Rocket at 25: remembering how we got started
25 years ago I was a young programmer who had recently joined a small start-up venture just outside of Boston called DBView. It was there that I met Johan Gedda. After DBView was sold by the owner (who, by the way, was Johan’s MIT fraternity brother) Johan approached me and asked if I would be interested in launching our own software company—Rocket Software. Things moved quickly, and the next thing I knew I woke up on April 16, 1990 and began writing Rocket’s first software product.
Johan provided the funding and the encouragement to give it a go. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but “You know how to write software that solves real problems that enterprises want to buy” isn’t too far from it. My wife, Mariann, provided incredible amounts of support and love and encouragement as well. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but “If we don’t try this now, when will we?” isn’t too far from it. Rocket never would have happened without the two of them.
It’s been a pretty amazing ride to get to where we are today, and I am so grateful to have had the experience. We’ve grown from two people who had an idea to a company of 1300 incredibly talented Rocketeers in every corner of the globe. We’ve gone from one product idea to several hundred commercially successful products. We’ve expanded from our one, very first customer to more than 17,000 customers and partners.
There are many reasons for our success over the last 25 years, but when people ask me how we’ve been able to grow and thrive for so long, I always answer the same way. “It’s all about the people.” There are lots of people who can design, build, implement, market, sell, and support software. But those skills are only the tip of the iceberg.
We’ve been able to grow from day one because we have always brought in Rocketeers—through hiring or through acquisitions—who share our vision and our core values. Our very first hire was Matt Kelley, a young MIT masters graduate. Even though we are much bigger than we were back then, we still look for candidates like Matt who are excellent at what they do, and even more exceptional in how they do it.
2015 is an important milestone year for us, and I am proud of what our company has accomplished so far. But I am even prouder of the fact that we’ve been able to do it by staying true to our vision and our core values and by hiring and acquiring great people who share those same values.
It is the people—our Rocketeers, our customers, our partners, our community—that has me really looking forward to our next 25 years!