Paddy at HashiDays London by HashiCorp

Hashiversary

A year ago, I joined HashiCorp to work on the Terraform team. I was excited, and baffled.

I’d heard of HashiCorp, I’d used Vagrant, but I hadn’t kept up. I had never used Terraform. But I knew the calibre of people that worked there, and I wasn’t sure I fit that description.

But I loved working in Go. I loved working remotely. I had learned some things about operations from very kind people. And I loved open source, and wanted nothing more than to answer, first and foremost, to the people using whatever I made.

For whatever reason, HashiCorp decided to give me a shot. And I’m really glad they did.

My very first week on the job, they flew me to the HQ in San Francisco. I sat down with one of the co-CTOs, and he explained to me and another new employee the history of the company, the vision, and talked a bit about his perspective on the ecosystem. If you’ve never heard Armon explain anything, I definitely recommend finding an opportunity for it. Ethan is probably tired of hearing how excited I am to have a leadership that can explain things in a way that makes it sound simple and obvious when first you hear it, but thinking back on it, it contains half a dozen brilliant ideas. From what I can gather, I’m far from the only engineer at HashiCorp that has picked up on this quality.

A few months in, I decided I wanted a HashiCorp Pride sticker, with our logo in rainbow. I asked my manager if I could make one, and he told me to talk to the marketing team. The marketing team told me no, I am not allowed to make one. But they’d be happy to have one of our contractors design one and submit it for my approval. Which was an even better answer than I had hoped for. We went through a couple iterations, and they delivered a final design to me. I ordered a sample pack off StickerMule and got like a dozen for $9 or something. A few weeks later, a co-CTO saw it on my laptop, and asked for one. Then other coworkers wanted one. Then the company decided to do a run of 50. And now, suddenly, they’re a very popular sticker, and we’re stocking them. I had anticipated a conversation about politics and the company and neutrality being why I couldn’t make something, and it turned into the company designing and making large quantities of it, instead.

Working on Terraform has been interesting. My responsibilities and focus have shifted as needs change. Terraform has advanced dramatically in the last year, and though I feel like I’ve played an undersized part in that, it’s still something I’m proud of being part of. I’ve learned a lot, and struggled a lot, in the last year.

One of the best and worst things about working at HashiCorp is that you’re surrounded by smart, kind people who care about what they do. It’s hard, because it’s intimidating. It feels hard to measure up. But it also means you’re surrounded with supportive people who will help you to feel like you measure up.

Of course, there’s a lot of work to do, and that can be hard. It’s hard not to feel guilty when there are so many open issues and PRs, when you have so much to do at any given moment. But I’m surrounded by people who are deeply invested in making sure I don’t burn out, and that’s really helpful.

The past year has flown by, and I can’t believe it’s been an entire year. I’ve gotten to do so many things; I’ve contributed to a massive open source community; I’ve made friends with amazing people who I can’t believe give me the time of day; I was in a marketing video with Dana, a Googler I get to collaborate with; I went to London to give a live demo on the same stage as some of the smartest people I’ve ever met; I wrote a bot and programmatically migrated thousands of issues (while flying cross-country immediately after giving that live demo). When I joined I thought I might do one or two things that exciting during my first year, but I’ve been given so many opportunities.

I’m really looking forward to what I get to celebrate in next year’s post.