A Farewell to Sauce Labs

The ever recognizable Sauce Labs logo.

Five and a half years ago when I started at Sauce Labs it was a small group (in a small office) with a mission from god to not only build a cloud service for test automation, but to build a global community around CD (continuous delivery). It was a big vision, with lots of unknowns and like anything worth doing — it was a roller coaster ride from day one.

Since then, I’ve attended and presented at conferences all over the world, helped to hire a world class Engineering, Operations and Support organization and have seen global adoption of CD grow to ubiquity. It could not have been a more satisfying, challenging and rewarding experience, and it became abundantly clear to me one morning (a month or two back) — that it was time for me to go.

Test automation infrastructure is really complex and interesting to work on; web technologies, distributed systems, OS virtualization, networking, hardware, data centers, open source, browser hackery, deeply technical customer support problems. The time flew by, and it was never boring. But that’s not what made it hard to leave… that was all about the people. At the beginning of my time at Sauce Labs, we spent almost as much time talking about ‘how we build things’ as we did ‘what are we building’, and how do we interact with and treat one another. This turned into a pretty well defined set of company values, that I now consider standard requirements for working anywhere, with anyone.

The people we hired, participated in this quest to support and evolve those values, and over time, they all became very close friends of mine. I have learned heaps from every single one of them, and I will forever miss every day that goes by, that we aren’t working together. But that reality, as powerful and painful as it is — should not keep one from moving on when the time is right.

One of the downsides of a startup that you care deeply about, is that it can become priority number one in your life and stay that way unless you take action. So as of last month, I have transitioned out — enjoyed an overwhelmingly awesome going away party, endless streams of kind words and have headed out of town to do some life catch up, reflection and adventure. I’ll be talking about that in the next post, but in the meantime lets say, getting over startup detachment anxiety is much easier when you’re on the other side of the world enjoying a liter of beer in the sun.

I am confident that Sauce Labs is well positioned in a market that is currently exploding, and will continue to do so. The management team in place there is stellar, and their is no shortage of opportunity, to which I am quite confident they will continue to execute on. Not to mention a very rich and complex system architecture for running your tests, like a boss.

Of course, given my long time deep ties into Sauce, I will be continually snooping to satisfy my curiosity regarding the direction of the company. However, it will never be quite as satisfying as participating in the executive decision making process. And of course, given all of my past experiences in the land of startups — I would be surprised if this is the last time I work with some subset of the team.

I wanted to thank my team at Sauce, as well as the conference organizers and OSS developers that I had the opportunity to interact with throughout the years. I also wanted to thank the board and my various iterations of management for the coaching, support and advisement I received through the rapid personal growth in my time there. I continuously felt supported from every direction, and encouraged to grow to take on the never ending set of challenges. Sauce Labs will always have a very special place in my heart, when I think back — it’s still nostalgically 11 of us, staying up all night in preparation for a Techcrunch launch.

And with that, I conclude my Sauce Labs experience — keep automating all the things.

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