Richard Sheridan On Building A Life And Company Filled With Joy

Richard Sheridan founded a company to end human suffering in the workplace.  That sounds grand, but he’s actually walking the walk and has been for over twenty years.  Coding became a passion for him at a young age but as he got older it became a “just” a job.  Throughout his 30’s he slowly lost interest in his work and instead of driving into the office would take joy rides around Ann Arbor.  Deep down, he knew that there must be a better way.

During this time, he was offered a promotion by a new leader at his company.  He didn’t really have a plan decided he would use this as an opportunity to quit.  When he delivered this news, his manager challenged him that it wasn’t the right decision.  That night he decided he would just put all his dreams on the table. He walked into the office the next day and told the CEO he would take the promotion on one condition.

I’m going to build the best damn software team Ann Arbor has ever seen, and I need your help.

He took the promotion and over the next four years, questioned everything he knew about building software.  Over time he started to find things that worked and contributed towards the kind of company he was proud to be building.  One of the things he questioned early on was the individual contributor model. Taking a page from Kent Beck’s book Extreme Programming, he implemented a pair-coding model, where two people work together on one computer.  His company has since expanded this to every function in the company and it is the kind of thinking that is still rare in today’s corporate world. However, decisions like this help him escape the traps that a lot of companies face with internal politics and power as they scale.  Hear about his own journey and the principles he uses to build a company centered around joy.

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