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From Coder to Chief Technology Officer with Armon Dadgar, CTO of Hashicorp

Episode 367
How do build an open source software company for the cloud? Armon shares his experience.

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“At the core of what HashiCorp does, almost everything is open source for us. And so in terms of traditional marketing, we do very little of it. It’s very much driven around creating great products in open source as to make it broadly available to developers and users.” — Armon Dadgar

Chad is joined by Armon Dadgar, co-founder and CTO of Hashicorp. As CTO of Hashicorp, Armon has spent a large amount of his time building the culture of the company by refining the process of hiring and investing in the future. As a leader, he knows his job is as much about building a great product as it is about building a great team. 

“The bulk of it was either alternating between writing code and hiring people to write more code. And now it’s almost sort of the total opposite,” says Armon “I probably haven’t written a line of code in two or three years… I spend a lot more time on the outbound side, a lot more time with the management team in terms of how we think about culture and process and hiring future investments.”

From an early age, programming has been a key part of Armon’s life, and this hobby propelled him through the University of Washington and into the world of coding. He focused on open source programming, and this eventually led to him starting his own company, Hashicorp, with co-founder, Mithcell Hashimoto.

On this episode, Armon discusses the differences between being a coder and the CTO, ways to keep up with the ever-changing, fast-paced world of IT, and how to find time for personal growth.

Quotes from Armon:

[On the origins of Hashicorp] “We had a really strong vision for what the product portfolio should be. We knew from the get-go [that] these are the six to eight products we know need to be built and open source… We’re just going to focus on building out the tooling [without] a huge focus on the commercialization of the business.”  

“There’s one cable where traffic comes in and out of my data center. And so if I tightly control that and I can put firewalls at my front door, then I can understand the traffic and control everything. And as I go to cloud, there is no four walls. There is no front door, there’s not the one cable that you can point to. It says this is where the Internet is connected.”

“When you talk about in a cloud environment, you don’t control the network, right? Amazon, Google and Microsoft, they give you a logical network, but you’re not going to buy hardware and ship it up to them, right? And so the whole notion of networking sort of shifts away from, ‘hey, buy a bunch of hardware and manage this hardware’ into ‘the problem still exists, but now it’s a logical problem.”


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