All Posts in New Mugs

July 16, 2013 - No Comments!

What I Learned In My First Month At Table XI

Mike GibsonTime goes fast when you're enjoying yourself, and I've been nothing but happy since I've joined the team here at Table XI. I can't believe it's already been a month. Quite a bit has changed in a very short amount of time, so I thought I'd take a breather and reflect back on what I've learned over the past 30 days.


A Well-Maintained Calendar Is a Beautiful Thing

Organization has always been a weak suit of mine. The only method that reliably worked was a combination of Post-it notes, chalkboards, and regular check-ins. That's manageable when your team is four people. But when you've got 30+ and a threefold increase in project count, that doesn't cut it anymore. After my first week I knew that I'd sink or swim on the accuracy of my calendar. I dove in and learned about all of the nifty tricks that Google Calendar has had for (probably) years: viewing your colleagues' calendars, multiple calendar organization, etc. The one tip that has made the biggest difference in my ability to keep a sane mind is to make sure I schedule myself time to work. It ensures I have nice blocks of time every day to hunker down and get done what needs to be done. Just this past week I've felt like I got things under control. Let's see how it feels a month from now.

Culture Isn't Created, It Develops over Time

"Company Culture" is a big deal in our industry. But it's not something that's forced on the people that work for you. It needs to be fostered over time. For all of your blog posts and meetings about creating the best culture in town, you're wasting your time if you don't have a group of friendly, empathetic, and interesting co-workers. That is where company culture thrives, and it's been wonderful to see that first-hand. I knew that working at Table XI would be a blast. It only took me a month to see to what degree.

The Best Way to Learn Is to Work with People Smarter than You

I've actually known this for a while, but it helps to remind yourself every now and then. If you're the smartest person in your office it may be time to find some new surroundings. We've got some of the smartest developers in the city put together in the same room and it's amazing the impact that it has. Not only do you learn tips, tricks, and techniques from them. That's a given. There's something bigger at work, though. It's only been 30 days, but I see myself working harder than I ever have before not to bring the curve down. That's what happens when you're surrounded by people that do such great work. You don't want to be the one to let them down.

Budgets Don't Matter, Problems Do

It's safe to assume that at Table XI we're working on projects that are larger in scope than those we tackled at Love Has No Logic. I was really interested to see what impact that had on the life cycle of the projects we were jumping into. You know what? Budget doesn't matter. Every client I've worked with, whether they had $500 or $500,000, came to us because they had a problem to solve and they're relying on our expertise to solve it. The budget just becomes another tool with which you can work to solve that problem. It's important to remember that lesson, especially as you start to see those 0's on the budget start to multiply. It's been up to me to get over the line-items and stay focused on the problem at hand.


I have a terrible habit. I get tunnel vision. If I'm working on something, I don't see anything else until it's complete. The real world impact of this is that for seven years I quite regularly forgot to eat lunch. That often led to me being extremely cranky in the afternoon and evening as my blood sugar dropped, and it probably impacted some of my business dealings over that time. At Table XI we've got a wonderful chef who comes in and cooks great food for us. When people from outside the company swing by for lunch, they talk about how great the food is. But the best part for me is that it breaks me out of my tunnel vision. Everyday when lunch is ready, Chef Aram walks out and lets us know. Someone at the office last week commented that they had forgotten how to feed themselves. We all laughed at the joke, but in my own mind I flipped it around and realized that in my first month here, I've remembered how to feed myself.

It's been a busy first month, and we've already done so much great work that I can't wait to share. I've learned quite a bit being here, and I'm excited to see what I continue to learn as time goes on. I plan to share more of my lessons in the future.

July 10, 2013 - No Comments!

Hot New Summer Mugs

We’ve got a whole bunch of new faces around the office (and now we're positively swimming in Matts). Here are the newest recruits to the Table XI team:

Mike GibsonMike Gibson, Senior Designer

Mike is a Chicago native and heads up Love Has No Logic (LHNL), the design firm we recently joined forces with. Known by some as the “Czar of Design,” he’s an amazing front-end developer who got interested in design by creating flyers for bands at 14. Mike then started his own record label at 16, and has, in his words, “a lot” of records. He’s known around the office for his large headphones and very loud keyboard, and he also has a dog named “Chupacabra.”

Keep up with Mike at Instagram and @lovehasnologic.

AnnieAnnie Swank, Designer

Annie originally hails from Southern California. She found her way to Chicago through studying English and creative writing at the University of Chicago, where she graduated in 2010. In 2008, she interned at Obama for America in downtown Chicago, and later worked at the White House. She’s also worked for the UN in Bangkok, and even did an event with the Thai princess. She met Mike Gibson through The Starter League, and eventually joined LHNL, where her user experience skills came in handy.

Keep up with Annie at @annieswank.

Matt WagnerMatt Wagner, Developer

Matt’s from Sacramento originally, but has moved around a lot since then. He’s lived in the Philippines, where most of his 26 cousins now reside, and later moved to Indianapolis. For college, he went to Northwestern and graduated in 2008 with a degree in computer science. Here at Table XI he works as a developer.


Matt ReichMatt Reich, Front-end Developer

Matt hails originally from South Dakota where he worked as a network technician. He attended school at Northern State University, where he studied Management Information Systems and played baseball. After teaching himself front-end design, he realized that was where his real interests lay, so after meeting Mike Gibson at The Starter League, he decided to come aboard with us at Table XI. Matt plays the banjo, and in his spare time once biked across the entire state of South Dakota in under 48 hours (the long way).

Keep up with Matt at @mgreich.

IsaacIsaac Sanders, Intern

Isaac is our summer development intern and just finished his freshman year at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. He’s interned at Edgecase,, LeanDog, and Groupon. He’s interested in artificial intelligence, loves Ruby, and became an Eagle scout at 13.

Keep up with Isaac at @isaacsanders.

AlexAlex Tamkin, Intern

Alex is our photographer and marketing/design intern. He was born and raised in Chicagoland, and now attends Phillips Academy in Massachusetts, where he’ll return for his senior year of high school this fall. Alex has interests in science and math, but at Table XI, he’ll be working with client services to explore new ways Table XI can create value and help clients. He also loves to travel and learn new languages, and has climbed the two tallest mountains in the Rockies.

Keep up with Alex at @alextamkin.

May 24, 2013 - No Comments!

New Mugs for Spring!

We've had a lot of hiring activity since the new year. Say hi to the new faces that have sprung up around the office.

Bradley Schaefer, DeveloperBradley Schaefer, Developer

We rang in the new year by bringing on Bradley as a Ruby developer. He’s worked as a software engineer at a Who’s Who of tech firms including Stubhub, AOL, Anything Social, and Bebo. Given this, it’s not surprising that Bradley thinks everyone should get some programming experience under their belts: “It’s not only useful for a wide variety of applications, but it also teaches you logical thinking, humility, patience, communication skills, and tons more.” Bradley also serves as a member of the RSpec team.

Keep up with Bradley on his blog and @soulcutter.

Jon Buda, DeveloperJon Buda, Developer

Very active in Chicago’s dev scene, Jon helps run RefreshChicago, a popular meetup that promotes the sharing of knowledge and ideas in design, technology, usability, and standards. He also helped launch Desktime, a global coworking and shared workspace service. Hit up Jon if you agree that everyone should spend some time in Michigan’s UP, or if you want to hear the tale of his missing uvula.

Keep up with Jon on his blog and @jonbuda.

Jen Mozen, Delivery Principle

Jen Mozen, Delivery Principal

Jen is an entrepreneur and digital media consultant. She studied computer science and has spent much of her career leading agile software development teams globally. In college, Jen developed a passion for getting girls interested in STEM fields and is excited about making software development more accessible to everyone. This past year she helped launch the Chicago chapter of Girl Develop It, a code school dedicated to empowering women to learn how to develop software. She's a self-confessed learning junkie (Coursera, Codeacademy, etc.), avid reader, enthusiastic sports fan, and cool aunt.

Keep up with Jen at LinkedIn and @jmozen.

alex_head053cebAlex Skryl, Developer

Though he originally hails from Ukraine, Alex has been a freelance software engineer in Chicago for the last several years, working for such names as Enova and Trunk Club. Earlier this year he took some time away from his monitor to drive a rented Camaro really fast down HWY 1 from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. It’s possible a speed limit was broken here and there. Alex was recently accepted into New York's prestigious Hacker School, so we're sending him off with warm wishes for a summer in the Big Apple.

Keep up with Alex at his blog and @_skryl_.

Gabriel Gironda, DeveloperGabriel Gironda

Gabriel joins Table XI via Austin, TX, via Chicago, IL, via Harrisonburg, VA, and originating from Sydney, Australia. He enjoys making computers do things they both should and shouldn't do, and finally fills the long vacant position here of "person vaccinated against rabies."

Keep up with Gabriel at his blog.

Lloyd Philbrook, DevOpsLloyd Philbrook, DevOps 

Lloyd lives in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia for now. He mainly works while we’re asleep, making sure that all our servers keep purring along. If he isn't trying to tweak a Chef cookbook or write another bash script to automate himself out of a job, he's at -60 feet hanging with the fishes. We might actually meet him face-to-face one day.

September 10, 2012 - No Comments!

New Mugs!

Summer may be winding down, but a crop of new faces has been popping up around the office and our empty desks are filling up fast. We're happy to welcome these new peeps to the fold:

After first luring him to the loft under the pretense of Star Wars Rooftop Movie Night, we were psyched Ed LaFoy stuck around to serve as our very first mobile developer. The fact that he thinks everyone should see the Leprechaun in Mobile, Alabama, solidifies his nerd meme credit.

Starbucks order: Tall black coffee

Our other new developer, Andrew Horner, has a patent love for Dr. Seuss (who doesn't?), and is, himself, a practitioner of Seussian rhyme. We also appreciated that he broke out the TXI green straight away.

Starbucks order: Black coffee

Coming to us from digital consultancy Thoughtworks, Subha Sriram is our newest Delivery Principle. She has a penchant for cooking Indian food and would walk to the office every day, if it weren't 40 miles away from her house (doh!). Oh yeah, and she's also the mother of triplets.

Starbucks order: Highly customized chai tea

With a background in the education industry, having worked previously at Harrington College of Design, Tina Stump comes aboard as our Director of Accounting and Finance. She's pretty familiar with how we do things over here, since she also happens to be married to one of our developers, Chris Stump. Even better, she fills the office quota for being able to do the moonwalk.

Starbucks order: Black coffee