What comes next? Stepping aside from the Chief Product Officer role
Next month, I will step out of my role as Chief Product Officer (CPO) for Culture Amp, the company I started with my co-founders nearly 12 years ago. While letting go has been a tough decision, it is something I’ve been planning for nearly a year. I step out of my role feeling confident in Culture Amp, excitement for what the future holds, and just a touch of self-doubt as is common in big decisions like this.
To some, this will seem like a strange time to leave my role. We have nearly 1000 employees, we’ve grown to over US$100m in revenue with no sign of slowing, and most importantly, we have thousands of customers and millions of employees across the world who genuinely love us – we are making a difference!
There's still so much to do to create a better world of work, yet I've decided it's time to step out of the CPO role and move toward other growth opportunities. Why? Let me explain.
Building Culture Amp
Before Culture Amp, I spent my career in enterprise consulting, trying to help businesses be more successful through innovative technology. Time and time again, I'd see ambitious projects deliver underwhelming outcomes – not due to the tech but due to project teams being held back from delivering to their true potential.
I met Doug English and Jon Williams, two brilliant technical minds while working on one of these consulting gigs. They were talented, ambitious, and fun to work with. Doug and Jon convinced me to step out of my well-paid consulting gig (thank you, I'm so glad you persisted!), and shortly after, we met Didier Elzinga. Didier was already working on the idea of improving company culture through software, and as is often the case with Didier, a short chat was all it took to convince me to go all in on building a company with him. I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I was confident that what lay ahead would be a time of tremendous growth. Even if it went nowhere, I'd learn much on the journey. The truth is, I expected to be back working in my corporate job within a year.
After a couple of failed early ideas, we finally found traction with employee feedback. I've had the privilege of being involved in nearly every aspect of Culture Amp's business since. I've built our product, marketed it, sold it, supported it, and learned alongside some exceptional companies about what it takes to improve organizational culture.
It has been an all-consuming part of my life. We'd set super ambitious goals and do whatever it took to get over the finish line. Sometimes we felt like we'd smashed it, and other times we barely scraped through. We'd win, or we'd learn. It's been a full-on experience, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
And while our impact on the world is profound, I'm most proud of the company we have built. We are a place where I can strive to do extraordinary things with my team and unapologetically turn up as my authentic self every day. If this is a company where many Campers can say the same, we're doing okay.
Building Culture Amp has been one of my most exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding life experiences. It's something I will be forever grateful for.
For a long time, I feared the idea of stepping out of the Chief Product Officer role. Culture Amp has been the thing I point to when I want to tell myself that I'm ambitious, growing, and I'm capable of great things. I've worried that stepping out of the CPO role could represent me deciding I no longer wanted to be this growth-minded person.
But I've realized now that I still want to grow. I just want to grow in different ways. I want to grow as a dad, a partner, a son, and a brother. There are some problems I'm deeply curious about, and I want to dedicate real time to these to learn more about them and see what may come from them. In some ways, it's similar to my decision to start Culture Amp. I don't quite know what's ahead, but I know I'll grow, and I'm excited by the possibilities.
I consider myself extremely lucky to be in a position where I can create space for these things and still contribute to the business I love. While there are too many people to thank, it’s our talented VP team of Rachel Morley, Bronwyn van Der Merwe, Craig Penfold, and Mike Ridgway, as well as so many other leaders who fill me with confidence that the Culture Amp product is in very capable hands.
I don’t want to miss out on all the fun, so I’ll remain on the Culture Amp Board alongside my co-founders, Didier and Doug, and I'll continue to support our Campers as a strategic adviser.
And speaking of co-founders, Doug English, Didier Elzinga, and Jon Williams – thank you for creating something so worthwhile. Working with such ambitious, inspiring, and genuinely values-driven humans has been pretty special. When I look back, it’s the late nights, the big launches, the endless coffees, the daily batch, and your unwavering support as I’ve navigated the highs and lows of startup life with you that I will be forever grateful for.
A final thought
We started this company with the mission to create a better world of work, which has always started with Culture Amp itself. We're not perfect, but we have the most thoughtful, creative, and driven people I've ever worked with. What I admire the most is our relentless ambition to be a better version of ourselves every day. As a founder, this is all you ever want from your team.
So thank you, Campers. I step out of the CPO role feeling grateful, proud, and incredibly confident you'll continue growing the business and helping the world's most ambitious cultures unleash their people's potential.
Culture Amp Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer