Today we are talking to JR Hayward, the VP of Software Development at TopDown Systems.  And we discuss how a feature isn’t done until it’s shippable, tapping the next generation to drive innovation and the importance of asking the question “How could I be wrong?”

All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast.


J R Hayward is a software professional with more than 20 years of experience helping software companies both, large and small, bring products to market. He has successfully architected and managed the development of SaaS products all developed and deployed completely in the cloud. He is unique in that he has a deep understanding of the complete software life cycle from development on into sales and marketing.

He has successfully championed and implemented Agile Methodologies within the software development and marketing lifecycle and has extensive experience in computing from the mainframe to the micro computer. He has managed development teams in more than 5 operating systems including Windows, Unix, Linux, and z/OS, as well as developed in those environments himself. His experience covers the breadth of software development including JAVA, C++, C#, Visual Basic, Fortran, 370 Assemby, and etc. His database experience includes RDBMS, No-SQL, Graphic, and Memory Grid Databases. He has extensive knowledge in a large number of Open Source software packages and has architected systems integrating them into a cohesive package and then led the implementation of those architectures.


Show Notes:

  • What does TopDown Systems do?
  • New Product called InTouch
  • What does JR love about technology today? API System
  • API’s are simple and easy to use
  • Talking about programs writing programs
  • The real strength in development is creativity not technology – value is in creating the products
  • How did you get involved with TopDown Systems?
  • Mike Fitzgerald brought JR in to TopDown
  • Started by working on IBM mainframe systems writing assembly language at TopDown Systems
  • You can get a degree in Java Programming – JR would rather you teach them just programming
  • Does a lot of volunteering in the local school system
  • Science is Art
  • You can make a much better movie with technologists involved
  • You can have a movie set in rome and never leave your basement
  • IBM and Big companies have big systems lying around that they have to write off
  • Many people don’t understand how Computers work
  • Programmers have gotten sloppy because memory and speed has gotten so much bigger
  • Getting in to large systems – Mainframe systems – huge workloads – Facebook – Amazon
  • Get your young kid an arduino
  • Kids working with arduinos are learning more about the hardware than some programmers these days
  • That level of computing in the world is coming back
  • Adults have the ability to make concepts much more difficult
  • How large is the development team at TopDown – Run between 7 – 10 people
  • Team is distributed
  • Modern SDLC Process – Runs an Agile shop – Morning standups
  • Tatsu integrates with slack – Morning standups
  • What are you excited about at topdown systems? InTouch – they have the future road map
  • TopDown has been around for 30 + years
  • Built a microservices architecture – Docker was in its infancy
  • The ability to do a green field project and say yes is great
  • If a developer gives you a time frame double it and you’ll still be late
  • One of the issues they had getting people to adapt Agile – don’t estimate with time estimate with points – People want credit for their points – the daily meetings
  • Programmers aren’t paid to write code – They are paid to ship code
  • Excited that John Zimmer – Director of Marketing has knowledge of the technical side
  • One of the talents that a good technologist needs is understanding that it has to be shippable
  • Customers will always rave about TopDown’s support
  • Basically API with other companies
  • Look for really smart younger people – Innovation came about from kids right out of college
  • Saying yes teaches people to learn and think critically
  • How could I be wrong is one of the best questions you can ask
  • Where is InTouch at today?
  • Someone who has no IT experience should be able to walk in to InTouch and customize it to their needs
  • The Rules do not require a programmer

Joel Beasley

Joel began writing code at age 13 selling his first technology by age 18 for one million dollars. In his first three transactions, he developed key relationships and began working with Investors and Chief Technology Officers collaborating and building products in Real Estate, Law, Finance, and Fitness.

Today, Joel is a Chief Technologist volgging the process of building a company LeaderBits.io. Joel is an author of the book Modern CTO a #1 New Release on Amazon and a #1 Technology Podcast with 70k active listeners. Joel has a clear vision and passion for modern technology, placing him as one of the most exciting Chief Technology Officers to watch out for.

Joel is the President of BeasleyFoundation.org a charity that designs STEM related children’s books Back to the Moon and Princess Physicist. These books are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant woman and in-need children. Beasley Foundation was formed in February 2017 after Joel, Mitch and Valerie lost their Mother to Leukemia after being diagnosed 6 weeks earlier. Joel and his siblings wanted to do something unique with her life insurance money and the Beasley Foundation was formed.

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