20 Jul 2017

Feature Toggling On, Three Years In

Wow, three years goes by in a blink of an eye. Three years ago John (LaunchDarkly co-founder) and I both started working full time on LaunchDarkly. We had an idea that we could draw on both of our experiences in software development to help make better software. Funnily, John and I had wanted to start a company together for a long time, but thought we didn’t know enough about any field. So, in the meantime, we’d both continued to work in software for decades. As it turned out, we know a lot about software development lifecycle and managing features effectively.

Now we have customers all over the world (literally) who use our software to eliminate risk and for feature management. One of the favorite parts of my job is to visit customers – I love hearing how they’re using LaunchDarkly and how we can help them manage features. Just in the last four weeks I’ve visited customers in Singapore and Switzerland. And amazing to me, their use cases were very similar – moving away from long lived branches, getting code out more quickly. A CTO in Hong Kong made a brilliant analogy of feature toggling to “lean manufacturing”. The idea of lean came from Toyota; if you circulate through your inventory more quickly, you can be more productive. The same can be applied to code – the quicker you can get it out to the real world, the more effective you can be in validating your ideas and honing its quality. I’m proud that not only do customers love us with a high NPS, but we were also recognized by Gartner this year as a Cool Vendor in DevOps.

Also, the company itself has grown. We have our own office now in Oakland! It’s in a beautiful Art Deco tower, and we are still able to enjoy eating lunch together every day. One of the happiest things the team did lately was rotate all the lunch tables so we had one long table (Hogwarts style). The team didn’t want anyone to have to sit alone if there was no room at a table. Adam Zimman, our VP Product, summed up why he liked working here with “I feel like I can bring my whole self to work; and I’d like to build a culture where everyone feels that way.”

What’s next for LaunchDarkly? We’ve got more functionality coming to help you with effective feature management. We’re hiring! And we’ll also be on the road more – we’ll be at NDC Sydney and Atlassian Summit. I recently met Jeff Lawson from Twilio – he mentioned to me he tries to meet with three customers a week, a worthy goal. My goal for the next year is to meet with at least two customers a week. Come by, say “hi!” We’d love to hear how you’re doing feature management.

07 Jun 2017

Tim Wong launches the Technical Account Management Program at LaunchDarkly

I’m just getting started. (Image credit: Viktor Hanecek)

I’m excited to join the LaunchDarkly team after spending the last nine years at Atlassian Software. At Atlassian, I was one of the founding members of their Technical Account Management team. In a scant three years, we grew the program from two people to twenty, representing companies that are household names across the globe. I hope to take my experience and build a rockstar program here at LaunchDarkly.

What is Technical Account Management (“TAM”)?

The purpose of the TAM program is to help our customers get the absolute most out of LaunchDarkly’s capabilities. No two companies have quite the same needs, so we offer directed, proactive, and strategic guidance that is suited to each company. We take the time to learn how your teams work, to understand the various use cases that you have, and to collaborate with you to develop solutions to your needs.

One way to understand how new technologies come to be adopted is through the lens of People, Process, and Technology — the technologist’s version of the three-legged stool. Within this analogy, the LaunchDarkly platform is the Technology leg. It offers a new and powerful capability, but it is only useful if the teams adopting it understand and internalize both what it does for them and how to implement it.

Particularly as teams scale and usage expands across the organization, there needs to be an ever-expanding center of knowledge. The learnings from the early wins with the platform need to evolve into a program of change. We’re building the TAM program to help teams move from reactive troubleshooting and problem-solving to making proactive and strategic choices. I like to think of it as the difference between asking “What was this flag supposed to do?” to “How can we know that a release will be successful even before we launch it?”

Our aim with the TAM program is to be a trusted advisor. To be successful, we know that we first need to understand what you’re trying to achieve before we can collaborate with you to get it across the line.

What else do you do?

I’ve been working in tech for over a decade, and I can spend far too much time talking about the viability of various tech trends and movements. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for close to 30 years and am a bit of a foodie. In my spare time, boardgames have been a passion of mine for the last decade and a half: I’m mrwong on boardgamegeek.com.

Finally, I make a great mojito.

02 Jun 2017

Week n+1

Start? This is just the next step in the journey (image credit: Andrew Lipson)

I recently wrapped up my first official full week at LaunchDarkly. Although, I’ve been working with the team as an advisor/consultant for a number of months. Over the past year I have been advising and consulting with various start-ups looking for a good fit. I would often remark to folks that I was “company dating.”

More like introductions from friends than tinder. (Photo credit: Reddit post)

Honestly, I have very little dating experience. My wife and I met my 2nd (her 1st) year in college and haven’t looked back. Similar on the job side, I started at EMC a year after graduating and then was the first internal transfer to VMware. For almost 15 years I enjoyed the stability and resources of a large company. But, then I started to feel the need to grow and participate in the changing landscape I saw in software development trends.

Since leaving VMware I have spent a lot of time thinking about the gap between the old school development frameworks (e.g. waterfall) and newer practices (e.g. agile, scrum, continuous deployment). Tools like git, continuous integration, and automation have radically changed how we release. At EMC and VMware we measured our releases in years, or sometimes months (the same way a parent refers to their 22 month-old toddler). Compared to GitHub where we released multiple times a day.

This whole cloud thing is likely just a fad. (Photo credit: Twitter)

Recently, I’ve started to bucket these tools into three phases of for software development: Concept, Launch, and Control. I’m working on a blog series to discuss each of these in-depth, but this framework is what got me excited about LaunchDarkly. Feature management, while not the shiniest tool, provides the foundation for eliminating risk and delivering value as teams push to move faster and to be more reliable.

In addition to my passion for our product, this intelligent team, my carless commute, I did have one additional objective: to be a part of a diverse and equitable company. Not simply an organization that accepts diversity, but one that actively pursues a more diverse and inclusive team as a imperative for building better products and services. So far a great start to my next long-term relationship.

16 May 2017

My Newest Adventure

After spending the past 9 years at Box, I’m excited to be part of the talented LaunchDarkly team. We’re addressing a huge opportunity to transform how companies manage software releases. Having completed my first week meeting with team members, learning about the product, and joining customer calls, I can see there’s clear value resonating across the market – and we’re just getting started!

I’ve been getting up to speed to educate and guide our customers, learning about the market, product, and long-term vision of the team. We held our first offsite in San Francisco at the DFJ office to discuss our mission and strategy to provide a feature management platform. It’s great to see how many companies of all sizes and across all industries want to partner with us and how our focused efforts ensure their success. I’m quickly learning just how fast we’re moving to fulfill customer demand.

Edith and John have assembled a great team delivering a solid product, and I’m looking forward to growing the LaunchDarkly footprint by partnering with companies to drive innovation and eliminate risk.

19 Apr 2017

Starting a new chapter and my message to prospective LD designers

Wow, what a journey.

I joined LaunchDarkly in 2015 as employee #3 and first design hire. Every day since then, I learned something new about the product, the team, and myself. I learned from the best and brightest: from John and Edith’s unparalleled enthusiasm and leadership – to the engineering prowess of Alexis, Patrick, and Dan – to the marketing wizardry of Andrea.

For me, success is not how much money you can make… or your job title… or how many people you can manage… Success is the ability to be proud of what you have accomplished, to have helped others along the way, and to take care of your loved ones. It is also the ability to learn every day, to have a sense of wonder at the possibility of advancement, and to make a positive impact through your work.

Every single team member at LaunchDarkly is a genuinely good person. They are not here to play the Silicon Valley game, they are here to solve a problem with software releases and truly help companies deliver better software, faster. They envision a world where the LaunchDarkly product enables companies to accelerate innovation, spur new technology, and deliver more reliable software.

Though I love the team and I’m thrilled with the product, I’ve made the tough decision to start a new chapter in Southern California, home to my family and friends, at Ten-X (a happy LaunchDarkly customer!). I will miss LaunchDarkly dearly, but I know I did the best I could during my tenure.

Design at LaunchDarkly

If you’re a designer interested in LaunchDarkly, let me give you some insight into what it’s like to work here.

Imagine a team of engineers who are brilliant, humble, supportive, and funny (gifs upon gifs!). Working with this team day after day has been a privilege and a whirlwind of a learning experience. They do not cut corners when it comes to code quality and product. You will absolutely learn best practices, innovative strategies, and work with a state-of-the-art stack. You will 100% become a better, smarter designer and make an immediate impact on the product. I guarantee you will be truly proud of what you design and the quality of its programmatic execution.

Your job will not be to push pixels. You will be a systemic thinker – someone who takes ownership of the design process from start to finish. You will learn to love our customers and take a personal interest in their happiness by building a world-class user experience.

Not only that, but every team member at LaunchDarkly is a designer in their own right. While you will be the one who will take ownership of design, the team enjoys contributing feedback and ideas, making the entire process collaborative and company-wide.

To infinity… and beyond!

And on this note, I say goodbye to my second family as I make my transition from proud employee to happy customer. LaunchDarkly will continue to be the industry leader in feature flag management – a true disruptor and unicorn in the software development space. If you’re a designer and you’re thinking about LaunchDarkly, just do it.

21 Mar 2017

A new chapter

A new chapter

Having spent the past two plus years in the consumer space at Good Eggs, my first week at LaunchDarkly has been an absolute whirlwind experience. From getting acquainted with the development process to meeting our amazing team, the on-boarding process has been, albeit daunting, very warm and welcoming.

Getting up to speed

As part of getting up to up to speed in my first week, I’ve been diving in to the stack. John has been a fantastic pair and resource for not only the current lay of the land, but also providing valuable historical context around the product’s evolution. I still have a lot to learn, but am feeling better equipped every day.

Back and the future

Before joining the team at LaunchDarkly, I was particularly impressed with the product and its evolution. Feature flagging, to me, permeates beyond a software development process to defining how organizations—really people within organizations—work together to deliver the best possible experience to the end user. After seeing how LaunchDarkly works from inside and with its customers, I’m happy to report that I was not only right, but there is so much more to it!

I’m looking forward working on this empowering, impactful product with our incredible team and can’t wait to be a part of LaunchDarkly’s future.