Today is my last day at CenturyLink. It has been an absolute honor to work for and contribute to such an amazing company in the midst of a major transformation. The people at CenturyLink are some of the brightest and most talented individuals I have ever worked with.
I will truly miss working with CenturyLink’s employees on a daily basis. They work hard and are passionate about what they do — they are the backbone and reason why CenturyLink is such an amazing company to be part of. Passionate, transparent, honest and striving to delight the customer everyday — it’s a great team to be part of.
So, while many people may talk about what they achieved during their tenure at a company, I believe the credit goes to the team that goes beyond the call of duty every single day. The team launched 20+ services per year and also evolved the culture at CenturyLink, bringing innovation not just to what they do, but how they do it.
There’s a great book out there called Tribal Leadership [http://www.triballeadership.net/book], which describes the ethos behind the transformation at CenturyLink. It identifies five tribal stages of such transformation and we went from stage 2 to 4 — where members transform from being resistant to new management initiatives to being excited to work together for the benefit of the entire company. I am especially proud to have been part of that transformation.
There are a couple of moments that stand out for me showing how magical this culture is:
Soon after the acquisition of Tier 3 (the company I founded), we were asked to speak at the annual CCA conference that CenturyLink hosts and present the company’s strategy and roadmap. I was all too aware of one of the biggest struggles we are forced to tackle: the constant promise of a new product and the inevitable disappointment at launch when that product is delayed, contains fewer features than we set out to include or is just too buggy.
It’s a familiar scenario for most companies. Even for us it was hard to really understand how to keep executing while also being part of something much bigger. Working with the amazing team that brought us into CenturyLink we decided to take a bold stance and only promise what we could deliver in very short delivery timelines. We would always discuss the direction but really focus on the 6 months ahead as those are the things that needed to be executed on. We even decided to continue on our tradition of launching new features every 21 days which was what we were doing at Tier 3.
The team at CenturyLink was amazing and fully supported this change and with this support we were able to get up on stage in front of our partners and show an amazing roadmap full of features and deliver on that.
Up on stage we showed this picture and proclaimed that there will be no more puking unicorns in our roadmap and for two years we did just that.
Another great moment is when we expanded from six to more than thirty teams. It was a momentous challenge and every single person committed to scaling the business within the culture we had nurtured and built. As part of this expansion, we had to learn about pressure points and automating our manual processes. We got together and, without any leadership hierarchy, focused on how we would achieve this. It changed the culture at CenturyLink with a statement now more widely known as “Run by Robots” or also “Robots vs Oompa Loompas.” We worked tirelessly to identify every aspect that could be automated and owned, making that a reality.
So what’s next for me? Well, I plan to pursue my passions in life with my family and to continue to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit by working in a startup or another company that’s innovating and creating amazing things. Three key, and somewhat diverse, areas of interest for me are robotics / IoT, open source, and the ways in which people process data and collaborate.
To everybody that supported us on this amazing journey internally and externally at CenturyLink, I thank you. With your support we did something amazing. Something that many thought was not possible. I hope to carry on pushing the boundaries of what is and is not possible in my future endeavours but, for now, thank you.