December 11, 2014
Old School Reading for New Founders Part 1
Writer James Baldwin once said, “You’ve got to know where you came from, to know where you’re going.” This list is meant to offer a ...
I spent the better part of my career working with the team and products at Librato, but last week, I said goodbye. I had great colleagues and interesting problems to solve, but ultimately I decided to leave because of a new and enticing opportunity. So I’m thrilled to announce today that I’m officially joining Heavybit as a General Partner! It’s probably one of the most significant decisions in my career, and I wanted to share some thoughts on why I’m excited to jump in and get to work.
I’ve spent the last 20 years working on infrastructure and systems software and building teams to create it. I’ve had a front-row seat as successive waves of innovation (e.g. virtualization/IaaS, containers/microservices, Ruby/Node/Go) have dramatically altered the way we develop, deploy, and operate software at scale. Central to almost all of this change is the need to increase the breadth of what a single developer can accomplish and the speed at which they can move. I’ve come to recognize a few fundamental and obvious truths:
Software really is eating the world, and now it’s in a second wave even more far-reaching than the disruption highlighted in Marc Andreessen’s original essay. Digital Transformation is an eye-roll-inducing term that’s being discussed in every enterprise boardroom. Executives recognize that they must either modernize and adapt their sales/distribution, marketing, and even internal processes, or face eventual demise.
When my co-founders and I first started selling Librato, I was always amazed at the unexpected logos that would show up in our funnel. Alongside the Web 2.0 and hot new app startups, were businesses that my grandparents might have held stock in. From cargo shipping, to construction, to food and beverage companies — you’d be shocked by the number of “legacy” Fortune 500 companies using software to modernize every aspect of their business.
And this is where Heavybit comes in. At Librato we started laying down the first lines of code seven years ago. We were part of a new breed of developer tools enabled by and built on the fundamental abstractions of IaaS. After hearing that Heavybit’s co-founders James Lindenbaum and Tom Drummond were building a program to address the unique challenges of developer-first companies, I knew immediately that Librato could benefit. The timing was right a year later and we joined the program. It was one of the most important things we did to ensure our success. Since then, Heavybit is the premier program for bringing developer-first products to market. I’ve marveled at the ingenuity that successive batches of founders after us have displayed.
So when I was approached with the opportunity to join Heavybit full-time, it was the easiest “tough decision” I’ve ever made. Anyone who’s ever worked for me will tell you that I’m obsessed with improving the speed of developers and the impact they can have. I love the raw energy and vision that great founders harness at early stage startups and the process of continuous adjustments that result in enduring, scalable businesses emerging from what looks like (and often is) absolute chaos. I think the world is still in the early days of digitalization and Heavybit is at the center of all of it. In my role as General Partner, I’ll work alongside our companies to help founders sharpen their focus, optimize their path to market, and most importantly, avoid all the mistakes that we as a partnership collectively made when we walked in their shoes.
I’m diving in headfirst and ecstatic about investing in and working for the next generation of exceptional entrepreneurs building developer-first companies. I’ll definitely have more to say as I go along, follow me on Twitter as @josephruscio or subscribe to the Heavybit mailing list for updates from the entire team.