What It’s Like To Strap Yourself To A Rocket Ship

November 5, 2015

What It’s Like To Strap Yourself To A Rocket Ship

By: Chelsea Doherty

If someone told me even just five years ago that I’d have a successful and thrilling career at a booming startup five minutes from where I grew up, I’d have told them to seek help. I’m coming up on five years at Datto and I still have a hard time believing I’m here.

When I found Datto I was coming fresh off a road trip with my beloved grandmother around the circumference of the United States and into Mexico. I hadn’t spent much time thinking of becoming a “career woman.” I had gained valuable experience and taken a lot of chances in my young life, but nothing prepared me for what was coming my way. When I returned, an aunt mentioned to me a “little startup” she thought I’d love. I was driven to transition into adult life, so I sent my rinky-dink resume in.

When I was called in for an interview I was totally petrified. I’d never had a “serious” interview in my life. I had applied for a different position when my interviewer asked me, “how would you feel about being our shipping manager?” Well, I had never shipped a package in my life but I found myself saying “Yes! I’d love that!”

That was my first Let’s Do This moment, and certainly not my last.

When I started with Datto, I was one of approximately 25 employees, all situated on a single floor of a small office building. Employees were sharing cubicles and offices, and there was always this thrum of activity filling our small space with enthusiasm for making something of Datto. Austin McChord, founder and CEO of Datto would be running from one end of the office to the other. Whether it was handling hiring, finance matters, support calls and anything else you can imagine. I noticed that many other employees were doing the same. This blew my mind and drove me to dive into any project or opportunity I could find. That is the Datto way - or now more familiarly - #dattolife. We built a team that was so dedicated to the success of our company, our community, that none of us ever had to worry that we weren’t going to make it. I swear you could see the exhilaration in the faces of everyone there.

In my five short years here, we have grown our staff from 25 employees in that tiny office to over 500 employees in four countries and multiple data centers around the world. I went from shipping around 10 domestic packages a day to accommodating parcel, air freight, ocean freight and LTL shipping to all corners of the world. My head still spins when we fill up whole freight trucks with hundreds of outbound shipments. I’ve learned everything from insuring cargo to international customs documentation and trade laws, all right here on the job. Once I gained my bearings, I was able to hire a staff to serve my department, allowing me to focus on other projects which included creating our Return Merchandise Authorization department. I did this with the unwavering support of the Datto community -- always pushing me to grow and taking my knowledge and experience seriously despite starting out under-qualified. I can’t stress how important that last bit is. Datto understands that everyone here has something valuable to offer.

That’s why I believe in Datto. Simply, because Datto believes in me.

One huge benefit of this Datto rocket ship is that our growth has allowed us to explore the opportunities we have to give back to our community and make a charitable contribution to the world, which is extremely important to me. I believe the values and moral responsibility we feel here at Datto exclusive of our profit margins are part of what have made us such a dedicated and close-knit team.

In closing, I believe there are lessons to be learned from my journey, from Datto and indeed all startups like us. If you foster an environment of education and compassion, you inspire employees to give you their hearts. And when your employees feel truly trusted, they thrive. That way, when your growth spikes to 300% year-over-year, you know you have a team that’s going to make it happen…a team that’s going to say, “Let’s do this.”