A Founder's Legacy: We're All Co-presidents


Co-President is a co-title everyone at The Nerdery shares. We have good reasons for this.

First, we believe that distributed leadership is essential to any forward-looking company. On a higher level, we’ve had one President: the late, great Luke Bucklin, who co-founded our company in 2003 with partners Mike Derheim and Mike Schmidt. Co-President was what Luke called us – every one of us – just before his tragic passing. We took it to heart, and we carry it forward.

In Luke’s last published media interview, Biz Journal asked our leader and friend for his tips on managing and motivating people. Luke said: “Don’t make them earn your trust – give them your trust to make decisions and stand behind them when they do.”

You don’t have to read between the lines to see that this is how Co-Presidents are made. This has always worked for us.

When Luke’s plane went missing and rescuers searched and we waited and hoped, we posted this on our blog:

Our staff gathered a bit ago and Tom tried to read (and Bill stepped in to finish reading) part of an all-staff email Luke sent us a couple months ago. One of the great pleasures of working at The Nerdery is reading – and then re-reading – all-staff emails from Luke, and here’s an excerpt of his 1,230-word memo on who we are:

“I remember a day when there were no managers, no directors, no coordinators and no specialists. We only had Presidents. Well, maybe one President and a couple of Co-Presidents. Forget about your titles. Put your business card on the desk in front of you. Look at it. I am here to tell you that this is not your title. This card does not define you. You are a Co-President. You are bigger than your defined role, and you are much more than your job title. Play your part – transcend your job title, be a hero.”

Today, our heroes are the brave men and women on the search team in Wyoming. And today we’re all wearing these.

Moving forward, the position of Nerdery President will remain unfilled. But the similarly big shoes of a Nerdery Co-President are filled by veterans and newbie-nerds alike. Nerdery CEO Mike Derheim makes it a priority to meet with each incoming employee to present them with a Co-President bracelet, along with an unabridged copy of Luke’s 2 a.m. email/opus that made all of us Co-Presidents.

So if you get an email from one of us and the title below our signature says two things, both are absolutely true – but that’s not nearly all that we do.

The transcendental description for a Nerdery Co-President is our evergreen internal job posting, as follows:

Job Title: Co-President
Reports To: Co-President(s)
Department: N/A
Prepared By: Co-President

Job Summary:

The Co-President is responsible for the success of The Nerdery. Specifically, the Co-President will do everything in their power to be sure that we provide the highest quality of work and the best customer service on the coolest projects with the most bad-ass team. The Co-President strives for progress and holds themselves to a very high standard. The Co-President is humble in success and failure. They are accountable for their mistakes and confident in their course corrections. Winning new projects and customers is as important to the Co-President as maintaining relationships with existing customers. The Co-President is responsible for maintaining the hardworking, collegiate, energetic and passionate culture of which we are so proud.

Examples of Responsibilities and Duties

  • Looks for opportunities to be a positive force in every task, project and customer/Co-President relationship.
  • Supports their Co-Presidents by being accountable and communicating early and often.
  • Fills the holes to the best of their ability when roles are missing or lacking.
  • Acts in the best interests of the team.
  • Seeks help when needed, and jumps in when needed by others.


  • Must be passionate about software development.
  • Must be confident in their strengths yet conscious of weaknesses.
  • Must be willing to ask for help.
  • Must be proud of themselves and their team.
  • Must be motivated by success.

Launch your campaign for Co-President at http://www.nerdery.com/jobs.