Developers July 31, 2020

I got laid off... now I'm becoming a developer. Here's what I'm building.

Hunter Becton @skillthrive

In March I was working for a fast-growing tech company in Atlanta, GA. When the COVID outbreak started we were told everything would be okay and that we had plenty of runway to make it over a year. I thought my job was safe.

I was wrong.

Shortly after I was laid off with 20% of the company and told it wasn't because of me or my performance , but rather because the role itself was being removed.

I was shocked.

Days after that the company raises 10 million in a series C ( 20 million less than the series B 😖).

Days after that I see my exact position online, among others that were laid off.

I was angry.

But, despite my feelings, I wasn't happy in my former position. I had been in content marketing for nearly 5 years and felt like I wasn't going anywhere. I mentioned to my manager that I was interested in trying something new, something completely different. That something was web development.

That might seem like a stretch–to go from content to web development, but we were currently moving our marketing site to the JamStack and I had started learning the JamStack in my free time a couple years before.

Plus, I started sharing design and web development tutorials on YouTube for years and my channel was growing! It wasn't like I pulled this web development idea out of thin air.

But, my requests to my manager went nowhere.

I hated that feeling. I felt like my life was depending on someone else giving something to me. It went against everything I believe.

I thought to myself, "Maybe this layoff was an opportunity? Maybe this was my chance to become a full-time developer and chase my dreams of entrepreneurship. What did I have to lose?"

So, I got to work! I brainstormed some ideas and decided on creating a "chatroom for sound" that I'm calling WhamBoard.

The Project Backstory

The idea sprung from the fact that so many of us are on video meetings these days and the interactions between team members can sometimes be awkward.

You give a presentation.

🦗 Crickets 🦗

You ask a question.

🦗 Crickets 🦗

Instead, WhamBoard will allow users to create custom soundboards where other users can join and interact with sounds in real-time.

Plus, the applications could be much bigger than just online meetings: sports, gaming, time with family or friends, enter your idea here.

Current Progress

Right now, I have the majority of the backend built using Express and Node and I'm working on the frontend using React. I was already pretty comfortable with React, but I did need to sharpen my Node and Express skills a bit and found this Udemy course a lifesaver: Node.js, Express, MongoDB & More: The Complete Bootcamp 2020

If you made it this far I hope I might have inspired you to keep going with your dreams. I've been at this for years and have such a long way to go, but what keeps me going is the fact I love doing it! Some days are extra hard, but what worth pursing isn't sometimes?

I hope to share updates with the community as I progress and look forward to sharing a beta soon!

  1. 2

    Maybe it is just me, but I don't understand what your product offers. I understand that problem of silence in video meetings, and I have used a soundboard before, but I am still not sure what WhamBoard is. Do I use it during an online meeting to respond to somebody?

    1. 1

      It's like this, but you'll be able to create your own soundboards: https://bwamp.me/sandbox/

  2. 1

    First, I love it. Looking forward to adding sound effects to my next call :)

    BEW BEW BEW BEWWWWWWWWW!!!!!

    One thing, though - how can you both A) use a headset and B) use this?

    Wouldn't you need to have your speakers turned up, which would then cause an echo?

    1. 1

      If you’re using a headset you shouldn’t create an echo bc it’s in your ears and the mic shouldn’t pick up on it. However, I could see it being an issue with you hearing someone else’s WhamBoard if they were not using a headset or headphones.

    1. 1

      Yeah, that's actually very similar. Instead of it being a plugin for Google Meet it will be a URL with a soundboard. Similar to this: https://bwamp.me/sandbox/

  3. 1

    Awesome man, on to bigger and better things.

    Truthfully I've been on the other side of the table on two occasions. It's hard on both side.

    I'm wrangling a community of people building projects together in small groups. Kind of like your sounding board idea. It's a bit late but we still have spots for free for tomorrows group if you'd like to join.

    Here's the form:

    https://airtable.com/shrAOUMd5SfLjsBPa

    And a bit more about it:

    https://xoxo.vc