my time leading the development of the technology. I also spent that time helping potential customers and partners understand how they could integrate with our technology. I’m currently engaged in coaching super-early-stage startup tech folk, which largely just focuses on me telling them to put down the keyboard for a while and go talk to potential customers. Of course, I’m also full steam ahead on building the next big thing.
Boyle: I started out in woodworking, building handcrafted hardwood longboards and selling them all over the world. I did this for a while, and realized I found just as much enjoyment in building my company website and marketing the company, as I did when physically building boards. I had a passion for creativeness and being unique.
I was attending Delaware Technical Community College for General Business, but at the time, had a hard time focusing on my course work. I was more interested in getting out there, and learning by doing, than I was in sitting in a classroom for most of my day. It’s crazy how when looking back, all I can do is laugh at what was going through my head at the time. Should I have stayed in school and continued to educate myself? Sure, but I have no regrets.
I dabbled in logo design in 2018, as I was approached by a friend to help out a client of hers with a new logo. It quickly turned into this client also needing a website. It was a bigger project than I had originally thought, more commonplace features and in depth content, so I enlisted the help of Josh to help push the project along. We quickly built and launched the clients website, and immediately had a second request for another site, from a completely different client.
At that point, [we established] CodeSpout.
Can you tease future topics?
Simmons: We hear a lot from people who are considered traditionally successful. What I don’t hear from is people who are past their first couple of hurdles and are trying to make their startup scale. I think success in life means you do what you enjoy day in and day out. Every early-stage startup team I interact with can’t picture doing anything else. Watching these people grow and helping others get going is really the focus of the podcast (and my life in general).
Future topics will include:
- Guest interviews with founders who have a team formed, have raised or have launched their product, or anything else that could be considered early stage but moving. I’d like these people to give our audience their perspective on how they got from just an idea to where they are.
- Guests who bring 100% positive energy and support to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. It takes more than just founders to get things started.
- Breaking down some of our favorite relevant books. A lot of people who have made it want to share their knowledge. Our podcast is a great way to get some of that written knowledge out to this area.
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