True Builders
Building and Thriving Through Market Waves with Jim Rose
Published September 14, 2023

Our interview features Jim Rose, the CEO of CircleCI. CircleCI is a leading continuous integration and delivery platform catering to elite engineering teams globally.

The current economic stability of today may seem daunting to some founders looking to launch their own companies. But Jim Rose says now is the best time to start.

“Instability in the market kind of means that the only people that are trying to start companies right now really wanna start companies,” he says, “You're not competing against 50 other companies that are trying to do the exact same thing as you, which is really helpful. It kind of gives you some elbow room to make mistakes.”

Jim brings a wealth of experience to the table when it comes to running an innovative tech business. As the CEO of CircleCI, he spearheads a top-tier continuous integration and delivery platform utilized by elite engineering teams worldwide. Jim's journey to CircleCI includes co-founding and leading Distiller, an iOS-exclusive CI service, before its acquisition. He boasts an entrepreneurial track record with ventures like Copious, Vamoose (acquired by Internet Brands), and MobShop (pioneering group buying online, later acquired by Groupon).

In our conversation with Jim, we explore his background and entrepreneurial experiences, shedding light on the evolution of startups and the paramount importance of crafting tools for end users. We delve deep into the convergence of tools and data in AI and machine learning, tackling challenges such as the “cold start problem” and pondering the potential ramifications of these technologies across various industries. Our discussion touches on the vital aspect of assembling the right team, grappling with complex problems, and staying adaptable in the ever-shifting technological landscape. Jim shares his insights on leadership, nurturing customer relationships, and maintaining equilibrium in turbulent times. We wrap up our conversation by emphasizing the significance of self-care and the joy of partaking in outdoor activities.

Notable Quotes

  • “I've always been a consumer of the tool, so I have a lot of appreciation for some of the difficulties associated with actually using a lot of the different tooling that's in the software development and software delivery space.” - Jim [03:15]

  • “You might have a really interesting tool, but if you don't actually have any data to train it on, you're effectively going to kind of have a chicken and egg issue.” - Jim [08:59]

  • “Right now people are thinking about AI as a labor replacement, whereas I think for it to be successful long term for us as an industry and for companies in particular, you have to think of it as a labor enhancer and as a labor accelerator.” - Jim [12:21]

  • “Where the abstraction is basically in your way from being able to fix a system, fix a company so that you can actually scale to the next order of magnitude because eventually, you're going to have to get your hands dirty.” - Jim [18:59]

  • “Starting companies, when the market is not super hot, I actually think is the healthiest time to do it. It just instills a level of discipline that you don't have when everybody is chasing an incredibly hot market.” - Jim [22:13]

  • “Your company needs to see you go out and serve the idea of like there is going to be a tomorrow and everybody needs to be taking care of themselves and taking care of their mental health and taking care of their physical health so they can play the game tomorrow.” - Jim [41:47]

Our Guest

Jim Rose

Jim Rose, a notable figure in the tech industry, currently holds the position of CEO at CircleCI, a renowned company celebrated for its CI/CD platform. Jim's entrepreneurial journey is marked by significant milestones, including co-founding successful ventures like Distiller, Copious, Vamoose, and MobShop, some of which were later acquired, underscoring his impactful contributions to the technology landscape.

Resources & Links

True Builders Podcast

Jim Rose