Eight years ago, Tim Youngblood and I co-founded CodeScience with the vision of creating a company we would actually like to work at. We wanted to tackle difficult problems and attract people who could solve them. We wanted to treat our skilled employees like adults. We wanted to be as silly and curious as children. We wanted a lot of freedom. Tim ran development, leaving me to the CEO role.  At 34 and with no management experience, what could possibly go wrong?

Our first major project was to tackle a force.com embedded application for the newly formed AppExchange. The company was based out of Chattanooga, TN, our future home and headquarters. Our success there led to being a founding member of the Product Development Outsourcing (PDO) specialty at Salesforce – a move that would transform CodeScience, the ISV ecosystem, and myself.

In eight years, CodeScience has evolved from a product development company that developed 90+ products for the AppExchange, to a company that supports the unique needs of ISV companies, guiding them through the full lifecycle, including the plan, build/test, distribution, marketing, sales and support phases. Our clients look to us to bring solutions to market that transform their business and bottom line while avoiding common pitfalls companies can encounter when they grow. From small startups beginning their journey into the Salesforce ecosystem to heavy hitters like nCino, Riskonnect, Drawloop (Nintex), and Salesforce itself, we bring special expertise to the table for SaaS businesses.

A mentor of mine, many years ago, taught me that our job as leaders is to constantly groom your own replacement. As you pioneer a role, keep an eye out for a specialist who will thrive in it.  Successful organizations grow and growth means change.  As a founder, your company success matches your capacity to both foster and embrace change.. Keep moving up and enabling others to shine..

Today is the day for me to do just that for CodeScience. I will be stepping up to President of CodeScience, and asking my business partner, Brian Walsh, to step into my role as CEO. The title has become part of my identity and it may be  difficult for some to imagine me relinquishing it.

I could not be more confident in this move.

As I watched our leadership team work through the challenges of this decision, I was blown away by their teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving. They quickly moved forward with a re-organization and a powerful vision.

What’s next for me? Dreamforce and sabbatical. After eight years, my soul is ready to recharge. I’m focused on defining what this organization needs to grow the next 100 employees and continue to support the vibrant AppExchange ecosystem. Thank you to our team, our clients, and our partners for helping make the first phase of CodeScience so successful. The future looks bright!

I wrote a poem for our employees that I want to share publicly as well. I was in tears while writing, practicing, and delivering this to the company. I am in tears again as I share it here:

The Crown

8 years my reign
8 years leading giant, throbbing brains
8 years both causing and placating their pains
8 years building batch Apex chains
8 years exceeding our lofty claims
8 years plucking the gems from our competitors remains
8 figure years, 7 figure months 
I sure as hell don’t feel like a dunce, wearing this cap

Triumphant is the head that fashions his own crown

How to channel my learnings to fulfill others yearnings?
For better or worse, I enable.
Deep down, 
I know that’s how I earned my crown.
Give minions tools and they will build.
Provide the pool and they will swim.
The path less traveled was the only option.
Support my friends to achieve their ends.
In return, a high perch they crafted me.
Encourage teamwork is my role, keep them stable, 
While they discover, they are so incredibly able.

Certainly, there is no Trumpian dystopia under this crown.

Build a culture from your soul.
But will they notice the gaping holes?
Seek the most difficult problems.
Will we be able to solve them?
Hire the smart, the hard working, and give them wings.
Will they stay?
Another deadline looms, a charge up a yet steeper hill.
Will they keep climbing? 
An droll client, a payroll that must be met, no good answer.
Will they know I tried?
Mistakes made, chinks in the armor, words misspoke.
Will they accept me tired?

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

How to keep my integrity?
Certainly not if I pretend all is levity.
The porcelain throne is tenaciously tethered, disco balls, Sonos and all.
It sticks to me with no pity.
(You sickos just can’t wait for a line ending in shitty;)
The role follows me even at Black Rock City.
At times it feels like a never ending ditty.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown.

Is there an apparent heir?
Yes!!!! he shouts to the air.
Is he properly groomed for the kingly chair?
Certainly not if you judge by his hair,
Yet his judgement is fair.
His vision of the hog is whole.
If he could just control his mouth hole,
I believe the minions might thrive under his care.

A heart wrenching message to deliver.
Perhaps unexpected.  
Perhaps past due.
Will they love the transparency 
Or laugh at a fool in emperor’s new clothes?

Uncertainty plagues those who wear any crown.

And what of Spoon?
Shall I fade?
Nay, that is not how I’m made.
Shall I fashion a new realm, a new crown?
Nay, CodeScience is my home town.
Shall I indulge a mid life crisis?
Nay, I love fun, but even Peter Pan knows you can’t turn back time.
Shall I enable?  Shall I trust?  Shall I advise?
Shall I have faith that our values will guide? 
A resigned yay.

Confident is the king who can pass a crown.