01 Feb 2016

My First Week at LaunchDarkly

LaunchDarkly is my first experience at a small startup. I’m super excited to be able to work on the backend of LaunchDarkly, but also to collaborate with everyone at the company and learn more about sales, marketing, design, and leadership. The team is laser-focused on building the best product for customers. This is evident in the day-to-day practices including the “always-on” customer support and top-down, user-centered engineering style.

I feel like I’ve landed in a spot surrounded by real pros. The quality of communication is really impressive- especially the conciseness of the few meetings that take place. When everyone in the company is gathered, it should be really important stuff, and nothing else. What’s really badass is how much the team has produced with so few people: an intuitive and fully-featured web application, a robust and fault-tolerant backend capable of handling a ton of events, and SDKs in several languages. I think part of this success is attributed to their pragmatic approach and heavy use of existing tools, software, and services. When building software these days there are very few systems that need to be built from the ground up, and anytime you build something that’s already out there you’re wasting your time. It will take longer than you think and is not likely to work as well as the existing, albeit imperfect, solution. We’re psyched to add feature flags to that list of things you don’t need to build so you can focus on your core business.

Also, I like that everyone takes part in the vision of what LaunchDarkly will be in the future, but without suffering from YAGNI.

The product has reached an inflection point where we are achieving significant market traction. We know what we need to do to keep this going: continue to support the customer, build out features, and keep quality high. This is a really exciting opportunity for us to provide lasting value to customers. It is one of the reasons I joined the team: I thrive in an environment where the objectives are clear and the impact of my work is felt by users.

I’m looking forward to many more weeks of learning, hard work, and contributing to the success of this awesome product.

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Dan Richelson
Software Engineer at LaunchDarkly

Prior to LaunchDarkly, Dan worked on highly available enterprise streaming APIs at GNIP and Twitter. Much like a Feature Flagging system, these products were core parts of customers’ businesses, making reliability paramount. At LaunchDarkly Dan built much of the multivariate functionality in the SDKs including our comprehensive integration test system. He also built the Android SDK. Dan holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Colorado in Boulder. When not building the galaxy’s best Feature Flagging platform, he is rock climbing, hiking, yoga, and exploring the intersections of art and technology.