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Q&A with 2013 Hack Reactor alum, Mike Adams

Hack Reactor

Q&A with 2013 Hack Reactor alum and CEO of Grain, Mike Adams

We asked some of our software engineering alumni to share their learning journey going through our bootcamp and their experience since graduating.

We're catching up with Mike Adams, who graduated from the 2nd cohort of Hack Reactor in 2013 and founded HRX, the Hack Reactor alumni community. Today, Mike is a three-time start-up founder and CEO of Grain, which is a SaaS company that helps its users record, transcribe, and share highlights of Zoom calls.

What made you originally become a software engineer?

I Co-founded Degreed, but the two of us weren't technical and we really struggled to raise money for the first year. We outsourced our product to an overseas shop and it took forever. The results were underwhelming until we brought on our own CTO and things turned around. I wanted to control my ability to turn ideas into a reality without external dependencies (turns out I was wrong about that... you always have external dependencies).

How has your software engineering experience been beneficial while working as a Co-Founder and CEO?

I haven't written production code in 3-4 years, but it is extremely helpful to communicate with the engineers and carry an accurate mental model for the nature of the technical problems we face, even if I'm not writing the actual code.

As a three-time startup founder, what lessons did you learn at your first two startups that were helpful when you Co-Founded Grain?

I tweeted about this a few weeks ago! TL;DR - I had to learn emotional intelligence, grit, and business strategy.

What is Grain, and what is your mission with the company?

Grain allows users to instantly record, transcribe, and highlight the best parts of their Zoom video calls. It's a 10x faster and easier way to share information and it's 10x more effective too (audio/video is more persuasive than text). Here's video call highlight made using Grain where one of our early users actually said this.

Our purpose is to help others to truly understand each other. We do that (our mission) by making it easier to listen and to be heard.

As a company whose technology is focused around Zoom video calls, how has COVID-19 impacted Grain?

It's been very validating for our vision. More conversations are happening over video calls than ever before. Our addressable market probably grew 5x overnight. The downside has been more competition. We were weirdos with an insight on the frontier for the first 18 months of Grain but now we've seen a lot more companies trying to do what you could only do with Grain start to pop-up.

More about Grain

For more information about Grain, you can take a look at their website or view their video demo here.

More about Hack Reactor

If you’re interested in learning the skills to become a developer or a software engineer, Hack Reactor can help you get there. Click here to learn more about our software engineering immersive or click here to get started with our free prep courses.