Farewell Airbnb, Hello Happo

I have worked at Airbnb for over eight incredible years. It has been an extraordinary ride and a tremendous privilege to be able to work at this company, at this time, with these people, building this product that has impacted so many lives. When I reflect about my journey, I often land on the thought that I am one of the luckiest.

But here’s a quote that has inspired me recently:

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”

—William Faulkner

I have a great job at a great company and work with great people—some of the best in the world. It is hard to top that. There’s a lot of security that comes with sticking around such a place for so long. And yet, as I sit on this beautiful shore, I am ready for a change. I am going to swim for new horizons.

In 2014 my friend Henric Trotzig and I hatched an idea for a new kind of testing tool that takes screenshots of your app as you build it, to show how your code visually changes things each step of the way. The tool is Happo, and it has proven to be crucial for numerous companies, including some you may be familiar with like Airbnb and Patreon.

Next month, I will join Henric as a co-founder of Happo. I’m looking forward to tackling new challenges and getting to work closely again with a great friend. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and I’m excited to build a company on my own terms. I love Justin Jackson’s recent post titled “We need more calm companies”:

A calm company’s purpose is to provide exceptional service to customers while simultaneously improving the lives of the people who work there.

Calm companies provide meaningful work, healthy interactions, and flexibility for people’s lives. If your kid is home sick, you can set work aside and take care of them. If it’s a beautiful day, you can go for a run on the beach.

Building a calm company has meant saying no to opportunities that don’t align with our values. We’ve purposefully declined complicated enterprise contracts that would require us to staff up, add more compliance, and sign complicated legal contracts. We try not to commit to projects that burn us out. We’ve prioritized doing work that we enjoy and that brings customers value.

I’ve experienced the impact that Happo has had at Airbnb and I am eager to help more teams experience the step change in confidence that Happo brings to product development workflows.

This moment where I’m wrapping up my time at Airbnb and getting the ball rolling on Happo feels a bit like the start of a roller coaster, slowly climbing the big hill. As I hear the clink clink clink and the world shrinks away, I ask myself, “oh boy, what have I gotten myself into?” Pausing briefly at the top among the birds and the clouds, I glance over at my friend sitting next to me, take a deep breath, hold on tight, and try to enjoy the wild plunge into the unknown.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *