Leaving LaunchDarkly

Startup years are a little like dog years – 5 years at a startup is a lot of experience. When I started, I was employee 21, our office elevator was a bit dodgy, and we could all eat lunch together. Now LaunchDarkly is a globally-distributed organization with hundreds of employees.

Over the years, I’ve gotten to do so much while flying the LaunchDarkly flag. I’ve been to Cape Town, Melbourne, Berlin, Santo Domingo, and Indianapolis. I’ve stood on the stage at the Barbican in London and in a bar next to a barbershop. I got pickpocketed in the Paris Metro on the way to a customer visit and conference tour of 3 weeks. I’ve delivered remote talks to people from DR Congo and Dusseldorf, Karachi and Cairo. In my time here, I wrote 32 talks or presentations, a book, and dozens of posts, articles, opinion pieces, and book reviews. I’ve gotten to interview Gene Kim and Dr. Ron Westrum and Dr. Nicole Forsgren. I added roughly 4k twitter followers, for whatever that will mean. 😉 I’ve helped design stickers, booth training, conference schedules, and marketing plans.

I didn’t do any of that alone. Co-workers present and past helped guide me, inspire me, and challenge me. There is no way I can sufficiently thank the people that I worked with for giving me such amazing standards to live up to and champion. A special thank you to everyone who let me mentor them, or was brave enough to ask me for help when they were struggling. I hope that you continue to grow and take up space and believe in yourselves as much as I believe in you.

I have another post coming on what I’m looking for next, but I wanted to mark this moment and say that yes, I’m proud of what I did, and how I did it. It wasn’t just the stickers, or the talks, or the articles, or the planning meetings. It was the internal advocacy, the way I got to communicate the community’s needs back into the company. It was dozens of things that make a difference to the brand reputation, even if you don’t think about it at the time. It was, always, the people.

This was my first developer relations role, and it’s an amazing fit for who I am. It’s a job that rewards connection, lateral thinking, a tolerance for interrupts, and always, relentless curiosity. If technical writing is writing college research papers (and it kind of is), dev advocacy is a seminar class where you get to learn from your peers as well as experts, and that role can be constantly changing.

I am grateful to the company that hired me, to the peers and mentors who helped me along the way, to the people who believed in me and helped me upskill. I’m thankful for my teams, both within and outside the company.

It’s heart-wrenching to leave, but this one job bent my career on a whole new arc, and orbital mechanics say no-backsies.

See you soon!

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi is a transformation advocate, devops nerd, and sticker fan. She spends a lot of time talking and writing about things you only thought you understood, and how they are connected. She also has an unhealthy fascination with near-disasters of the technical variety.

Upcoming appearances

Velocity Berlin
Minneapolis DevOps Meetup
DeliveryConf