Stealing Fire: Ambitious Side Projects with Kofi Gumbs
Episode 319th August 2021 • Collaborative Craft • 8th Light
00:00:00 00:46:05

Share Episode


"I feel like the whole process has to feel like play as I'm working on it or else I get bored. I have to be learning something new. One of the reasons my solo projects end up being so all over the place is because I want to have a little play and chaos in my growth as a developer and to keep me energized in general." - Kofi Gumbs

For a lot of programmers, their day job pays their bills while their side projects fuel their passion. UI programmer Kofi Gumbs sees his side projects as an opportunity to grow.

In our latest episode of Collaborative Craft, we talked to Kofi about making design playful. He shared insights on why programmers need to develop the confidence not to reinvent the wheel, the role of ambitious design, and how to approach the process of design in a way that is motivating to you.

Listen for Kofi’s ideas and see if you can infuse your work with a sense of curiosity and wonder.

  • 05:37 - What gave you the right?
  • 07:03 - Codec Beam and Multi 
  • 11:30 - Typebeat
  • 12:39 - Play, fun, and curiosity
  • 14:49 - Trying to Solve Ambitious Projects  
  • 18:01 - Leveraging GitHub
  • 21:59 - The Coolest Thing about Software
  • 24:04 - Spend Most of Your Time on the Interesting Part
  • 28:26 - Test Coverage
  • 29:55 - Hold it in your Head
  • 32:58 - Idealized Workflow at the Day Job
  • 36:36 - The Unsexy Stuff
  • 40:29 - Final Thoughts with Thomas & Jerome

Kofi Gumbs is a UI programmer currently based in Baltimore, MD, where he works remotely for Twitter. Most of his professional work centers on the Web platform, but Kofi's personal projects span a much wider spectrum -- from assembly compilers to realtime graphics and audio. He recently spent a batch at the Recurse Center iterating on those personal projects, as well as discovering his love of NYC dollar-slice pizza. When he's not programming, you can find him listening to music or trying to make his own

Thomas Countz is a Senior Software Crafter at 8th Light where he works with a variety of ambitious teams on a variety of ambitious projects. A true curious nerd at heart, Thomas digs into everything from robotics and cider making to bouldering and Shakespeare’s comedies. To hear even more about Thomas, you can follow him on Twitter at @thomascountz and visit his blog at

Jerome Goodrich is an adoring husband, new dog dad, and all-around curious explorer. Through his work as a Principal Software Crafter at 8th Light, Jerome leads amazing software teams to design and develop thoughtful solutions to complex problems. He loves pairing strenuous hikes with deep conversations and is always trying to see things clearly and with an open heart. Jerome lives much of his life off of the internet, but he occasionally writes on his website:

8th Light partners with businesses and community groups to craft software that unlocks human potential and makes the world a better place. We’re passionate about designing for people, inspiring through education, and empowering the future. With teams spread across the globe—including Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and Madison—we’re always eager to hear about ambitious new projects. Learn more about our team and reach out at

If you'd like to receive new episodes as they're published, please subscribe to Collaborative Craft in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts. It really helps others find the show.

Podcast episode production by Dante32.