Dear Ex-Bigco New to Smallco

  • Go read Camille Fournier’s Other People’s Problems, and internalize its lesson — take one problem to focus on, ensure you understand all stakeholders, fully deliver a solution, get the learnings and organizational credibility that comes from that, then onto the next. (A caveat to that is start small; credibility is a snowball you need to have iterated success on to drive iteratively bigger things).
  • In the meantime, try really hard in shared channels to avoid mentioning how you think your last company’s solution was much more sensible than ours and is just inevitable here. Even if you think you are just doing this as an interesting comparison.
  • Rather, focus on understanding our culture that has made us successful in our business, and gain the intuition for why it works, and why it should be challenged to change for our success ahead.

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Ian Nowland

Ian Nowland

SVP Core Engineering@ Datadog. Formerly SVP @ Two Sigma, and creator of Nitro @ AWS EC2.