Interview with Matthew Combs, Founder & CEO at Tentacle

Read about Matt’s experience working with MasterBorn to build Tentacle - leading him to tear down all notions of what working with an outsourced partner really means.
Hannah MacKenzie

Hannah MacKenzie

Aug 29, 2022 | 7 min read

Interview with Matthew Combs, Founder & CEO at Tentacle

In the summer of 2022, we had the pleasure of talking to Matt Combs - Tentacle Founder and CEO, and our valued business partner. One of our U.S. account managers, Hannah, had the opportunity to meet with Matt over a cup of coffee in Dallas and hear about his experiences of hiring a CTO and collaborating with MasterBorn to build Tentacle from the ground-up.

What is Tentacle?

Tentacle is a platform that is designed to help enterprises of all sizes become more secure by better managing their information security programs.

How long have you been working with MasterBorn?

For a bit more than 2 years - they were one of the first people I started speaking with when I wanted to get the company off the ground.

Would you consider MasterBorn to be a software company or a business partner?

Is there an option C that is they are both? Because at the end of the day, the approach that MasterBorn has is one of which - they are our business partners while being software developers. But they’re also a key and strategic business partner of ours in developing the software that we need in order to execute the vision that we have for the product that we want to put on the market.

How did involving MasterBorn accelerate your path?

I always thought that if you can find a partner that is already doing what you need to get done and doing it well - they’ve got the infrastructure, they’ve got the resources, they’ve got the processes, the procedures - all of that - in place and ready to go - you end up saving a bunch of time in having to go hire, train and deploy in order to get to the same spot.

I think, conservatively speaking, MasterBorn saved us between 6 to 12 months because we were able to plug into MasterBorn and get going right away.

And you didn't have a CTO, is that right?

Not only did we not have a CTO, I’m generally not a fan of CTOs at this stage in the business. You need somebody at our phase that is writing code, analyzing code, improving code, deploying code - not hypothesizing and pontificating about technical directions and architectural decisions - you need somebody who is actually a builder.

Did MasterBorn fill that role?

No single person at MasterBorn filled that role for us, the collective team of backend developers, architects, fronted developers has accomplished what I would expect of a futuristic CTO, if you will.

Why did you choose MasterBorn?

Choosing MasterBorn came down to trusting Gray or not. I had almost zero work experience with him. He had worked with people I trusted and he came highly recommended and it was about - did I feel that what he was saying would become a reality and could I trust him to execute on the vision we had in mind.

Matt Combs and Gray Skinner

Explain what you trust about the MasterBorn team

I think admittedly trust is built over time and I think honestly it’s continually earned every single day.

Trust is perpetually and continually earned not just by the way that we interact with one another but the way we work together to come up with what is best for helping us achieve the mission and the vision of what we have in mind for Tentacle.

Tell me about experience with technical debt - did working with MasterBorn help you avoid that?

Currently, we have zero technical debt.

We made it a priority at the very beginning that if we were to do things a certain way, in order to avoid technical debt, things had to be done a certain way.

And that meant that not everything is always done quick and easy, some things are done with a lot more thought, takes a little bit more time, but what the result is, is we have, right now almost zero technical debt.

When you are not working in an environment where you are managing technical debt, your ability to innovate and create is there, cause your time is freed up and you can use that time and thought energy to develop new paths for your product, new market growth opportunities for you.

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What advice would you give another entrepreneur or anyone who’s ready to engage with MasterBorn?

Tear down all of the notions that you currently have with what "outsourced partner" really means. Be brave enough to start with a clean white board - a clean slate - and write your new definition of what an Outsourced Development Partner is.

I have used dev partners in many countries, including domestically. The experience with what I’m doing now is so far from what I did in India, what I’ve done in the United States, what I’ve done in China, what I’ve done in Brazil, that it’s almost not fair to even compare.

I truly believe the level of talent, and the proficiency and the expertise that I am lucky to be working with right now, does not warrant a direct comparison to what normal people deal with outsourced partners and what we are dealing with here.

They are different products, different services, different approaches - everything is different.

What advice would you give another entrepreneur or anyone who’s ready to engage with MasterBorn 1 (1)

My advice would be: get ready to create a whole new definition of what an outsourced partner is, and do not compare it with what is standard on the market right now. And that’s the truth.

How would you rate the technical skill of MasterBorn developers? Any sacrifice in quality compared to the U.S.- based developers?

The technical skills of the MasterBorn developers are superior. If you compare it to what I have direct access to, right now, at this price point, MasterBorn is above and beyond expectations.

The MasterBorn development capabilities have never not impressed and have never underdelivered based upon my expectations, so I think it’s fair to say: Whatever is happening over at MasterBorn and in Poland - their technical proficiencies are keeping them ahead of the game.

How would you rate the technical skill of MasterBorn developers Any sacrifice in quality compared to the U.S.- based developers

What makes MasterBorn special?

For me, what makes MasterBorn special has got nothing to do with the technical development, it’s got nothing to do with the products that their outputting, their speed, their cadence, their proficiencies, but they are very real people that I care for. And honestly, I think that they care for us - they care for our project.

They’re just a bunch of real people, real human beings, with real emotions, real feelings, real capabilities, real intellect and I think we see each other like that on the same path of developing our product together.

Any final words to the team?

If you think about the role they’re playing, you get entrepreneurs who have these dreams and they’ve got these ideas and visions and these hypothesis about what could be… and the MasterBorn team’s playing a role in helping our dreams come true.

Any final words to the team (1)

So instead of thinking of yourselves as software developers if they sometimes stopped and thought that they are dream-makers or reality-makers of these dreams… then they would probably understand the passion and the enthusing and the commitment that we bring to the table.

I think that responsibility is massive and I would really encourage them to embrace that and reflect on that and value that, because it's just not everyday that you find yourself in those positions, period.

What is Tentacle (2)

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