Meet Your H-Town Rails Backend Instructor

Hola H-Town! I’m Jesse Wolgamott (JWo), it’s nice to meet you!

I first discovered Rails in 2007 and was ah-mazed by how fast you could build something that worked. (And I was happy doing development again)

My first Rails app is still around: We Eatt; I built it to learn Rails, and it turned into a career. 7 years later, and Rails is still the king of productivity. I come from a Guiding students and giving them the toolset to create awesomeness.

I’m way super excited about The Iron Yard in Houston. Open source development is growing in town, with people pushing the threshold of what’s possible. With The Iron Yard, Houston will have the talent we need to fill high paying and happy software development positions. Companies: happy. Developers: happy. It’s a circle of happiness, people!

Happiness is typically underrated by some. Presently, wide swaths of people have careers that they dislike. Even people who develop software for a living can feel stuck in a career. Ruby and Ruby on Rails are designed for developer productivity and happiness.

Fun JWo facts:

  • My first database was for my sisters softball little league. I was 7 and shouted out “What you NEED is a database!”
  • You can see me give presentations at Ruby and at Rails conferences here here, here and here. (that’s probably too much JWo though.)
  • I run the kickenist Ruby Brigade on the Gulf Coast: Houston Ruby
  • I’m a serial entrepreneur, and a lover not a fighter

Stop by START Houston and let’s chat about our town, Ruby, Javascripts, or all things food. huzzah!

Welcome to Tech-sas: a Houston Hackathon by the Community for the Community.

The Iron Yard is planning a tech conference by the community, for the community – right here in Houston! We are collaborating with companies like January Advisors (, Two Sigma (, RED Labs (, and the City of Houston office – with a full range of media coverage (radio, publishers, etc). We are working on putting together several other partnerships, and would love to have tech companies involved.

The premise of the event is to invite over 250 people, with little-to-no coding experience, and spend the day learning basic website development. Local talent – like myself – will lead a small group through a short instruction, followed by a lab to build something. The sweet deal? Attendance is free, and upon completion of the event, participants who didn’t previously know how to code will have built their very own landing page. Instructors and others who attend will have the chance to mingle with some power-house developers and companies in Houston.

Our goal is to raise awareness of the expanding Houston tech-and-startup scene, and cultivate a new community of professionals who bring a wealth of talent from the industries that call our brilliant city home. (Healthcare, Energy, Oil, Finance, the list goes on…) To top it off, we have local roasters supplying the coffee and local eateries supplying the food.  All-in-all, this will be the perfect storm to nurture the “Tech-sas” community that we all know exists. As such, since this is an event with drinks, we are targeting college students and older – for both networking opportunities and for the obvious vices being provided.

We would love if you could join in, attend, or instruct. We are looking to get about 20 technologists who can be part of the event, and just provide a few hours of basic instruction on web technologies.

Additionally, we are looking for local companies to help sponsor. The Iron Yard is already fronting almost all of the costs. We just want to make sure the food, booze, and space is covered. All of this is being planned as we speak. Just attend and help us nurture something special (that might be able to turn into a recurring event in the future, for all skill-levels!).

You can find out more about the event and direct others to it here:

Houston, Meet Your Front-End Instructor!

Greetings Houston!

I’m Matt (@matthiasak), and I am genuinely excited to announce my new investment in our great state of “Tech-sas”! I will be investing my time and passion as the Front End Instructor with the “fresh n’ clean” TIY office here in Houston!

But “don’t you worry bout’ a thang’”, I’m an Oklahama-born, Texas-raised southerner with Australian and Scottish residences. I’ve also had a fair share of interest and travel through other corners of the world. This generally means I take interest in anything and everything that doesn’t involve the Martian culture. 😉

I never could have imagined five years ago that I would be pursuing this opportunity; at that time I was preparing to build startups via the route of Capital Factory and SXSW in the social and medical spaces. Somehow, I managed to remember to do my homework while at the University of Texas. But long before this, I wanted to learn programming to make video games.

However, at UT I found myself fascinated with various concentrations of computer science: scientific computing, compilers, web development, and computer security. My passion (and tenacity to conquer JavaScript) led me into to roles as The JavaScript Guy™ for various part-time jobs, and finally stole the limelight when I jumped head-first into the world of startups.

Two startups, one SXSW campaign, a healthy dose of freelance web development, one and a half books authored, some speaking arrangements at large JavaScript-focused conferences, and a full-time consulting gig later – I discovered The Iron Yard and the ensuing plans to build a community in Houston! Connecting with students, freelancers, industry professionals, and hackers is the simple truth that makes the Iron Yard a truly unique place. I couldn’t be more honored to be part of this movement.

For those that don’t know me, I love to find and curate inspiration and then share it with those around me. This could be the latest crafty beer, last week’s memorable memes, or just the jokes and good-natured “humour” that comes from my numerous southern and British influences. But I will always relate back to the beauty of fine-dining, especially if said food involves a southern flair.

Thus, at any time if you are interested in saying “howdy” or “cheers”, come on by The Iron Yard and we can talk shop, swap stories, and joke about BBC’s Top Gear over something culinary, brewed, or fermented. This should be tasty…


Houston Hospitality

I want to thank the Houston community for the unbelievable welcome into town.  I’ve met some great people, had some great food, and had one the best Old Fashion whiskeys that I’ve ever had in my life!  I’ve been hanging out and trying to get involved in the community here and it’s been pretty fun, and I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on my new hat.

So, where are we in our process?  Well last week we announced our coming to Houston.  Now, we’re in the process of looking for a cool location to put The Iron Yard flag down.  We’ve been looking Downtown, The Heights, Rice Village, and the Montrose area.  We’re narrowing down our options but rest assure when we find it, that we’ll be inviting all of our new friends to hangout with us.  In our search for a home we’ve been coming across some really cool people and companies.  I’m talking about some new age NASA type of stuff!  And some Michael Jackson ‘heal the world’ type of folks.

We’ve found out about some really cool events that are happening in April and I listed a couple below

Needless to say there is always something going on week to week in H-town and we’re happy to be in the mix.  We can’t wait to roll out here in Techsaas (you see what I did there?).

Your Houston front man


Hello Houston!

The Iron Yard has finally made it to the great country of Texas!  Hi, my name is Rich Winley and I’ll be your new transplant to Texas.  I’ve been running or involved in startups for the past seven years.  I’m not your average transplant; I have plenty of Texas roots, being that my family has been here for seven generations, so I’m looking forward to coming ‘home’.

We’re kicking things off in the awesome city of Houston (H-Town).  People have asked me why start here and not in Austin….   Well let me give you my answer to that in a bullet point fashion:

  • Houston is the 4th largest city in the country!  Yeah, we’re talking millions of folks here.
  • Houston is the most diverse city in the country.  Even more diverse than NYC?  Yes, yes it is, they speak 83 different languages here.
  • The food scene is grossly underrated in H-town.  Two of the top 10 restaurants in the country are right here.  The food is pretty freaking phenomenal.
  • The largest medical center in the country is right here in Houston!
  • Everyone loves H-Town!  10 Best cities for Young Entrepreneurs, America’s Coolest City,
  • Forbes names Houston the next Global City
  • Can you say energy capital of the US? It’s so big they created a tech accelerator JUST for gas and oil tech companies, called SURGE.  Surge just so happened to get named one of the top 10 accelerators in the country.
  • The tech scene here is on the verge of exploding
  • Sports?!? You pick what you wanna to check out.
  • NASA freaking NASA is here.  C’mon how do you out do NASA?!?
  • If that’s not enough…. Robocop 2 was filmed right here in Houston.
  • Selfishly I live in H-town so it all made sense.

Now you know my answer and knowing is half the battle (G.I. Joe reference).  We’re pumped up about rolling out our first inaugural class in Houston.

Our classes launch in June, so look for us in the community, at bars, coffee shops, schools, and in the street.  I can’t wait to meet all of y’all.