Watching former colleagues take it to the next level

How it's really rewarding to watch former colleagues accomplish greater things.

One of the hallmarks of a great company is that they hire well, and make it a priority to train and challenge their employees to become better. Great companies are a breeding ground for talent. As such, it's always sad when great talent leaves, but it's certainly rewarding to see alumni venture to accomplish greater things.

The Paypal Mafia is an esteemed example of this; many of its early employees have gone off to do impactful things. There are many examples of this in Acquia's history as well.

In 2012, we hired Chris Comparato as Acquia's SVP of Customer Success. While at Acquia, Chris had been advising a local startup called Toast. I remember the day Chris came into my office and told me it was time for him to leave Acquia; he had been waking up thinking about how to help solve Toast's challenges instead of Acquia's. Chris ultimately went on to become the CEO of Toast and under his leadership, Toast is thriving. Just this month, Toast raised another $100 million in funding at a $1.4 billion valuation. Chris is right. If they can, people should try to do what they wake up thinking about. It's advice I try to live by every day. In fact, I still call it the "Comparato Principle".

Chris' story isn't unique. Last week, I was reminded of how meaningful it can be to see former colleagues grow after watching Nick Veenhof's video interview on The Modern CTO Podcast. Nick was hired at Acquia as an engineer to help build Acquia Search. Last year, Nick left to become CTO at Dropsolid, and now oversees a 25 person engineering team. While I miss Nick, it's great to see him thrive.

I feel lucky to witness the impact Chris, Nick and other ex-Acquians are making. Congratulations Chris and Nick. I look forward to your future success!