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Alan Christopher Thomas

I'm Alan Christopher Thomas, your stand-in technical cofounder. Bootstrap your product idea with a simple, monthly subscription.

Full stack development

I'm Alan from Kansas City, Kansas, USA, and I work with startups and small businesses to help them build new things and scale their applications.

Wearing some extra hats

I help your company establish its technology while also holding a deep interest in the brand, product, business, and people.

Billing just like any other SaaS

Rent my time month-to-month. No billing overhead or 1099s, just a simple monthly subscription with well-defined budgets of my time.

Primary Tech Stacks

Python Python
Javascript Javascript
React React
Django Django
Flask Flask
Pyramid Pyramid
Node.js Node.js
AngularJS AngularJS

Current Learner Languages: Elm, Rust, and Erlang
(plus Ruby and Go proficiency)

Development Plans

Flexible Teammate

30hrs/wk

In this plan, I'm your team's technical partner, but on a flexible schedule. The package provides the time necessary for me to get your product off the ground or make meaningful contributions to your technology.

Total Hours Up to 30hrs/week
Sync Hours Up to 3hrs/week
Onboarding Hours 2hrs up front
Price $11,400/month
Get Started

Scheduled Teammate

30hrs/wk

Like the flexible subscription, I'll be a strong technical partner for your team. However, I will work all 30 hours at fixed times so we can keep up live communication.

Total Hours Up to 30hrs/week
Sync Hours All 30hrs scheduled
Onboarding Hours 2hrs up front
Price $14,250/month
Get Started

Advising Plans

Collaborator

5hrs/wk

As your tech collaborator, I'll be a regular presence on your team: helping pick technologies, advising the scope of your projects, fighting technical debt, executing rewrites, weighing in on technical strategy, interviewing developers, or any other technical challenges your team might face.

Total Hours Up to 5hrs/week
Price $1,900/month
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Consulting

2hrs/wk

Great for the startup that needs some consistent outside technical perspective. I can provide advice and review of your tech stack, architecture, wireframes, product strategy, and planning or perform technical interviews of potential candidates when you're in hiring mode.

Total Hours Up to 2hrs/week
Price $760/month
Get Started

Get to Know You

1hrs/wk

This is the most affordable plan and gives your company a chance to work with me during project planning or even before capital is available. I will be a regular sounding board for technical decisions and help with your company's engineering footing at whatever stage you're in.

Total Hours 1hr every two weeks
Price $140/month
Get Started

Highlights

  • Individually founded, built, and scaled Define Me — one of the earliest Facebook applications — to over 6 million users.
  • Worked on a two-person innovation team designing emerging technology projects for brands like Sprint, Blue Bunny, New Era, Dairy Queen, Krispy Kreme, and Marmot.
  • Co-Founded and engineered Hitched Up, a wedding website startup, acquired by Minted one year after launch.
  • Refactored the Sauce Labs web stack, moving the company from a legacy Pylons stack to an independently-deployable Django app, and from Backbone.js to a componentized AngularJS style guide.
  • Managed a small, cross-functional team to grow Minted wedding websites into a top performer in the space and a highly successful wedding customer acquisition channel for the company.
  • Created Minted's core home decor image compositing technology, used to generate photorealistic lifestyle images in real-time with dynamic art and fabric designs.

Recommendations

Alan is a born leader and one of the best, if not the best, product and engineering communicators I know. He has an incredible amount of customer empathy, a knack for simplifying engineering problems and schedules, and an envious record of delivering on time and with high quality. He is curious, a welcoming teacher and a learner, a phenomenal teammate, and above all, probably one of the best human beings I know. I have the utmost admiration for him and can't wait to see what he launches next.

–Doug Aley, CRO at Ever
Formerly Shuddle CEO, Zulily VP of Product, Minted GM New Business, and Amazon Sr. Product

Alan is a mature, thoughtful, and productive software developer. When we worked together he showed deep architectural insight and set up our web application with a structure that has been easy to maintain and extend for well over a year. Alan is familiar with all modern development tools, frameworks, and practices including effective team collaboration habits and team communication abilities. Add to that his honest and hard-working nature, and I have no hesitation in recommending Alan for any task he is willing to take on, whether it is a short-term project or an ongoing engagement.

–Jonathan Lipps, Director of Engineering at Sauce Labs

Alan knows his stuff. And you know that's true after talking to him for about 30 seconds. What I appreciate most about Alan is his ability to quickly analyze a situation and make a recommendation in the form of multiple solutions (listing pros and cons for both). And not only that, but he can quickly and articulately take the concept of a highly technical solution and explain it to a non-technical person like myself. He also has a savvy business sense and understands the value of creative in the product development process. I highly value Alan's opinion and guidance. If you have the chance to work with Alan, your project and your team will be better for it.

–Lacey Ellis, Founder and CEO at LittleHoots

I've worked with Alan on and off since 2009. We even started a little company together a few years back. Having worked with him closely, I can tell you that the quality of his work is phenomenal, and his work ethic can't be topped. Alan always puts all of his effort into each project he's involed with. Here's the thing, though: he has a knack for understanding what will utlimately make a product successful. He can efficiently manage project timelines while keeping an eye on the core strategy. It's very rare to find an engineer that understands customer motivations, contributes to product strategy, and masterfully builds the final product. You will find that Alan is a great communicator, collaborator, and will deliver what he promises.

–Travis Beckham, Senior UX Manager at Minted
Formerly Hitched Up Co-Founder/Designer and MMGY Global Associate Creative Director

How It Works

Total hours

Total hours are the total weekly allocation of my time allotted to your company. Provided there is work to be done, total hours are representative of the amount of time that I will spend on development work, consulting, meetings, and emails with your company. If a subscription begins or ends in a partial week, total hours will be proportional to the number of working days in the week.

Sync hours

I make every attempt to limit scheduled activity throughout the day to guarantee I will have large chunks of undistracted time to dedicate to every customer's needs. Sync hours are your subscription's allotment of this scheduled time. That is, I'll work those hours any available time at your company's discretion. This works well for regularly-scheduled team meetings or checkins, which usually happen over Zoom or Google Hangouts. Sync hours count against your subscription's total hours.

Onboarding hours

Onboarding hours are one-time-use hours at the beginning of your subscription that do not count against your total hours. Use them to help me get acquainted with your company and technology.

Add-on services

Add-on services provide an extra level of service beyond your subscription's alloted offering, but each of these services incurs an additional charge. You will always be notified if you will receive an add-on charge before deciding whether to use the service, so there's no need to worry about these charges happening "accidentally." Charges will be automatically billed to the subscription payment method on file.

Additional sync hours +$60/hr
Additional weekly hours +$120/hr
PagerDuty +$120/day
Travel +$720/night
Additional sync hours

In order to protect my effective use of every customer's time, there is an additional charge for sync hours that must be scheduled in addition to your subscription's allotted sync hours. Additional sync hours still count against your total hours, even with the add-on charge.

Additional weekly hours

If your company needs more of my time in a given week than your subscription's allotment, additional weekly hours will be charged at the listed add-on rate. Availability of additional weekly hours depends on my current workload.

PagerDuty

Provided I am available, I can be assigned the pager for responding to incidents. In addition to the daily PagerDuty rate, any time I spend responding to a PagerDuty notification will additionally count against your weekly total hours or incur additional weekly hour charges if weekly hours have already been met.

Travel

When travel is necessary, I bill an additional nightly add-on rate in addition to the cost of airfare and transportation expenses.

Payment methods

I accept both credit card and ACH payment methods.

Rate changes

Plan rates are liable to change from time to time. However, your company will always receive at least one month's written notice of these rate changes.

Equity subsidized rates

In exceptional cases, I offer discounted subscription rates in exchange for an equity stake in your company. Please ask me about this discount during our initial conversations if your company may be interested. Preference is given to companies that have already raised a round of funding from reputable venture firms. All equity compensation should be in the form of a restricted stock grant (not options). For monthly subscriptions, stock should be granted at the start of each month and vest at the end. For 3 month retainer subscriptions, all stock should be granted at the start of 3 months, and vest at the end of each month in 1/3 chunks.

Vacation time

I may take up to 10 business days off per quarter and will give one month notice if taking more than 3 days at a time so you may alter your subscription. Any time missed will be prorated and discounted from your subscription. If emergency time off is needed without notice, the prorated time lost plus an additional 10% of the prorated amount, up to one week, will be discounted from your subscription.

Tentmaker

Tentmaker, LLC is the legal entity I use for subscription development work (as well as several other side projects). When you do business with me, you'll be doing business with Tentmaker, LLC, and as such, this is what will show up on your billing statements and other materials. Tentmaker, LLC is treated as an S-Corporation for tax purposes, so there is no need for your company to issue a 1099 to me or to the company.

For the curious, the word "tentmaker" is a reference to the Bible, which mentions that the apostle Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3). Reading about his life and writing in the New Testament, he was so absorbed in love and servitude to Christ and love and servitude to other people that it's hard to remember he even had a job. The "Tentmaker" name is a reminder to myself that this is how I want to live, absorbed in a deep love for Christ and identifying with Jesus instead of what I do to earn money.

Let's get down to business.

Shoot me an email at alan@tentmaker.co.
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