My First Week at LaunchDarkly: Let’s Go!


How’d you get here?

I’m Jonathan, and I’ve just joined LaunchDarkly as VP of Engineering.

I spent the last twelve years at Atlassian, where I had the privilege of working with John Kodumal and many of the folks here at LaunchDarkly. I joined Atlassian in 2005 when it was just about the size that LaunchDarkly is now. I was there as Atlassian grew from 25 people to over 2,500.

In 2012 I worked with John and many of the current LaunchDarkly team to build the Atlassian Marketplace, which has helped developers all over the world build businesses on top of Atlassian products. It has paid out over $200M to those developers over the years and brought great success to a lot of people who put their faith in Atlassian quite early on.

In 2014, I joined the HipChat team, and over the next two years we grew the product and the team massively. I then began working on Stride, Atlassian’s brand new team communication tool. Team communication is a massive strategic opportunity as well as an incredibly complex technical and operational challenge.

We used LaunchDarkly in several of my products at Atlassian, but with Stride we built LaunchDarkly into our product and process from the beginning. Everything we built we wrapped in a feature flag, and we established a regular cadence for how new functionality would reach our customers. This allowed us to keep the pipeline moving smoothly, roll out new functionality gradually, and adjust based on the feedback we got, both from our metrics and from our users. It gave the whole team, engineering and product, enormous confidence in what we were building.

Why LaunchDarkly?

A Product I Believe In 

At Atlassian, I learned firsthand just how much better feature management is for your team, in ways both tangible and intangible. It improves your team operationally and culturally. It makes both devs and product people happier. And after seeing the benefits, I would never build a service again that didn’t use feature management.

A Rare Opportunity

What’s more, I’m firmly convinced that every dev team worth their salt will eventually use feature management as part of their delivery process. And I know that LaunchDarkly does a far better job delivering that capability. There’s no reason any team should spend time building a homegrown feature management system.

LaunchDarkly will be one of the foundational tools in every developer’s toolkit, and support a huge number of software projects. Software is transformative—we can help millions of developers deliver software better, with less stress and greater results. When I think about the impact that can have on the world, it’s massive.

An Amazing Team 

LaunchDarkly has already built an incredible team. Just look at what this team has accomplished so far! Some of the best people I’ve worked with over the years have all ended up here. As I have begun to meet the rest of the team, I see the same values and qualities.

I am confident that this is a team I want to be part of—a team that values transparency, humility, growth, collaboration, and openness. One that leads with a great product. And one that has a mission to help our customers grow.

Let’s go!

I’m so excited to be here, and so grateful that I’ve been invited me to join this small, but growing rocketry company. We have a huge opportunity in front us. I’m excited to create a product people love and depend on, to help LaunchDarkly grow, and to make a huge impact on the world of software development.

Jonathan Nolen is the VP of Engineering at LaunchDarkly. Before joining the team, Jonathan was at Atlassian from 2005 until 2018. Most recently, he helped create, build and launch for Stride, Atlassian's complete team communications solution.