Tagzly is setting up to disrupt the reader community, but who is behind this awesome project? Our meet the team series will introduce you to the team spearheading the construction and launch of Tagzly, so you can get to know a bit more about us. Last friday we forced Joe from his busy schedule and got a chance to talk with him about building the technical side of Tagzly (and his other projects).
Tagzly: Hello Joe, tell us a bit about yourself.
Joe: Well, I grew up mostly near Chapel Hill, NC but my mom is from Boston, MA and my Dad is from Queens, NY so we’ve travelled around a bit. I went to high school in Chatam County though and then jumped straight into school at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. I have been coding since high school, so that, along with mathematics, is what I am studying now. I am somewhat outdoorsy, and I like to take walks in the woods without carrying any electronics sometimes just to get away from everything. I am pretty mellow, but get pretty excited about tech innovations.
Tagzly: Great! How did you get to Tagzly?
Joe: Well I have some entrepreneurial experience, I guess. I built a website to help improve the class signup process at UNC. The university system was really bad, so I built it for myself and then released it to the rest of the students for free. It was a fun learning experience, just like working on Tagzly. So, I had a taste for entrepreneurship and this was my chance to really dive in after getting my feet just a little wet. No regrets so far, other than meeting Eric (joke). Once we started working the idea just sort of emerged and I loved it, since it solves a problem that I previously had.
Tagzly: Are you using your own site to find your courses for next semester?
Joe: Of course, in fact I’m competing against my users to get into two classes. You’d think I could get faster access after all the work I put in, but no.
Tagzly: What do you think you would have studied if you hadn’t gotten into programming so early on?
Joe: I’d probably just be studying math, which I’m actually more passionate about than programming.
Tagzly: How do you remember the idea of Tagzly emerging?
Joe: So we were still really caught up in the idea of geofencing and location-based notifications. We were getting really frustrated with the issue of providing users with good and relevant information when we realized that there are very few products that can provide this. I had the idea to give users notifications when new articles about topics they were interested came out, and I guess something just clicked with Curtis.
He noticed that we could bring that to RSS readers. Plus, we all knew the space would be ripped wide open with the exit of Google Reader. It took a little while to validate the idea, but we talked to a few people in the space and some potential users and then just went for it. Now here we are today, less than a week from launch!
Tagzly: And what do you do in the team?
Joe: It’s important to know that I didn’t come up with this title, but I am now known as the “tech guru.” I basically lead in most of the programming and coding stuff, but Justin has been taking over a lot of the design and CSS work for building the esthetic design of the website. I built the backend that scours through the internet to find the articles that users want, with some help from Curtis and other advisors. I also play a lot of an odd table tennis variant with Eric. So yeah, I basically head up all the tech stuff, but I still get to learn a lot when we have to use new programming languages and work with more experienced programmers to help us get past hurdles in the code and Eric gives me pointers on business and marketing issues that the company has to work through.
Tagzly: What RSS Readers do you use or how else do you get your news?
Joe: I was a Google Reader user until they stabbed us all in the back. Haha. No, it’s not that serious, I quickly stepped over to Feedly just because I really like the mobile app and I really don’t check news that much on my laptop.
Joe with his lovely girlfriend, Tara.
Tagzly: What’s your favorite part of working in a young team on a new company?
Joe: Table Tennis.
Tagzly: What would you be doing this summer if you hadn’t joined the team to build a company?
Joe: Spending more time with my girlfriend and possibly some trips around the state. A chill summer probably while I work on my UNC related websites.
Tagzly: But instead you are busy pushing yourself to get Tagzly up and running.
Joe: No regrets!
Tagzly: That’s what we like to hear. Thanks for joining us Joe.
Joe: No problem. Glad to chat.
If you have any questions for Joe or the team, use the comments below! Stay tuned for the next team member profile. We’ll be talking to Curtis, who is helping Joe maintain and upgrade our soon-to-be-launched beta of Tagzly, what you’ve all been waiting for! Also a UNC student, he has a double major in computer science and philosophy, which becomes a little obvious from time to time.
Keep up-to-date with Tagzly on Facebook, Twitter and our blog. Be the first to see what Joe and the team have built, by checking out the beta right here. Stay tuned and don’t miss out on what’s happening with the site that brings you news on the topics that matters most to you!