Goodbye HashiCorp

Jana Iris
5 min readJan 25, 2022

HashiCorp, you were the best thing that ever happened to me and my career, but it’s time for me to say goodbye.

I’ve been working in the tech industry for almost 15 years now. I’ve had experiences beyond anything I could have ever imagined, from helping build multiple companies from the early days, making lifelong friends, traveling the world, getting to live in New York City, going through two initial public offerings, and earning what the industry refers to as “fuck you” money, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for me. I’ve been passed up for promotions because I “lacked experience,” I’ve been fired from a job a week before Christmas, I’ve dealt with my fair share of harassment, and all the myriad issues women deal with working in the tech industry. There were times I wondered if I should quit tech altogether, but looking back now, I’m glad I stayed. How often in your career do you get to see your face on the Nasdaq digital screen in Times Square? I understand I’m one of the lucky ones who has a happy story to share, and I acknowledge that’s not the case for all.

In March 2015, I started talking to Armon Dadgar, the co-founder of HashiCorp, about organizing HashiCorp’s first community conference. I had just left New Relic after the IPO and was feeling extremely burned out. I decided to start working with HashiCorp part-time while I gave myself a moment to rest and figure out what was next for me. From the moment I started working with Armon, Mitchell, Seth, Kevin, Burzin, and the other early employees, I was immediately impressed by them. They exuded kindness and warmth, while having very clear strategic vision for the company, the OSS projects, and a deep understanding of their users. I found myself excited to jump on weekly calls with them. During calls, I found that they listened to what I had to say and respected my ideas. I wasn’t as technical as them, but I brought to the table a skill set HashiCorp needed in those days. I quickly realized this was where I belonged and decided to join them full-time to help build their community programs. I had no idea that one day we would be a publicly traded company valued at over $15 billion. We were just a small group of people with a passion for building infrastructure automation tools.

What I experienced in the early days continued throughout my entire seven years at HashiCorp. The founders and leaders at HashiCorp created a culture unlike anywhere else I had experienced in my career. For me, they created a place that allowed me to grow into the leader that I always knew I had in me. They allowed me to try, play, experiment, and, in turn, I was able to create world-class community programs for them. I turned into, as my friend Amit Kumar calls me, a heavy hitter.

During the IPO in New York last month, I got to spend quality time with all of the early employees and investors. This is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. Not only was I able to celebrate this milestone with my colleagues, say my goodbyes, but talking to them made me understand I had a bigger impact on the company than I realized. I now know that who I am is deeply embedded in the culture of the company and community. From my deep love of people, to understanding how to build community, being an empathic human, lover of quality coffee, nice experiences, and music, these qualities permeate in all areas of HashiCorp. I don’t think that’s something people realize when they join a company early. It feels good to know that I made an impact.

I’m extremely proud of the work I was able to accomplish during my time HashiCorp. I’m even more proud of the people I hired over the years and the team I built. It’s the best team I’ve ever had the privilege of working with and I will truly miss them. I must say I’m grateful to my manager, Adam FitzGerald, for helping me through the transition. And also to my team for understanding that it was my time to go. I didn’t leave HashiCorp because I was unhappy. I was extremely comfortable but there comes a time when you realize you’re no longer growing and there’s not much else you can give a company or vice versa. At the end of the day, I am a builder who loves and thrives at the early stages.

I had a call with Armon a few weeks ago to let him know I was leaving. With enthusiasm he said, “What an epic way to exit, from the first HashiCorp event to our IPO experience.” I’m glad I’m leaving on a high note with an epic Obama like mic drop moment, and I will forever be grateful for this experience. HashiCorp, until the very end, has treated me with the utmost respect and kindness. I’m sincerely going to miss my colleagues and the HashiCorp community.

Thank you for this wild ride, HashiCorp.

Time to go do it all over again…

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Jana Iris

Investor at TQ Ventures. Ex-HashiCorp, from tenth employee thru IPO. Builder of developer communities.