Tim Cheadle Talks Technology, Design, and the Best Part of Being a Dad

Written by Meg Seitz · Photography by Julia Fay

Tim Cheadle started programming at age seven on an Atari 1200XL. Then, as a teenager, he started dappling in graphic design.

All this makes sense if you know what he does today – he is a full stack software engineer and designer for General Assembly, a company out of New York City that touts campuses all over the world; they provide innovative training for lifelong learning and success in today’s rapidly changing technological economy.

Cheadle’s interest in the intersection of technology and design shaped one of his first big, life decisions – pursue art school or study computer science. {Continued below}

He chose to study computer science and attended George Mason University. And it was a good decision all the way around. While at GMU, he met Faye, who was also studying computer science. And the two have been together ever since; they married in 2005, a year out of college.

Cheadle finished the last three years of his degree while working full-time in network operations at AOL, then shortly after graduating, the couple moved to San Francisco. They both had job opportunities with a emergent brand and growing company – Google. Faye started with Google first, working as an Associate Systems Manager, and then Technical Program Manager. Tim first worked as a Site Reliability Engineer, then as a Technical Program Manager. (They worked on the same team for a number of years. #relationshipgoals)

“For me, raising kids is about guiding them and coaching them and letting them become their own person.”

As much as they loved San Francisco, they knew it was only temporary. They’re East Coast people. And with family in Virginia, the ultimate goal was to settle somewhere between Washington DC and Atlanta.

They spent seven years in SF before deciding to move back. Where exactly on the East Coast was still the big question. So, they drove around the country for a month and a half. They logged 8,000 miles. All while Faye was five months pregnant with their first child.

And they settled in Charlotte.

When Cheadle moved to Charlotte, he knew one thing for sure – he wanted to own his own business. In 2011, he founded the company, Rational Means. Familiar with the co-working scene from SF, he knew he needed space to work outside the home.

He was working from one location when he attended a Ruby on Rails Meet-Up group at 809 W. Hill Street. He loved the space – so much so that he reached out immediately to the building’s owner to rent.

Faye joined the Rational Means team and together they shared an office at “809” with Ready at 7’s team – Garrett Tichy and Kayla Duggar.

809 W. Hill Street would become Hygge in 2015.

“I remember when Garrett and Kayla said they had a name for the new space,” Cheadle recalls. “And then when they said ‘Hyyge’ and asked if I had ever heard of that word, I said yes – Faye is half-Danish; I absolutely knew the word hygge.”

“I don’t believe in work-life balance,” says Cheadle. “It’s just all your life.”

In 2016, Cheadle moved Rational Means’ office to Hygge’s West Charlotte location on Remount Road; Faye now manages Rational Means while Tim works virtually for General Assembly from the same office.

“I like West Charlotte, and when I toured [the Remount Road Hygge], I could see the potential,” Cheadle shares. “And it feels like what Garrett originally wanted Hygge to be. Plus, for me, it’s more private since I’m on the phone all the time; and the lighting is better over here.”

Working so closely with Faye for almost their entire careers, begged the question of work-life balance – and whether they discuss work at home, or vice versa.

“I don’t believe in work-life balance,” says Cheadle. “It’s just all your life.”

Cheadle’s life involves another important responsibility – dad. He and Faye have two children now: son, Henry (age 6) and daughter, Ruby (10 months).

So, what’s the best part of being a dad?

“There are so many best parts, but I’d probably say getting a chance to relive your own childhood and see your own life through a different lens,” he shares. “For me, raising kids is about guiding them and coaching them and letting them become their own person. It’s super exciting and difficult, but you get to experience who and what they become. And I want them to be happy – whatever they want to do.”

A Father’s Day Q&A with Tim Cheadle:
What are the top five things you want Henry and Ruby to learn about business?

  • Profit is not evil. They need to take care of themselves, but to do that, they have to take care of others.
  • The ultimate goal of any business is to create value for people; if you’re not doing that, you don’t have a business. You may be making money, but you don’t have a business.
  • If you start a business, you’re in sales. And you can sell in an honest, empathetic way. Value your customer and understand their goals and, in doing that, you create value for them.
  • Running your own business is different than being an employee; I wish every employee had experience as an entrepreneur.
  • Always look for how to create value versus being told what to do.

Meet the Author: Meg Seitz is the Founder and Managing Creative Partner of toth shop, an agency with one goal: Elevate your brand’s content through powerful writing, creativity, and strategy. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor with Queens University and Founding Partner of the children’s book series, “Bea is for Business”.

She’s an English major with an MBA, so she can talk Homer’s “The Odyssey” just as well as she can talk sunk costs – though she’d much prefer the former.

Meet the photographer: Hi, nice to meet you! I’m Julia. I’m my happiest self when my camera is in hand and I’m taking in this big beautiful world around me! People are my jam and the fact that this job brings so many wonderful people into my life is pretty special.

I grew up performing mostly in front of the camera! Singing, acting, comedy improv – anything on a stage or in front of a lens. The roles began to switch as I entered my freshman year of college and found a creative outlet through photography. My first “real” shoot was when an engaged friend of mine asked me to photograph her and her fiancé. Within moments of getting started, I knew that this was it. Telling peoples love stories, that is what I’m supposed to do! I shot my first wedding at nineteen, and well you know what they say..the rest is history! We’ve been together ever since 🙂