Boise Software Mentoring

by J.D. Mullin

Posted on April 22nd, 2010

Last night David Cohen from TechStars presented at a local TechBoise event.

He explained how TechStars helped to generate a software startup community and ecosystem in Boulder Colorado that feeds itself. Entrepreneurs, investors and mentors generating more entrepreneurs, more investors, and more mentors. It was motivational, to say the least. It was also hard to see why this couldn’t work in Boise. In fact, Nebula Shift was announced a few months ago and plans to use a similar approach.

I don’t plan on leaving my corporate job any time soon, but I’m fascinated with the software startup story. David’s presentation helped me realize my position in the community might be as a mentor. I want to contribute, and mentoring seems like the most immediate way to get involved.

At the end of this post I offer up a little information about myself, not in the context of “look at me”, but rather as a quick overview of things I’m interested in, past endeavors, and areas I might be able to contribute. Some of these things I know in depth, some I’ve only played with for a week or two, some I’d be interested in learning more about and could only provide direction to resources and research. The list is certainly not complete, but hopefully provides a quick overview.

I’m not a TechStars caliber mentor:

  • I can’t provide business advice (at least nothing credible).
  • I’ve never started a company.
  • I’ve never made millions.

I do love writing software, talking about software, and using software.

I can provide architecture and framework suggestions, beta feedback, and general “have you heard of”, or “have you considered” types of conversations. I can help you locate and evaluate contractors. I can review and test the code contractors deliver as well as give you an independent assessment of the reality of their schedules. I can even write a few modules for you on a weekend every now and then.

My day job working on developer tools exposes me to an outrageous number of technologies. My communication skills make it easy for me to effectively discuss these technologies with people of varying technical backgrounds. Some of the most helpful mentoring I have done so far has been helping those with little to no technical background get a handle on what is necessary, and what to expect, when implementing their business ideas.

I hope a few colleagues will join me, and perhaps we can start a mentors directory on the TechBoise web site. Until a directory like that exists, feel free to email me directly.

J.D. Mullin,, @jdmullin

What I Currently Do

  • Software developer and R&D manager for an embedded database server and its client APIs and drivers
  • Develop and write server and desktop client software using a variety of platforms and languages
  • Understand of a wide variety of database technologies, development environments and programming frameworks
  • Manage feature prioritization and roadmap
  • Handle scheduling and dev team (they are awesome and low maintenance, though, so this job is easy)
  • Train and interact with other software developers (we mostly sell to ISV’s)
  • Constantly evaluating development environments and frameworks is part of my job. Provides a breadth of knowledge, but not always much depth
  • Ship a successful software product that was conceived and is still currently developed here in Boise
  • Read way too many software blogs

General Interests

  • RESTful services
  • Scalability
  • Concurrent programming
  • Web APIs
  • Post-mortem debugging
  • Mobile device development (synchronization, data access, etc.)
  • Social graphs
  • Big dogs, beer, camping, motorcycles


  • My resume is probably the best list of past work

JD Mullin

J.D. Mullin

SVP Product & Engineering