A year ago this past week, I joined SolidFire because Aaron Delp asked me to. I didn’t know who they were, I wasn’t terribly excited about working for another storage company, and I was still reeling from 5 months of non-stop stress, frustration and anxiety. I had another job offer, from a consulting firm in Chicago that wanted me to come on as a principal, and I had to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
As Aaron and I worked through the process, and we talked about what I wanted to do, and what SolidFire needed me to do, he kept asking me to trust him, and kept telling me that we’d learned from the past and wouldn’t let this team devolve into a mess. We wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. I reached out to people I trusted and respected to get their take on the company and my role, and the feedback I got was reassuring.
Hesitantly, I pulled the trigger. I asked for no fanfare: no blog posts, no press releases. I just wanted to put my head down and get to work. I couldn’t recruit (love you, EMC lawyers, mean it), but I could throw myself into the tech and the job. And I did.
A year later, I don’t recognize the place. We’ve doubled the size of company and the increased the size of the department by 4x, adding some of the best colleagues and friends I could ask for to the team. Aaron has kept his word, and worked hard to build something fun, useful and (mostly) sustainable. Every day for the last year I’ve felt like my opinion and energy were welcome and made a difference, and that’s pretty special.
And to top it off, over the next couple weeks I’ll get to transition back into a field-facing role, providing executive-level coverage for our customers, partners and events. I’m really excited. I try not to look too far forward, or too far back, but it’s been a pretty great year, professionally. The tech is fun, different and interesting. The company is passionate, engaged and learning. The culture is a direct reflection of how cool a human being the CEO is, and I can’t explain how much of a difference that makes.
But the people have been the real salvation for me. Part of the joy of a startup is the ability to go get the people you trust, the people you respect and offer them the chance to try and climb the mountain together. Over the last year we’ve added some amazing people, over the next year we’ll add more. There will be highs and lows, but together we’ll pick each other up, have fun and try to make a small dent in the IT universe.
Aaron the Elder, APatt, Josh, Gabe, Lara, Jay, Chad, Chris, Jeff, Ed, Cahill, Norbie, Steve, Amy, Kelsi, DW and everyone else at SolidFire: thank you for letting me be part of the team. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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