Three years in, Justice’s investment was close to breaking even. The hard part is sales, he says, getting clients to look past their coastal snobbery about hiring a bunch of hillbillies — a word Justice uses proudly — with thick Appalachian accents. But his programmers were now full-fledged developers, hobnobbing with MIT computer science professors at meetups and impressing Linux experts with their meticulously documented code. “They didn’t have any bad habits to un- learn,” Justice notes. Stevens had discovered he loved front-end design, tweaking the CSS and fonts on a site for hours. “That whole experience of when you see someone’s face light up, that’s just awesome,” he gushes.
How this Kentucky startup turned coal miners into coders