An update on Chef

In the Northwest we’ve gone very quickly from summer to Fall.  And what a summer it was.  In fact, 2015 is clearly shaping up to be a record year across all of our key metrics: revenue, new customers, and partnerships. But perhaps most significant is the fact our growth rate is accelerating as we get larger. This isn’t just a testament to Chef the company, it is strong validation of the work our broader community is doing driving positive change across the IT industry.

We’re seeing our business surge broadly across all major industries as nearly every organization of significance embraces software innovation as part of their remit.  Within this “digital transformation”, IT teams are going through a significant shift in their focus.  The new emphasis is less about infrastructure and much more about creating software innovation engines through rapid application development.

As companies compete in the digital world, the game is: how to simultaneously increase innovation velocity and quality.  This is the premise of the DevOps movement  – the new physics of IT.  Both Chef and our community have played, and continue to play, a major role in driving these new physics.

To be clear, DevOps is hard, and that’s okay.  Breaking old patterns is hard.  Creating new, cross-organization relationships is hard.  Becoming self-reliant is hard.  Doing quickly what used to happen slowly is hard.  If anyone tries to sell you that transformation and the DevOps journey are simple and straightforward, don’t listen to them.  It takes commitment and work.  And there will be failures along the way.  But for those that stay at it the rewards are clear.  Not only can organizations increase both velocity and quality, they can create better security practices and, although we don’t recommend starting with cost-reduction, they can save money..

One of my favorite things I hear again and again from customers and employees is that Chef is a different kind of company.  In a good way.  To explain that statement, I want to expose some of the internal principles from our employee guide – the “Recipe for Success.”

One example I’ll highlight is: “Be our customer’s favorite company to work with.”  Reaching this status isn’t easy and for Chef it isn’t about schmoozing customers with golf outings or fancy meals.  It’s about helping our customers drive results in their organizations.  It also means treating our community and customers differently – more personally – than companies traditionally do.  We believe, for example, that the customer is not always right.  If you were walking with a friend of yours and you realized that they were about to step in a dog mess, wouldn’t you put a hand on their shoulder to stop them? Shouldn’t this be the same for a customer?

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments, as well as any feedback on our “Recipe for Success”.

Finally, thank you all for your support.  You may have seen our funding news yesterday – I’ll write more about that soon.

Barry Crist

Barry Crist has more than 20 years of experience in driving enterprise customer success with open source and DevOps software solutions and is a recognized leader in driving a culture of innovation. Barry joined Chef as CEO in 2013 and has been a leading force behind the company’s business operations, culture and technology innovation.