11 years of on the job training at Saleae
It’s been almost 11 years since Mark and I started Saleae - and I just turned 39 yesterday. I am continually amazed by how much we’ve learned and how much I still have to learn.
At the beginning of each quarter we look back at the prior quarter and review how things are going. It’s a chance to take stock and change course as we realize various things aren’t working out the way we had intended.
I’ve typically pushed to do a large set of things. Spread ourselves out, so that various goals could theoretically be achieved faster. What’s become painfully obvious is that this just doesn't work. We've got to focus. Like, seriously. Drop in the f-bomb, that's what I mean.
So what are we going to focus on? We need to get back to being a great software development company. It’s what put us on the map and the only reason people have ever heard about Saleae and continue to buy Saleae gear.
Mid/late last year it was becoming clear that 1) outsourced developers were not going to make us a great software development company and 2) The current software was not going to support a direct path to where we wanted to go, despite some innovative attempts.
So we switched course to what is the current alpha software - an entirely new application with essentially no code in common. It hasn’t been without its learning curve, yet it is a dramatically better architecture and developer experience than was the prior codebase. Full test coverage, full code review, disciplined scrum practices, and an extremely clean and loosely coupled architecture. Continually reviewed by outside experts in the relevant technologies.
The only goal of Saleae right now is to release a compelling, feature-complete, and stable version of the next generation software.
Obviously, we think it’s going to be awesome and that people will love it. But it’s one thing to talk about it and another to ship it.
In the last month we’ve hired Michael and Rani, two battle-tested, seasoned software architects and team leads. Michael will head up the back end, taking over for me, and Rani will lead the front end, taking over for Mark. Mark will play a supporting role for both Michael and Rani, and I will continue to play the role of Product Manager, something we formalized last quarter.
The goal is to reliably crank out high-quality software features on a regular cadence, with only a relatively small time commitment from me.
Only after software is operating as a well oiled machine we will start on the next 'vertical' of the company - hardware. We'll be hiring the absolute best hardware expert & team lead we can find, and I'll again play the role of Product Manager, rather than get too far in the weeds. Eventually, once that's a well oiled, self-managing machine, we'll do the same for marketing and so on.
I like to think that last ten years has been a wonderful opportunity to learn by doing, and with those learnings and some moxy Saleae is on the cusp of taking off like a rubber band from the finger of God.
I invite you to come along for the ride. Wish us luck!