Mitchell reflects as he departs HashiCorp

After more than 11 years, HashiCorp Co-Founder Mitchell Hashimoto pens a heartfelt goodbye letter to the company he helped create.

Earlier this week, I sent this note to HashiCorp employees and am posting it here to let the entire HashiCorp community know about my plans:

I have some bittersweet news to share with you all today: I've decided to move on from HashiCorp, and I'll soon no longer be an employee with the company. I recently celebrated 11 years since starting HashiCorp, and as I reflect back on the last decade I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend that part of my life.

My departure from HashiCorp is something I’ve been thinking about and planning for a long time. Ever since founding HashiCorp, I've felt it's important to build a company where I'm not required for day-to-day operations and where other leaders can carry the torch over time. I have been very intentional about this as time went on: stepping down from being CEO in 2016, iterating over time on a culture of leadership autonomy that didn't require my involvement to make decisions, and finally departing the leadership team and board of directors in 2021. Since then, I've had the pleasure of working where I’m happiest — as a full-time, hands-on engineer.

My passion as an engineer reaches beyond infrastructure and I always knew that at some point — when the company and I were ready — I'd move on and take on new, different challenges. My family recently welcomed our first child, and while reflecting during my time off I felt now was a fitting time to complete this transition. The world of cloud automation and infrastructure tooling is still ripe with opportunities and growth, but after nearly 15 years of working exclusively on tooling in this space, I'm ready to dabble in new areas.

While my departure from HashiCorp is exactly what I've planned for, it's still a poignant moment. Nearly my entire adult life has revolved around the company. Many of my most formative memories happened in the context of this company. There are far too many to recount here, but I'd like to highlight just a few.

Years before we started HashiCorp, Armon [Dadgar, HashiCorp Co-Founder and CTO] and I would talk about cloud, automation, and distributed systems incessantly. We were teenagers, and we'd playfully — not seriously — say things like, "What if one day the biggest companies used our software?" At one point, though, we took the first step and made some of our ideas into actual code. Next thing we knew, we had thousands of users. So, we took another step and started a company. A little later we took the next step and decided to raise funding. And that’s how HashiCorp became what it is today: we took many small little steps like this until we found that that playful, teenage idealism had become reality.

Mitchell and Armon in 2013

Mitchell and Armon in 2013.

As we got going, I felt like some “firsts” were particularly significant. The first HashiConf in 2015 will always be a special memory. It was the first time that the digital world really firmly crossed over into the physical world for me, and it was hard to believe that any of it was real. I knew that our download numbers were high and I knew I interacted daily with community members online, but it's something entirely different to see hundreds of people willingly choose to physically show up. I felt incredibly proud, but it was also one of the earliest moments that I felt a real weight of responsibility. I felt the internal struggle of wanting to build, but also needing to shepherd this company Armon and I were creating. I'm so thankful to all of those early adopters and employees who joined us for that first event.

First HashiConf

The audience at HashiConf 2015.

Just a few short years later, our first internal, full-company offsite was the next major "whoa" experience for me. We had more people present than at that first HashiConf! I started this company with Armon, focused on my excitement around the technology, but moments like this taught me how important the people are, too. The people and our shared experiences are what I now look back on most fondly.

There are many more similarly impactful moments throughout my history with HashiCorp, and I'm so grateful for all of them. Although it may sometimes seem like some events are bigger than others, I value each experience (even the tough ones) as a necessary step toward achieving each individual milestone.

I've worked alongside Armon for almost 15 years (since before HashiCorp!), and worked with Dave [McJannet, HashiCorp CEO] for over 7. We led the company together up until I stepped off the leadership team in 2021. Beyond being coworkers, we’ve grown to be close friends. I continue to trust their leadership and will miss working with them dearly.

Mitchell, Dave and Armon

Armon, Mitchell, and Dave.

The controversial worldviews such as multi-cloud that we founded this company on are now mainstream and broadly accepted. The software that I helped start is used industry-wide from hobbyists to professionals at the world's largest companies. And, most recently, the GitHub Octoverse report found that HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL) has once again emerged as one of the top languages used in open source projects. These are just some of the examples that show the impact, growth, and promising future HashiCorp continues to have in the industry. This is all beyond what I could've hoped for, and I'm leaving proud of the small role I played in making this happen.

As I said earlier, nearly my entire adult life has revolved around HashiCorp. This company has made such an impact on not just my life, but on the lives of so many, including our passionate community, our valued customers, our many close ecosystem partners, and our amazing employees. Thanks to all of you for your energy and your trust. Finally, my heartfelt wishes go out to the entire company. I will be cheering you on, grateful to have contributed to the journey of shaping HashiCorp, and excited to see what you will do next.

All the best.

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