The software development world may be elusive to most, but Grayson Adkins and Josh Thurman at Uffizzi are masters of their tech trade. Thankfully, they know how to break everything down into laymen’s terms. Read their tech expertise, where the name Uffizzi comes from, and, most importantly, a little about themselves.
Where did the name Uffizzi come from? And what does it mean?
The name of our company is inspired by the Uffizi art gallery in Florence, Italy, which houses some of the greatest works of the Renaissance. Similar to the famed museum, Uffizzi.com is a platform that hosts software applications—our modern form of great works of art.
Grayson – what is it like being on the Advisory Board for DevNetwork? What’s been your top experience?
DevNetwork is a group that organizes conferences and workshops for technologists around the world. I joined as an Advisory Board Member to help curate content based on my five years as technology leader in the cloud industry. It’s been awesome to interact with other leaders in related emerging technologies.
Josh – can you walk me through your transition from SEAL Troop Commander and Operations Officer to Uffizzi Head of Developer Relations?
In 2018 I was transitioning out of the Navy and had always been interested in tech. The SEALs are very technology-forward, and I was looking for an opportunity where I could marry my interests with my experience leading high-performance teams. I linked up with Grayson, who was in the early stages of what became Uffizzi. Leadership is a universal skill, so I bring the same principles and intensity of the SEALs to what we do now.
How would you describe what you do at Uffizzi to someone who knows nothing about technology services?
Uffizzi is a tool that helps software development teams build websites and apps faster and with fewer bugs. It gives programmers a way to test their code quickly and share a preview of their changes with other stakeholders on their team—such as designers, testers, product managers, and clients. Teams that leverage Uffizzi deliver updates 44% faster than teams that don’t.
When did you discover your interest in software development, and how did you get started?
(Grayson) I got seriously involved in software in graduate school, when I worked in an artificial intelligence lab at San Diego State University. A lot of the computer vision research we were doing in 2015 is now appearing as “filters” on apps like TikTok or in self-driving car mapping. Back then I was creating stuff that had never been done before. Now with Uffizzi, I’m helping other creators get their innovations to their customers faster and easier.
How long has the Uffizzi office been at Center 615’s Loft building? How do you like that building?
We’ve been at Center 615’s Loft building for over four years, in the same office. It’s a smaller group over here, so we have a chance to get to know the other tenants. Being right next to Turnip Truck, East Park Donuts, and above Hawkers is pretty nice too!
How did you discover Center 615?
We considered both long-term and short-term options in the Nashville area, but as a startup we couldn’t be sure we’d be in business long enough to fulfill a 3 or 5 year lease. After visiting half a dozen coworking spaces, we decided that Center 615 was the right mix of location, value, flexibility, and vibe.
What’s your favorite part about East Nashville?
The quality of the food scene. I think East Nashville has some of the best lunch and dinner spots in the city, along with great nightlife options. My current obsession is East Side Banh Mi. From our office we can walk to dozens of great options. Two of my absolute favorites in all of Nashville—Greko and Kawai Poké—are right here.
Would you encourage the average person to learn basic code? Why or why not?
The biggest thing coding teaches you is how to structure your thinking and break a complex problem down into simple tasks. Analytical skills like that are something everyone can benefit from, especially if you’re not naturally left-brained.
What advice would you give someone who wants to learn code or wants to go into software development?
One word: patience. Most coding is just having the patience to methodically step through a problem without giving up.
Mac or PC and why?
Mac. In addition to being a bit of a design nerd, Mac is the only computer that I can run all major operating systems on: macOS, Windows, and Linux.
Do you ever feel the need to step away from all devices and screens? If so, what do you do?
(Grayson) Definitely. Family time keeps me busy but also helps me stay focused on what’s important. On the rare occasion that I’ve got a little time to myself, I like to read or cook—I recently spent 12 days making homemade pastrami!
Grayson – How has work/life balance changed for you since having twins?
It’s certainly a challenge because there are only 24 hours in a day. My level of work has stayed mostly the same—I’ve got a team that depends on me putting my best effort in every day. At the same time, twins are A LOT of work, so something’s got to give. At the moment that’s sleep and time for myself. Nobody can have it all, so those are things I’m willing to sacrifice at this stage of my life to build the company and family I want.
Josh – Why did you decide to move to Nashville in 2020, and where did you move from?
The Navy took me to San Diego and Virginia Beach, but my wife and I are both Tennessee natives. We wanted to bring our kids back home and be closer to family for this next chapter of our lives. Middle Tennessee is home and such a great place to grow up and build a family and business.
Center 615 would like to thank Joshua Thurman and Grayson Adkins for allowing us to spotlight them!
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