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First we fired Mike
Two and a half years ago, Rustici Software was acquired by Learning Technologies Group. One of my favorite parts of that day was signing the piece of paper that ‘fired’ Mike Rustici himself (so that he could serve as CEO at Watershed, which simultaneously took on investment from LTG). Since that moment, Rustici Software has continued to flourish, and has played a significant role in LTG’s broader success, including both financial and technical contributions.
Today, I’m writing the blog post that commits me to a similar fate. June 1 is my last day as a Rustici Software employee. I’ll be taking a new role as Chief Innovation and Products Officer (CIPO) for LTG.
Strangely, my reasons for doing this are as much about the people at Rustici as anything else. I believe this: if the people who work for you are able to function and flourish without you, then it’s probably time to get out of their way. So I’m doing that.
The timing is good. LTG has a set of opportunities and challenges that are evergreen. We (my new we, LTG) have acquired companies every year, and fitting software and organizations together in a way that serves customers well is a hard problem. I like hard problems, and I hope I’m well suited to this one having worked toward learning software functioning well together every day of the last 15 years.
Rustici will continue to serve its market as it always has, with empathy, technical competence, and personal care. Effective June 1, TJ Seabrooks will move into the role of CEO at Rustici Software. TJ has been working at Rustici for 6 years in various roles ranging from software development to technical sales and ultimately as the Director of Products.
TJ’s “finest moment” at Rustici Software, or the one that ultimately set him along this path, came years ago when we all sat around the ping pong table and established that someone had to take on the challenging role of supporting our customers technically. This is a counterintuitive move for many developers who prefer to build things rather than fix bugs and talk to people. TJ has been solving problems and fixing things since.
I’m immeasurably proud that there are several people at Rustici Software prepared to step into the responsibilities that I carried over the years. I’m excited to leave space for them to do that, and to do so without going too far away.