Founder forever, CTO no longer

Today I’m officially announcing the end of my tenure as CTO of Engine Yard, Inc. I’m delighted to retain my responsibility on Engine Yard’s Board of Directors.

Engine Yard is in good hands: stronger than ever, growing quickly, and manned by extraordinarily hard-working, talented, and bright individuals who understand that the customer is always in charge.

Thank you current and past employees for your hard work, dedication, care and handling of our customers and their applications. You’ve been amazing, both individually and collectively: each of you has taught me something; I’ll do my best to pay it forward.

I’ve learned so much in the last six years from others that I’ve surprised myself and become an avid teacher. As such, I’ll take this opportunity to pass on a few of the most important things that I’ve learned from my experience so far

  • Honesty is always the best policy
  • Love your customers and they’ll love you back
  • Don’t be afraid to charge enough to be the best
  • Leave your ego behind: watch this clip from Guy Ritchie’s movie “Revolver”
  • Be positive: assume positive intent, always avoid the dark side
  • Financial statements are worth the effort it takes to learn how to structure them and how to read them

I never considered myself a fan of Fantasy literature until I read “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is an amazing story, and I must credit the movie for motivating me to read it. It had been on my infrequently consulted mental “must read” list since I was in high school. Nearly everyone praised it and I wanted to know what they were talking about! There was no chance I was going to let a movie color my impression of the book, as I’ve not yet seen a movie that did its novel justice. :-)

To nobody’s surprise but my own I instantly fell in love with it.

Tolkien is a genius with words. His characters say the most wonderful things. Yet it surprised me that when I finally sat down to write this blog entry that a “Lord of the Rings” quote came instantly to mind.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Lord of the Rings

Isn’t that the truth? When Lance and I decided to start Engine Yard we had no idea what lay ahead of us! We worked hard to build the best business we could, reinforcing things that had worked for us previously and correcting things that didn’t.

It worked…and the journey began…occasionally dragging us behind it like a Bullet Bill in Mario Kart!

When I Googled the opening quote, I happened upon another that demands inclusion here.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

The Wanderlust is upon me but I’m not lost! What better time than now to go put a new dent in the world?

I’m anxious to tell you what’s next for me. Alas, I’m not quite ready to do so but will share this: I’m working with an small team on an amazing product that I really want for myself! So much so that I simply must create it. It’s going to be fun to put my newfound knowledge to the test. :-)

Tom Mornini
Entrepreneurial Wanderer, Director of Engine Yard, Inc.


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