The following is an edited version of an address that COO Ken Judy made to staff as part of the last company meeting of 2020. We are sharing this publicly to inspire others and help them keep us accountable to our goals.
I want to acknowledge colleagues who are having a hard time and the loss we feel at not being in the same room together. I also want to thank you for your patience and professionalism over the last year and the care you take in your relationships with each other and our clients.
Because of your accomplishments, we have the opportunity to learn from last year and shape the company we want Stride to become.
Our job is to deliver custom software. We design, build, and problem solve in the real world of constraints and fallibility. We focus on the technology at hand but also on the circles of people who build, fund, and derive benefit from our work. We do this to generate the impact people want from their investment, within the milestones they need. We do this to avoid wasting money, time, goodwill, and passion on little- or never-used applications and features.
But we exist as a company because we love collaborating with each other. We nurture curiosity, provide space to develop our talents, and aspire to help each other bring the best out of ourselves as professionals and as people.
For us, people aren’t a resource. We believe the work empowers people. To sum up, we unlock human potential by engineering better systems.
For a company founded with such a human-centric purpose and composed of such thoughtful and hopeful people, measures of business value and professional success are necessary but not sufficient descriptions of the future we want to build together.
We strive to help our clients achieve their aims, improve working conditions, and make a positive impact on society. But ultimately, we want our ingenuity, dedication, and care to help build a brighter future for our planet and for generations to come.
That is an audacious vision for a small company. Our journey is
- Support each other and develop each other’s abilities.
- Continue to refine our strategy—what client opportunities we create, what problems we solve, and Stride’s way of solving them.
- This will continue to create more measurable and meaningful results for clients.
- Internally, we are just beginning our work to improve social equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we will continue to do this collaboratively through group initiatives.
- These combined internal and client efforts will produce case studies and a shareable record of progress and accomplishments.
- Sharing this in the world will build our reputation, expertise, and contribute to the direction of the industry.
- That will help us seek out, learn from, and form networks of like-minded people.
- We will work with those people as they create opportunities for social and ecological good.
- This will create the impact we want to make.
The role of business goals is to translate this mission into achievable, measurable outcomes to which we can hold ourselves accountable. Our timeline is as follows:
2021 – Create a sustainable and stable environment for ourselves, with more consistently fulfilling and meaningful work.
2024 – Create a waiting list of innovators and industry leaders who embrace environmental, social, and governance issues and want us to solve their most challenging cloud-based problems.
2036 – Create good in the world through technical and organizational consulting with clients. Foster social equity, steward the environment, treat people humanely, and engage with local communities.
For each goal, we have or are developing observable measures of success, including financial targets that continue to ensure that Stride is viable and has the resources to move forward.
These goals move from achievable to lofty, but they are refreshingly practical in this sense: the most straightforward way for consultants to find meaning in their work is to help people doing meaningful work. The best context for unlocking human potential is partnering with organizations that foster equitable opportunities, humane conditions, and a sustainable relationship with our planet.
We have to attempt this challenge. There is no neutral state. We all acknowledge that our industry is deeply inequitable and has created profound harm. The tech industry has bought into a definition of success as delivering direct business results and meeting the interests of a narrow subset of the people affected by its work. Not only is that no longer acceptable for any industry, but it is doubly so for one that creates lasting consequences at scale.
So, our position as a technology consulting company, as employees of that company, and as technologists is privileged and complicit. We have to acknowledge this. But we know there is promise for our industry and our society because even whileas people, particularly younger generations, demand more of us, they are themselves changing our society for the better.
Our goodwill. Our intelligence. Our optimism. Our advocacy. All are part of this demand for change. The qualities that make us Striders make it inevitable that we walk this path. And if we do this together, the people we join up with along the way will only make us better and more capable of getting where we want to go.
We will always build careers and create financial security for ourselves and our loved ones. We will always deliver for our clients and care about people. As individuals and as a company, we are also accountable for perpetuating less harm and creating more good in the world, for our planet and for generations to come.