When people ask me, “What makes Rocket Rocket,” I often tell them that more than 60% of us are engineers. To build a long-lasting software company that makes a difference in the world you need to invest in and retain world-class engineering talent—and lots of it. That’s what we believe at Rocket. That’s what we do at Rocket.
Our engineers are domain experts. Our engineers are empowered. Our engineers innovate. Our engineers are passionate about building software that matters. Those aren’t just words on a page. This is who we are. Let me tell you a story that brings all of that to life:
Last year we held our first ever company-wide engineering innovation event, which we call Rocket.Build. Any Rocketeer that wanted to participate could submit a project idea that could be anything, big or small. A project could relate to one of our existing product or solution areas, or could reach beyond our existing horizons. The idea was to give our talented engineers the time and space to begin to create software that will matter to the world in our next 25 years. Software for the next 25 years—yes, we set the bar very high!
You might be surprised to hear that over 120 projects dreamed up by Rocketeers all over the world were submitted. That is 120 innovative ideas for what Rocket should be building next to solve problems for our customers and partners. From those 120 ideas we selected the top 20. The selection committee involved me, our CTO, Bryan Smith, and our Rocket.Build leader, Azeem Ahmed.
Once our projects were selected, we were ready to kick off Rocket.Build. We created our own Rocket.Build Lab space in the Boston InterContinental hotel. We formally opened the Lab on Sunday evening, November 30 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The Lab would be open 24 hours a day for the entire week. The Lab was designed by engineers, for engineers –couches and tables, beanbag chairs and whiteboard pillars, Legos and Rubik’s Cubes, big screens for collaborative coding, and plenty of power outlets, food, and drinks.
Engineers from all over Rocket – 80 in total – arrived from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Russia, China, and Australia. It was a magical week. Our engineers created the beginning of what’s next for our customers, our partners, and for Rocket. Collaboration and innovation were everywhere. It didn’t matter what language you spoke, what language you coded in, what your domain expertise was, or what products you knew – the teamwork that happened in that Lab that week cut across all boundaries.
I am so proud of who we are at Rocket. I am so proud of our engineering strength. And I couldn’t be prouder of what our engineers accomplished that week. In fact, it was so successful that we are launching mini Rocket.Build events (we call them Rocket.Build/Local) in each of our Rocket Labs around the world. This week we are kicking off Rocket.Build/Local events in Irvine, Denver, and Dordrecht.
Feel free to reach out to me, Bryan, or Azeem if you want to learn more about Rocket.Build. And let us know what is important to you – your input can help shape the next ideas that find their way into Rocket.Build 2015.
Andrew J. Youniss
President and CEO, Rocket Software, Inc.
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