About this episode
In this episode, we'll hear how he both works and creates videos for YouTube from his home office and what does it mean to be a Webflow Developer or a Webflow Designer plus benefits of being both.
Matthew Munger: Hey, Timothy, it's a pleasure to talk with you today.
Timothy Ricks: Hi Matthew. Thanks for having me.
Matthew Munger: Let's get started. Tell us a bit about yourself and who you are for folks who may not know you.
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, so I'm a Webflow developer. I work at an agency called ThreeSixtyEight, and I also run a YouTube channel, where I teach advanced Webflow techniques.
Matthew Munger: Where is it that you live? And kind of set the scene around you– Where do you live and what's it like there?
Timothy Ricks: So I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It's pretty hot all the time. We were excited to have a cold Christmas for the first time this year in a very long time. There's not a huge creative community here, per se. I love being able to just connect with people all around the globe and it's really inspiring to see everyone come together.
Matthew Munger: You said there's not a large creative community in Baton Rouge, but what do you like about living there?
Timothy Ricks: What I like about living there: the seafood. The one thing I would miss if I ever moved away is crawfish, which a lot of people find gross. But when you grow up with it and like every year have to have it– The food here is really what I think is probably the best.
Matthew Munger: When do you eat crawfish? Is it a certain time of the year or occasion?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, it's more towards summer. Like there's a season. You can get it year round, but it's more expensive and not as good when it's out of season. So, they're usually bigger and better when they're in season.
Matthew Munger: When you like to go out of the house, is there a favorite place you like to visit?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, I mean, we like to go eat a lot. Chick-fil-A, I'd probably go there four times a week, if not more. Um, whatever the highest….you can have. That's what I have. So yeah, we eat there a lot. I like going to see movies and just going on different outings.
Matthew Munger: How about your workspace? What does it look like to sit in your seat?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah. I work from home. I have a little office space right outside my living room. You might actually hear my kids out there talking or stuff right now. I have a little standing desk set up and a monitor. There's really not a lot in here. I want to revamp it eventually, get a better setup. But it does the job and yeah, I love being close to my family, being able to come out for lunch and just eat. I love being able to just work from here.
Matthew Munger: Do you have some kind of system to signal to your family when you're like recording videos and stuff?
Timothy Ricks: I mostly record at night when the girls are asleep and stuff. So I try and do that.
Matthew Munger: That makes sense.
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, because it's impossible any other time.
Matthew Munger: Right. Do you have a window? Like do you have a view outside or anything?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, one little window. My mom was actually always telling me I need more windows because she loves lots of windows. And she saw the one little window I have in my office and she's like, “This is depressing.” But I'm like– actually this was back when I actually showed my face on camera more during videos. I was like, “I actually don't want a lot of outside light because I want to use my own lighting and stuff, so this works better.”
Matthew Munger: That's another benefit to recording at night, you don't have to black out all the windows.
Timothy Ricks: Right, that works.
Matthew Munger: Do you listen to music or anything while you work?
Timothy Ricks: Rarely. Usually, if I do listen to a song, I'll put the same song on repeat, over and over, and it drives my wife crazy. But any other way, I'll be thinking more about the song than I'll be thinking about my work. But if it's the same thing and it's just on repeat, I kind of tune it out and it's just there giving me energy, like it's fast paced or whatever.
Matthew Munger: So is it a song with vocals or does it need to be instrumental? I know sometimes when I’m in those focus modes, I need songs with no lyrics, you know? And like you said, just kind of some rhythm to drive me. But if it's a song that I know really well, then the lyrics will kind of fade. How's that for you?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah. It's mostly just lyrics. I don't really have a lot of instrumental music per se. So like you said, if it's a song you know well, I guess you just tune it out over time and it's fine.
Matthew Munger: It becomes background noise.
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, exactly.
Matthew Munger: When you're not working with ThreeSixtyEight or making your YouTube videos, what do you like to do for fun?
Timothy Ricks: I watch a lot of TV. We're going through a show called Modern Family right now, my wife and I. So it's pretty funny. It reminds me a lot of the office. It's just, I love a good sitcom, belly laugh type of thing. So we usually, as soon as we're done with a series, we'll start a new one and that’s our nightly routine.
Matthew Munger: I'm very similar in that way too. Yeah, we have our different sitcoms that we'll rotate through and watch all the seasons.
Timothy Ricks: Mm-hmm.
Matthew Munger: You described yourself as a Webflow developer, is that right?
Timothy Ricks: Right.
Matthew Munger: Can you go a little bit deeper into what being a Webflow developer means to you, and how would you describe that to someone who didn't know what it is?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, I think a Webflow developer can mean a lot of things. On the base level it's someone who builds websites in Webflow, and I like to refer to it as a Webflow developer, not a Webflow designer. Because a lot of times these people who are in this role don't even have design experience. They're strictly building sites and it is development, it's just visual development.
I work with a lot of developers who don't use Webflow. And when they come with different problems, they're always amazed at how quickly we're able to get something built up. And it's because we're seeing everything visually while we're building it. It's just a faster way to work. I use Webflow to its advantage and then add custom code on top of that, to extend it more. So that's kind of where I function.
Developer or Designer
Matthew Munger: Yeah. You mentioned the distinction between designers and this Webflow developer role. Do you see, like in your agency work, this kind of expansion or this kind of split where okay, I'm a Webflow designer and I'm a Webflow developer? And those who are more focused on the visuals and the final output and then yourself, on the implementation side? Do you see any of that?
Timothy Ricks: Almost all of the designers at our agency also build in Webflow. What I found is it's not right for every type of designer because some just think so visually, and classes and structure and things like that aren't a strength for everyone, and that's okay. You have your own strengths, whether that be illustration or all these different things.
So I would say at our agency specifically, everyone who builds in Webflow is also a designer. That's just the way it fell. But a lot of people within my circle that I know function solely as developers and they don't design the website. They'll develop something in Webflow that a client designed or had another agency design, different things like that.
Matthew Munger: Can you talk to me about the handoff process for the design to yourself as the developer building it out? What does that look like?
Timothy Ricks: Just to clarify, I do design. I consider myself primarily a Webflow developer, but at my agency, I do the design and the development, and that's been a big, strong suit for us coming from– we were typically a WordPress development shop. And there was so much time that it took to build out the style guide, design all the different breakpoints, hand off to a developer and go back and forth on hover states or responsiveness things, and the huge advantage that we like from doing both roles is being able to shortcut all of that.
So a lot of times we won't even design a mobile breakpoint because we know how things are gonna stack. Like we're the designer, we planned it a certain way, and when we go into Webflow, we can just make it happen and save all that time. So I think there's a huge value to being both, but not everyone can function in both roles.
Matthew Munger: That is definitely a strength for sure, to be able to kind of be that bridge between the roles.
Matthew Munger: How did you end up in this Webflow developer position? Were you more traditionally from the design side and even before that? How did you get to this point?
Timothy Ricks: I wanted to go to college for design and my mom said I wouldn't make any money from being a designer, so she said, “You have to choose something else.” So I chose Public Relations, Mass Communication, which is a lot of writing, and I just squeezed myself into any elective design classes I could find.
Then when I graduated, I got hired on at an agency mainly doing like social media, graphics, flyers, just design work. And I was able to introduce Webflow to the agency and start functioning in more and more of that role over time. So that was kind of my journey.
Matthew Munger: Before going into college, what were your dreams?
Timothy Ricks: I wanted to be a professional musician. So I play electric guitar and my thought was I was gonna tour with all these different– with a band or something. I even applied to a couple and got turned down because I was too young, like, you know, typical kid stuff. You're thinking, shoot, wait. So yeah, that was my dream for a while. I always love the creative things.
Matthew Munger: Do you still play guitar?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, I do. I play guitar at my church. I enjoy it.
Matthew Munger: What excites you and motivates you, doing what you're doing? What fuels your passion every day?
Timothy Ricks: What excites me the most is just learning. Like every day I'm brought with new challenges, whether that be from people in my community that they'll send me a link to a really cool site and say, “How would you build something like that?” And just dissecting it all, figuring out how things are built and then finding better ways to do it.
I love also coming back to something I built a long time ago and thinking, all right, how can I clean this up? How can I make it better and more efficient? So it's just this never ending journey, like you can never feel like you arrived. There's always a new challenge. There's always something new to explore, and that's what excites me the most.
Matthew Munger: The challenge. The challenge in front of you, it drives you to learn new things or to improve on a skill that you already have and really refine it.
Timothy Ricks: Right? Yeah.
Matthew Munger: Do you have any aspirations to go from here?
Timothy Ricks: Aspirations from here– I would love to one day just solely focus on my YouTube journey full-time. That's been a big goal of mine from the beginning and it's gradually getting closer. But yeah, I would love to be able to just dedicate all of my time strictly to that.
There's tools I would love to build later on down the road. I've already built a jQuery builder and fluid tool, but I would love to build a GSAP visualizer or something like that. Some different tools for no code designers to be able to create really cool things without having to know how to write the code. There's all these ideas that I have floating around my head that I would love to do, and it's just a matter of time to get to them.
Matthew Munger: You got me excited. I'm ready to see those.
Timothy Ricks: Thanks.
Matthew Munger: What about some other resources that you think more people should know about in the Webflow community?
Timothy Ricks: I like to follow a lot of stuff, not just inside the Webflow community. So there's a guy on YouTube named Kevin who does CSS tutorials. And like every week I'm watching those and I learned a lot about CSS just from that.
Matthew Munger: Kevin Powell's CSS. His courses and YouTube videos are definitely good for those who are just getting introduced to CSS to understand the concepts and the basics, but also for those of us who've been doing it for a little while to really understand new things that are coming out, or maybe more advanced techniques that we want to try and learn how to implement inside Webflow.
Matthew Munger: What about someone within the Webflow community? Who inspires you or you kind of look up to?
Timothy Ricks: Early on and all the way through, I've always looked at Joseph Berry's work and just fell in love with it. And I think part of the reason for that is because he functions in that dual role of designer and developer. So his work is technically beautiful and functions beautifully and things like that. So, I've always looked up to his design aesthetic and the way he builds sites.
Matthew Munger: What would you say to someone out there who wants to be a Webflow developer like yourself with a design focus? What's some advice that you would give to them?
Timothy Ricks: Learn the foundations of how HTML and CSS work early on. It's very tempting to just start slapping things together in Webflow without learning the basics first. That's what I did and it cost me months, if not a year or more, of doing things incorrectly, having to go back, relearn. So I'd say the more you can get on sites like W3Schools. You can follow people like Kevin Powell and learn the foundations of units, learn the foundations of how to set up strong layouts. Those things will save you so much time when building in Webflow.
Matthew Munger: Absolutely, that's good advice. Get the foundational knowledge that'll help you build better and faster.
Matthew Munger: Well, Timothy, if anybody who's listening today would like to reach out and connect with you, how might they do that?
Timothy Ricks: Yeah, I'm on Twitter. My handle is timothy1643 and I'd love to connect there.