Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Wade Sellers and I am the Lead iOS Developer for a Denver-based tech company startup named Flowhub, which creates hardware and software solutions for the cannabis industry. I’m responsible for the development of our mobile application side to these solutions.
You’ll find me coding daily. I also go into cannabis growers and dispensaries to speak to inventory managers and facility owners who oversee their operations. I’m responsible for continuing to increase my understanding of the product growth and production workflows in cannabis operations, while connecting with those in the industry as they describe the pitfalls where current technology is not adding value. From there we tackle these pitfalls as a team and develop modern solutions to help the industry move forward while maintaining state regulatory compliance.
What's your story before Mobile Makers? What did you do?
Prior to Mobile Makers, I spent 6 years in the United States Coast Guard as an Operation’s Specialist. I deployed to Kuwait and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The life experiences from the military built up a unfaltering work ethic and maturity that has aided me in goal completion throughout the years.
From there, I accepted an unpaid summer internship within the FBI. This awesome experience opened up numerous opportunities for me. I had a goal to work as a defense contractor overseas and I took advantage of an opportunity to operate various surveillance technologies on spy planes for the Department of the Army in Afghanistan. This adventure was quite unique and exciting but also stuck me in the middle of the desert for 9 months a year.
I was not comfortable with that living situation. After witnessing a mortar hit the airfield runway about a football field away from me while I was inside a plane holding a couple thousand pounds of fuel, I knew a change was imperative.
Star Wars, Star Trek, or both?
Both, but an absolute bias on Star Wars. It’s the ultimate battle between good and evil. I love the tech in Star Trek and that they bring new stories with their travels, but Star Wars holds a special place in my heart and always will.
What inspired you to try something else?
In Afghanistan, I began to realize that my successful 8-year plan was all for the wrong reasons. I wanted to make money and live a life I had envisioned in my head with that high income status. Upon reaching this pinnacle, I became incredibly sad. I didn’t care about the work I was doing and I was stuck in the middle of a war country where you’re only as safe as the guy next to you, because at any minute a mortar could take you out without warning. I was lost once again, going down a path that did not make me happy. I needed help but I didn’t know how to reach out for assistance.
One day in Afghanistan, a coworker said to me, “Wade you complain about your job all the time even though you make incredible money, what would you rather be doing?” This question, along with the current mental state I was in, brought forth the answer that was in front of me the whole time.
I replied quite hastily, as if I was internally begging to be asked this question, “I just want to build iPhone apps and I want to get paid for it!” Luckily, my friend had attended art design bootcamps and asked me, “Have you ever looked into bootcamps for this stuff?” I had no idea they even existed. After researching while still in Afghanistan, I applied to Mobile Makers. I interviewed through a Google Hangout and was eventually accepted.
Since that incredibly hot day when I spilled the beans on my passions, I have lived a life of amazing content. I live a “tech” life now. My social and professional circles are focused within those who embrace technology to benefit the world. I get to geek out without judgement from others because I have chosen to surround myself with those who have common passions. Our partners are eager to see how our product continues to solve the problems in a newly regulated industry. Everyone in my circles believes we are helping our country’s states understand that they can listen to their constituents when they say that they want the freedom to choose to use cannabis or not.
I am so incredibly lucky to be a front line developer in this battle. My work is making lives better in the world. It’s helping to bring cannabis medicinal benefits to my fellow brothers in arms as well as American’s everywhere. I went from helping to end the life of an “enemy” as those higher than I saw it, to prolonging a comfortable life to those who seek it. I’m 110% mentally fulfilled in my career path now and wake up excited to work harder than the last to push this industry forward.
How did you find Mobile Makers? And why Mobile Makers over other bootcamps?
Honestly, Google. I found a couple of other options out there but the true difference was simple. I couldn’t find a bad review for Mobile Makers and I could for all the rest.
The second reason was Mobile Makers didn’t sell smoke and mirrors, and I respect them for that. None of that “...guaranteed employment or your money back” b.s. Those statements are misleading and, let’s be honest here, going to bootcamp shouldn’t guarantee you a job because it should come down to the person, not the title associated with their certification.
Mobile Makers tells an honest story. Come in with a serious want to learn, put the time in, utilize their incredibly valuable resources to leverage your time and focus. When you’re done, you’ll feel confident that you can be paid for your work and add a good value to companies looking for developer talent. That’s how it works.
There’s no entitlement beyond the effort and motivation you exhibit. I really feel this industry is all about people. People listen to me because I put my heart into what I say. I never feel that I won’t get a job because I don’t know something. Learning things comes down to one single emotion and that is motivation.
What was your bootcamp experience like? (be honest!)
When I came in I felt good about everything but that quickly faded. I felt like I should have spent a little more time with the pre-course material. Prior to coming into the program I told myself the same thing I have told myself for other things I pursued in life: “millions have succeeded in this before you, and millions will after you, what makes you any different?”
I came into the bootcamp with my mind set that I would devote no less than 12 hours a day, every single day, for the entire eight weeks. I held true to my rule the entire time. I woke up before the sun and left the building well after it dropped below the horizon daily. But look, Bootcamp is hard and it’s suppose to be. Just like the military, you have to really want it, to make it to graduation.
As we followed a consistent daily regimen throughout the weeks, I found my groove. I remember the day that delegation kicked in. I was working with tableviews for over a week. I followed the rules and could get them to work but I didn’t know how they were actually working. I reached out to fellow fellow classmates all the time as well as our instructors and really used every resource I had in arms reach.
Then, one evening, it clicked. I got so excited, I wrote down my “epiphany” on a whole marker board and stared at it for a little while. The concept wasn’t what I was looking at. I was seeing that if I wanted anything, all I had to do was earn it. That was my turning point in bootcamp. I quickly gained confidence and my speed in understanding new concepts increased 2-fold. I felt like a programmer finally and it was that confidence that really changed how I worked daily.
By the end of bootcamp, I felt motivated and more hungry for something than I had ever been in my life. I can build things others can only think up. I am an inventor now. With a perfect mix of a computer, time, and motivation, I can do anything I want now. There really are no limits, just unexplored paths waiting to be discovered.
That hunger still drives me. I go to sleep wanting to wake up and keep pushing. I’m currently learning the benefits of finding a healthy work/life balance but I think that’s a poor term. Everything in life takes work but I feel like the saying “I’m at work” is no longer correct. I am working for fun. I love to do this.
Others in the world feel that “work lets me do the things I want to do in life” and I felt like that for a long time. Nowadays, I feel like “I want to do this because it makes a difference”. Work is my life because I am doing what I want to do in life “as work”. I get to be paid to do what I want to do. It doesn’t feel like work in the same way that work used to feel like. This is how I know I am doing what I want and I wouldn’t be here without the bootcamp that the people of Mobile Makers have built, managed, and supplied to the world.
What would you say to aspiring developers?
Mobile Makers give you what most of us can’t give ourselves: a place to screw up and make a ton of mistakes without judgement. You are encouraged to just “try it out”. Success is reserved for the bold and that’s what you can be inside their walls. It’s a place outside of your current life stressors. Mobile Makers supplied the absolute best environment possible for me to find success through screwing up a million times and that’s exactly what I needed.
The team at Mobile Makers is something you rarely come across. Each person there supplies value to their students. Don Bora and the other fearless (Chicago) leaders inspire, teach, push, and challenge you to find the answers. Nothing is served on a silver platter. Like I said earlier, there is no entitlement. You get what you put in. Your efforts are noticed and those around you will only push you further.
Mobile Makers even supplies resources to “help you learn how to learn”. Stacy and Jessi do more than help develop and monitor curriculum. I’ll never forget the day I walked in their office on a Thursday in week two. Troubled, stressed, and feeling lost, I stood in their doorway and said, “I think I need help with learning”. I’m sure they could hear the distress in my seven words. We sat down and I tried my best to describe how I felt about it all. Jessi helped ease some of my concerns, and I walked out with a couple tips and tricks, as well as a new way to leverage the time when we were learning new material together in a group format. Their assistance turned the tide and set me up for success.
What I am trying to say here to aspiring developers is this: Like the military, you rely on your team and the team counts on you as well. No one can know everything in this field. It’s just endless in information and that will always mean there is opportunity in this industry.
But, you gotta put the time in. You have to screw up a ton. You have to have a team. The movies of Zuckerberg pushing on his own in his dorm to create Facebook is not the only way to win in this industry (also: it was a movie, not a documentary).
The power of the collective is extremely valuable. You learn through failures more than successes in this field. You’re subjected to a learning curve that rewards those with the perseverance to never take no for an answer. There is always a way in programming. The difference between a junior developer and a senior developer is failure... lots of it. The senior developer has screwed up a million times more than the junior; they have just put more time in not taking no for an answer. That’s the difference.
What does that mean to you? If this is your passion, you will know it by deciding to never accept you can’t do something. If you follow this path and find you only want to know more and more and more, you have found your niche.
I hope you find your niche.
Share a final nugget of wisdom about anything you want.
How to fold clothes, get out of a parking ticket, or find inner peace—go wild.
When you are frustrated, walk away for a little bit. In Mobile Makers’ bootcamp, I took breaks all the time and I know every concrete sidewalk square in a 5 block radius of the building. I took walks often to give my mind a breather.
But, before I got about 50 feet from the door to Mobile Makers, I psyched myself up for another sprint. Every single time I hit that door, be it in the morning, or after lunch, or late night. Every time I opened that door to go back in for more, I went in energized. I went back in with a purpose, and that motivation is what would help build momentum for another coding push.
When you do things in life, always do them for a purpose and take a step back often to look at your decisions to decide whether you’re still going down the path you want. You get 1 amazing life on this incredible planet and you always have the ability to change your path along the way.
You’re never too old to do what you want. You’re always perfect in this world and you’re only here because you were the 1 that beat the rest before you were even born. Bask in the fact that you were born a champion.
I’ll leave you with 1 last quote from a man who understands the idea of living a life without limits.