The Story of Linear as told by its CTO
Tuomas Artman went from Big Tech to startup co-founder. He shares how they built of Linear, the working culture and learnings from Big Tech used at the startup.
Tuomas Artman is the co-founder and CTO of product tooling startup, Linear. He’s been a software engineer for more than 20 years, alternating between being a developer, a founder and an engineering manager. He previously worked at a company aspiring to be the “Disney of China,’’ at Groupon, and at Uber.
I first met Tuomas when we both worked at Uber; he was a senior staff engineer on the mobile platform team and his team was creating Uber’s new mobile architecture, RIBs. Tuomas left Uber in 2019 after five years, to co-found Linear.
Over the past year or two, I’ve increasingly heard startup founders say they use Linear to manage their workflow, while software engineers I know have praised the tool’s capabilities. In January, Linear’s CEO Karri Saarinen shared that more than 1,000 startups pay for Linear, that the company runs on a small team of 17, and that they achieved their first profitable month two years after being founded.
Earlier this year, I reached out to Tuomas to learn more about his background and how he ended up in Silicon Valley and at Uber, why he cofounded Linear, how it operates, and any lessons he’s learned.
In this issue, we cover:
From Finland to Silicon Valley
Starting a new company
The first hires
The working culture
Big Tech learnings applied to a startup
With that, it’s over to Tuomas.