Founder Notes, Tam Kbeili at CodeCast

This is the first “Founder Notes” – I share some links and highlights of a discussion with a founder as we talk about their business. As with many things I do, it’s an experiment in “working out loud”. I’ve spent many years in Vancouver working with early stage startup founders, and I enjoy workshopping ideas and sharing useful resources.

This morning I sat down to catch up with Tam Kbeili @tammam, founder & CEO of CodeCast. People in Vancouver may also remember Tam as cofounder of CodeCore, one of the first coding bootcamps locally. He sold the school in October of 2018.

CodeCast is aiming to be the Twitch for livestreaming coding. One of the things that Tam said is that he believes this is a new category of business he calls “developer media”. It’s not really a devtool (aka B2D aka “business-to-developer” services), it’s not really education / edtech. I like this term – I’m going to start using it.

This made me think about Stewart Butterfield’s “We Don’t Sell Saddles Here” company memo about Slack. Defining a new category and promoting it can be very powerful.

As I do to everyone, I recommend Brad Feld’s Venture Deals book if you’re considering raising money for your company. Related, I also have a set of Pitch Deck Resources that are a useful starting point for thinking about how to tell the story of your company and big idea.

We talked about bootstrapping vs. venture funding, and talked about Christoph Janz’s “Five Million ways to build a $100M business – either lots and lots of users whose data you sell to generate advertising, or customers that pay progressively more, and then of course need more “effort” in doing sales.

Tam is looking for developers to do some livestreams or workshops on the platform, which is ready to use now. Aside from individual developers, the platform would also be interesting for coding bootcamps or corporate training. If this sounds interesting, get in touch with Tam at CodeCast.

We talked about having @expede do a Haskell or Elixir session to try it out, and Tam said he could kick the tires on building something with @FissionCodes.

Fun fact: CodeCast is built on Elixir, and @expede has written a lot of Elixir and is the creator of several Elixir libraries, including Witchcraft and Exceptional.

Tam asked, are there any pitch competitions in Vancouver that are worth attending? My answer is that pitch competitions generally are a waste of time.

We’ll organize a peer pitch deck review at the end of Feb 2020. If you’re a Vancouver founder/investor/advisor interested in participating, slide into my DMs. I’ve run these before, where a handful of founders present their business and get feedback / questions from their peers to help improve how they tell the story of their company.

For CodeCast, it feels like a company with a global customer base, so there’s nothing that ties it in particular to Vancouver or Canada for an investor base. I generally recommend to use $USD as the default “global” currency when you’re mentioning numbers in pitches about your company.

I nominated Tam to be invited to #ehlist. EhList is a Canadian founders group, roughly organized by cities around the world, and its main interface is a shared Slack channel. In Vancouver Steve Lionais @slionais of Dr. Bill is the main coffee organizer, which meets roughly monthly, usually at Lost & Found Cafe on Hastings.

And that’s it for the first edition of Founder Notes!

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