Where Are They Now? Benji Decker


Meet Benji Decker, a graduate of General Assembly’s 12-week, full-time Web Development Immersive program. Before enrolling in the course, Benji served as Community Director at the coworking space WeWork, and is currently Chief People Person at Founders Bloc.

1. What inspired you to learn web development?

Not to get too Holden Caulfield, I was tired of feeling like a phony. I was reasonably tech-savvy I suppose, and had coded a little bit before, but not enough to really speak confidently with developers or have any certainty in structuring projects. I loved the idea of really knowing what I was talking about and being able to manage projects from the field, which so far I feel has totally paid off.

2. What’s surprised you the most about learning to code?

That it all makes sense. I really like Arthur C. Clarke’s famous quote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Every day, we spend a huge amount of time browsing the web, basically abiding by this — things just kinda appear, we have no idea how. But it turns out it’s just a machine, a cleverly devised system, and if you understand the basics, you can start to see the moving pieces — modifying them, building on them. And it’s really quite cool.

3. What’s your most recent web development project?

I built out the back-end for the digital platform of our new incubator network, Founders Bloc. The process was really quite gratifying. From a UX design perspective, I was able to understand how pieces moving around in the background would impact the front-end experience, and vice versa.

In terms of building a development team, I found it much easier to bring engineers on board when it was clear that I’d be contributing as well, instead just asking them to do everything for me.

4. What’s your guilty pleasure?

At the moment, Friday Night Lights. I mean, I know it’s a total soap opera, but it’s such a well-done soap opera. Go Panthers!

5. How did you start working with Founders Bloc?

I’ve long been incredibly interested in the concept of collaborative production — people working together outside traditional organizational boundaries (open source projects, app ecosystems, community initiatives, etc). In parallel, I’ve also come to love the idea of spatial connections.

As someone who’s committed my professional life to digital, I feel there’s something truly powerful and still untapped about coupling new communication systems with real, face-to-face interaction.

6. What are your future plans for the business?

Take over the world? Haha, no — we’d like to continue finding partners we can work with to build out more hybrid coworking/incubator “launchpad” environments that can further support entrepreneurs and developing businesses. Our goal is to create a world where anyone has the resources they need to build and grow an enterprise.

If you’re an entrepreneur or developing business, and are looking for help — with hiring, marketing, getting started with incorporation, etc. — please feel free to reach out to Benji. Founders Bloc is happy to help in anyway they can.