Nov 1, 2022
I’m super stoked to share with all of you that I have stepped down from my former CEO role in order to get back to working more directly on our beloved product. I actually made this transition already two months ago, and this has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I’m still on the board of directors and also help our leadership team with strategic decisions (I’m writing these lines from our annual leadership offsite in San Francisco). But I have completely moved out of any management responsibilities and my weekly meeting schedule has slimmed down significantly. This allows me to focus entirely on making Gitpod better.😍
I’m learning so much every day and have been super pumped since the first day. I can’t overstate how much I love my new role!
Here’s the letter I shared internally with my colleagues when I first announced this in August 👇
I’m super excited to share with you that I’ll be transitioning from my current Co-CEO position to an engineering individual contributor role. You might not too surprised about this step if you know me a bit better, but I would like non-the-less to give some background on why this is so exciting for both Gitpod and me.
I’ve spent my entire career building developer tools (e.g. [oAW, Xtext, Xtend, Theia]). Because these were often successful and inspired others to work with me, I reluctantly moved into management roles. I’ve learned a lot about leadership and management in the past years. In particular, that I naturally lead through my conviction and that I don’t enjoy “managing” people. Also I always felt like owning formal management titles harms my ability to show up as my true natural self and connect with people.
When you start a company, many things need to be done, which can move you away from building the actual product and having deep technical conversations. These are my superpowers and why I initiate things like Gitpod. To focus on this, I have always teamed up with amazing people that would own anything non-product building. I co-founded TypeFox with Jan and Mo for this reason and later teamed up with Johannes for Gitpod because of this. You all know and have seen how well Johannes grew into the CEO role.
Since the Co-CEO announcement, I could do a bit more coding again, which helped remind me that this is what I love and where I can have the most significant impact. Chris and Johannes are doing fantastic work in their roles as CTO resp. CEO and with Mike joining as our new Head of Product, we have a great team lined up to lead the company and the product engineering organization into the next phase.
Starting in September, I’ll work as a full-time IC joining the WebApp team but will move to other product teams if needed. As Gitpod’s first Technical Fellow, I’ll work directly on one team. Still, I can coordinate efforts that span multiple teams, own and flesh-out architectural decisions, help the product team with discovery work, and learn from and advise other engineers. I’ll also engage with our users and customers and keep spreading the word through conference talks and meet-ups.
I’ll also stay on the board of Gitpod and bring my IC perspective to it. I’ll no longer be part of the executive and the leadership team but maintain regular check-ins with Johannes and Mike. I will report to and work closely with Chris.
I can’t state enough how excited I am for this transition and how much I’m looking forward to making Gitpod a bit better every day in a more direct way again with all of you and, in particular our fantastic engineering team.