15 Sep 2015

Climbing a Redwood: Why I joined LaunchDarkly

The startup world is an amalgam of turbulence, smoke, and mirrors. You’ll hear about the next disruptive product… you’ll hear about revolutionary new tech… and you’ll hear about 10X growth and revenue that quadruples weekly.

The reality is… most startups are cloaked in fluff. They drape their diseased innards and pray that investors and hungry entrepreneurs don’t sneak a peak. If you ever want to see how sausage is made, just watch a startup team throw together an investment deck and plug in financial data.

That said, I don’t blame entrepreneurs (counting myself as one). We’re quirky, driven, and visionary, with just the right amount of crazy. I blame the startup ecosystem, which has cultivated a garden of unrealistic expectations, forcing startups to grow a seed into a redwood with only a few drops of water.

So, we end up with a vast field of planted seeds. Some have fertilizer, but no water; some have water, but get no sun; and, some just lay atop the soil.

But here’s the secret… if you want to be successful, don’t scour the field for the next great idea. In fact, every successful idea has been thought of thousands of times before. You search for a team. A great team can make anything. A great team with a bad seed will still be able to grow a fern. A great team with a great seed will grow a redwood.

LaunchDarkly (LD) is that redwood team. The product itself is pretty sweet, yet it’s merely a byproduct of consonant talent. I chose LD because the team inspired me. Inspiration is that intangible motivational fuel that’s lacking in most teams. It’s fleeting to be inspired solely by the product. The product is a thing. It’s a representation of collective input. Think of a product as a giant tree. Yes, it’s really cool to look at… but does it inspire you? Does it make you happy? Does it drive you? A giant tree in itself carries little meaning – the true meaning spawns from the journey of discovery, the interplay of fertility and drought, fires and growth… the resources expended.

For LD, the product is meaningful because it will represent that collective efforts of an all-star cast. I’m fortunate enough to have joined at a time where the seed has sprouted with all the requisite resources to grow into a redwood. Now, it’s time for me to start fueling the growth with the goal of making the developer world a better place.

Cheers,
Justin

___

Justin’s Bio: As of August 2015, I am happy to introduce myself as LaunchDarkly’s Lead Product Designer. I’ve been mingling in the startup world for a few years, with an eclectic background of social sciences, design, and programming. I would consider myself to be a master of intuition, complemented by a generalist technical skill set. My vision is to make the product truly reflect its robust functionality. In other words, LD does some things that are relatively new in the developer world. It’s my job to make sure those features are salient, intuitive, and usable. This is a huge challenge, but one I am excited to tackle.


LaunchDarkly helps you build better software faster with feature flags as a service. Start your free trial now.

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleLinkedInReddit


Justin Baker
Lead Product Designer at LaunchDarkly
As a designer who can code, Justin can empathize with a developer's workflow and design intuitive interfaces to address extremely complex functionality. He has built dozens of user interfaces for high-traffic applications — winning the Best of California IT Design award in 2012. He frequently contributes feature flag management and design theory articles to DZone, Tech.co, and DesignerHub. He holds degrees from UC Davis and USC, and is finishing an MS in Information Design at Northwestern. When he's not making developer's lives easier, he enjoys tennis, computer games, and writing.