The HashiCorp Founders Discuss Their Company's Culture
Feb 12, 2019
Remote-first working, high-impact, and a variety of challenges are just a few of the reasons why people love working at HashiCorp.
Founder & Co-CTO, HashiCorp
Founder & Co-CTO, HashiCorp
Mitchell Hashimoto: For me the best part about working at HashiCorp is the remote-first aspect of the company. This is a conscious decision we made when we were three employees. We're hundreds of employees now and we're still remote first. We have an office. You could go into it optionally. You don't need to. It's only in San Francisco, but over 80% of our employees are not in San Francisco and you could just work from home. Actually, both of us are not in San Francisco, so having the founders in different cities, having the CEO in a different city, really defines that remote-first culture.
From a lifestyle perspective, there's some learning to do there to make it healthy, but I think it's a much healthier work-life balance. I could block off an hour in my calendar in the middle of the day to go for a run or just walk my dog or whatever, and I think that being able to have that flexibility and know that you could pick up work later in the day is a really healthy thing. There are a lot of families at HashiCorp, and I know from them that they say how much they benefit from the remote-first culture because they could go to their kids' school parties, they could always pick up their kids from school, they could go with their spouses to various events. I think that it's a great part of the company.
Armon Dadgar: I think for me, what I really enjoy the most about it is actually the people. I think most companies, I feel like my experience is: If given ten people, maybe three of them I like, six of them I tolerate, one person I actively dislike, and that's the average ratio. Whereas I feel like given ten people at HashiCorp, I like all of them. It's a culture that really actively promotes kindness, collaboration, really like a teamwork-centric culture, and I think that kind of gets represented in a few different ways. Part of it has just been—those are the people we hire from the beginning, but it's also a core part of the principles of the company.
We publish a document called The Principles of HashiCorp, which is really the core ethos that are important to us as people, but as the way the organization should run. We put things like kindness, integrity, and humility at the very top of the list. I think it creates a very fun culture where you're really coming into work and not dealing with people, egos, and politics. Instead it's saying, what's the most important problem to the business, who are the smart colleagues I can get to work on and solve those problems, and I think that's a really energizing environment to show up to.
Mitchell: I think the principles of HashiCorp have made it really healthy in the way that we could talk about both new candidates and how people are doing in the company too, and I think that's really nice because when we do things like new hire interviews or quarterly or annual reviews or one-on-ones with your manager, being able to talk about: are your co-workers kind, and that being a core principle of the company, are they honest?
That's a really clear way to define what it means to work at HashiCorp, and I think that we've chosen things that we feel are not optional. Kindness isn't an option for us. It's just how you should always be, and so I don't think they're contentious at all and they help define a really healthy working environment.
Armon: I think the other aspect that is really fun and exciting for me is: what is the impact the company gets to have? I think it's rare that you get to be in an environment where the tools are so broadly used and have such an impact on the way that the software industry not only solves their problems, but thinks about their problems.
Our tools today do tens of millions of downloads a year, and it's in every industry. You almost can't process a credit card transaction today without touching a HashiCorp tool. You can't do an online bill pay without touching a HashiCorp tool. You can't stream a video without touching a HashiCorp tool.
I think that's super exciting for us. Behind the scenes, we get a lens into what all of these companies doing. What are all the interesting challenges that they solving? Whether it's: how does Twitch stream videos to 40 million people at a time, to how does a large bank secure their infrastructure and process millions of transactions a day?
I think getting to be involved at that level and being a trusted partner to these organizations as they think about the future of their infrastructure, how do they adopt cloud, how do you improve their security posture, is deeply exciting from an impact perspective for me.
» Diverse technical challenges
Mitchell: Another aspect that I think is really, really powerful about HashiCorp is just the technical diversity of our tool set. Whether you're an engineer or in marketing or in sales, we're a portfolio company. Finding a company—a start-up company—that's also a portfolio company is quite rare. We've been lucky enough to be very successful in multiple different categories, and they're dramatically different categories, so there are development environments, there's spinning up production infrastructure, there's securing your infrastructure, scheduling applications.
There are so many totally different technical problems that you could work on that it's really fun because you could come into the company on one team, work there for a year or two, and sort of plan your move to another team and learn other things. We've had people switch teams from one technology to another that would have generally required, especially at our size, but would have generally required that you find a new company, and the fact that you could do that within the same company that follows the same principles with people that you're familiar with and you've seen I think is really, really fun and it keeps things fresh as well.