30 of the best people in software lost their jobs yesterday. And I lost my job too. Revelry Labs, where I worked for close to seven years (five of those as VP of Engineering), has downsized from around 70 people to about half that.
I’ve never met such a high-performing group of hyper-competent and flexible problem-solvers. These people are top-of-their-class Engineers, Designers, Product Managers, Marketing folks, Relationship Managers, and more. But ultimately, I think what sets these folks apart is their humanity, openness, good humor, and adaptability. I think any team would be lucky to have them.
I’m still a big believer in Revelry. The team that is remaining there is also full of amazing, hyper-competent, kind, and caring people. I think Revelry is one of the best agencies out there and one of the most underrated. I’ve learned so much from Gerard in the last seven years. I feel a whole slew of contradictory emotions about this right now, but I can say I’m a lot more sad than mad.
I joined as the 2nd Engineering hire. We grew the company from 4 people to almost 70. My role was growing the Engineering team from 2 to over 30. But I don’t care about the growth itself. What I care about is that we managed to grow 10x while remaining open, transparent, flat, democratic, and kind. It’s that at every turn, between any two options, we took the one that was moral, ethical, and humane.
None of these people lost their jobs through any fault of their own. Some of us put ourselves on the list because we refused to let anyone go unless we went first. Some people merely lost the die roll by not being attached to any billable work at the moment when the economy tanked.
I want to talk about a few of these people specifically. I haven’t had a chance to talk to everyone yet, and I didn’t want to mention anyone without express permission. Anyone missing from this list is missing for that reason. I’ll continue to update this list as I catch up with more folks:
John Hawkins is the person who taught me to respect and enjoy WordPress (a framework that I previously loathed) through his transfer of enthusiasm. I’ve seen him twist and bend the framework in ways I didn’t think possible in order to achieve amazing things on extremely short timelines. Need WordPress? John is your guy. You can reach him here.
Ben Rongey has the rare ability to be direct and say what everyone else is thinking, but in a way that puts everyone at ease and points them in the right direction. Even when he was a very new member of the team, he course-corrected me meaningfully multiple times. He’s also a hell of an Engineer who undersells himself. And he’s only going to get much better over the next few years of his career. Need someone who is not just a great Engineer, but can set you straight with kindness and professionalism? That’s Ben. Here is Ben on LinkedIn.
Josh Frank brought so many missing pieces to our puzzle when he joined. I’ve never known anyone who could better balance the demands of our customers, our customer’s customers, and our team against the ugly reality of budgets and timelines. He’s responsible for the excellence of our Product, Process, and Project Management approaches. Need an amazing Product mind? Josh is the one for you. He’s here on LinkedIn and here on Twitter.
Hauwa Aguillard is another one who really helped us to complete our equation. Hauwa is a UX expert. She’s the one who taught us to not just care about user data in the abstract but to make it real and part of every decision we made. She also clearly cares about community and teaching. Every time Hauwa goes to a conference, you know that she’s going to come back and teach the team everything she learned. And whenever she learns something on the job, she finds a way to share it with other UX practitioners in our community. Need someone who will make your UX program best in class? That’s Hauwa. You can find her on LinkedIn here.
Aline Adams is just a Swiss-army knife of competence. We put her through half a dozen different job descriptions in as many years and she was good at every single one of them. We did it because he knew she would handle it. Project Management, on software projects, or marketing campaigns, or whatever? Aline’s got you. Content development? Aline’s got you. Marketing? SEO? Aline’s got you. Etcetc? Aline’s got you. You can find Aline here.
I can’t recommend these folks strongly enough. You should hire them. And you should probably do it soon before either Revelry snaps them back up or I figure out how to hire them myself.