As I sit on the little prop commuter flight heading home from Portland, I find myself exhaling a sigh of delight as I feel the sun shine through the tiny airplane window. It has been one of the rainiest Aprils in Portland history, I hear. The sunshine is a welcome surprise on this afternoon flight. So was my standby seat which will bring me home two hours earlier than anticipated. My three young boys will be happy to have mom home early after traveling most of the week.
Our boys have only ever known mom and dad as small business owners. To say that Northwest Cadence has been a big part of our lives these past ten years is an understatement. It’s been more like our fourth kid. Northwest Cadence is always in our home, comes with us on vacation, takes precedent over other seemingly important things at inopportune times, and also brings immense pride and joy. Steven and I left stable jobs and started Northwest Cadence in 2007. July 7 of 2007 to be exact. Normally a company inception date wouldn’t matter so much, but it does in the case of Northwest Cadence. Lucky sevens, some say. We took a leap of faith and decided to see if we could start something that could make a little difference in our part of the world.
I find myself reflecting on the past 10 years as I sit 10,000 feet above the ground, staring at the landscape below. The past ten years of my life having flown by. And I’m proud. I’m proud of our Northwest Cadence family and what it stands for; what it has achieved; what it has successfully endured. After nearly ten years in business, Northwest Cadence has remained innovative, creative, and lean. Above all else, company culture remains the heart.
I really dislike turbulence. Frankly, I get motion sick and sometimes a little scared. I feel the same way about uncertainty and change. When Satya Nadella took over Microsoft in 2014, our world as we knew it transformed. When Satya said “cloud-first”, he meant it. Within months of this leadership transition at Microsoft, the wonderful capabilities that cloud brought came laced with uncomfortable change. For seven busy years leading up to this, Northwest Cadence helped customers all over the United States with Team Foundation Server (TFS). Yes, Team Foundation Server, as in physical on-premises; exactly opposite of the cloud. As you can imagine, any consulting service that dealt specifically with servers would become quickly diminished with the growing cloud. Northwest Cadence also spent nearly a decade helping software delivery teams improve how they built software through DevOps practices. Until 2014, software development processes and DevOps practices had almost nothing to do with the cloud. Change was a coming.
This uncomfortable change that brought new tools, practices, and processes created two big challenges. First, many customers shifted to a holding pattern. They waited to start new projects and held off on changing how they did things. Looming questions were common: Is the cloud secure? What are my competitors going to do? How do we even start to embrace this new cloud-first philosophy in a practical way? Secondly, this change in scenery meant Northwest Cadence needed to quickly move ahead of the curve with new skills, practical experiences, and a different message. From my 10,000-foot view, Northwest Cadence was strong and steady in the turbulence because of two things—our customers were loyal and trusted us, and our team was dedicated and determined to make it through to the other side.
After about 18 months, we made it through the turbulence into sun-filled skies. With uncertainty and change came extraordinary tools and capabilities. Microsoft’s cloud (Azure) along with the newly available Machine Learning and Advanced Analytics capabilities allowed us an entirely new way to help software delivery teams build amazing software. Today, Northwest Cadence is a proud Microsoft partner recognized as a leader in advanced solutions for software delivery teams. Northwest Cadence has been honored by Microsoft as a Gold Partner in Cloud Platform, Data Analytics, and DevOps. The sky’s the limit!
Sometimes it is hard to see through the weeds when you are on the ground. The 10,000-foot view from the sky gave me distinct perspective this afternoon. The homes, fields, and buildings all look so small, yet they all contain really important things that can play a part in making a positive impact on the earth. Things like people. Ideas. Connectedness. Every parent wants their kid to thrive; to make a difference; to go out and do good in the world. That is my true heart’s desire for Northwest Cadence. With great people, innovative ideas, and opportunity to work together, we can all make a difference for the better – through technology or otherwise.
A heartfelt thanks!
Thank you to our extraordinary customers for placing your trust in us with your very important projects.
Thank you to our dear friends at Microsoft who invest in us so that we might succeed.