about

About John Wessel

I grew up immersed in consulting culture by having the good sense to be born the son of a consulting traffic engineer. He taught me that a regular hour is 60 minutes long but a billable hour can last all day.

Computers have always meant liberation to me. There are no barriers on the anonymous Internet. It is a defacto meritocracy. Programming was my shortcut out of the condescension of youth. Nowadays, liberation is working from home near to my wife, dog and – as of January (2019) – my baby boy.

I adopted the title Country Programmer to distinguish myself from the hipsters of Silicon Valley and the suits and ties of the generic corporate world. Plaid is productive.

I began programming what would ultimately become Lucid in 2003 at the age of 17. Then-startup Interwest Consulting Group hired me as a summer intern. Interwest was growing fast. New employees came on board almost daily. Employees submitted their timesheets as Excel spreadsheets by e-mail. That was vaguely manageable when the company numbered a couple dozen employees. The next dozen, hired during one month, a single invoicing period, overwhelmed billing.

Amidst the magical chaos of a startup, I part stepped and was part tossed into the billing vacuum. I had two years of programming experience and an empty plate. My supervisor, a tough broad who intimidated building inspectors, called me and the other intern in. She bore down on the other intern and asked, “What can you do?” He froze so she sent him to wash coffee pots. She asked me the same and I said that I could program. An opportunity is what one makes of it.

Interwest, Lucid and I matured in parallel over the next 15 years. Interwest grew from 30 employees to 350 and from one client to hundreds, each with their particular billing requirements. As Lucid became more and more general purpose, I saw the potential for other companies to use it and negotiated to spin off.

I earned a B.S. in math (2008) then went to work full-time scaling Lucid. I bit off more than I knew and no doubt overindulged my engineering perfectionism but I stuck with it. By 2012 I had a full featured prototype and by 2018 a refined product. I like to think of those milestones as the first 90% then the second 90% of the work. I took Lucid out of the Interwest incubator into the market in 2019.