Our mission is to software-enable leaders and managers.
I have always relied on tools. It started with remodeling houses with my dad, and was cemented by becoming a sysadmin after college. I got so into those tools that I even built one, becoming a developer in the process. There, again, the work is steeped in tools.
As the company grew, my work shifted from writing code to managing people. I sought the same kind of rich toolchain offered by previous roles. I asked everyone for help. Used and abused countless tools in unintended ways. It was no use. There was nothing out there to help build and run a large, complex organization.
This was an acute source of inefficiency and frustration. The poor fit between the tools and the work was exhausting. The job just wasn’t as much fun.
This is a mistake.
Leadership should be rewarding. Fun. Leaders can and should get better at their jobs, all the time. There should be software to help them.
At Clickety, we’re building that software.
As the CEO of Puppet, I discovered the operational work of running the business involved a great mix of detail and coordination. We are beginning to see OKR tools, but nothing similar existed at the time. We tried Trello, spreadsheets, custom tools, and more. It was a hack, and always felt like one.
Managing a 500-person team is even harder. It takes a wide combination of skills and work, all while trying to keep every individual happy. The various tools were even less useful here. Like most other leaders I talk to, we eventually settled for just not being great at this.
That search for help still comes up empty. I can’t find one tool that leaders and managers rely on for their work, one that they recommend wholeheartedly to others.
I have seen this gap before: No product widely used or recommended. It is exactly what pushed me to start Puppet. Seeing it again gave me enough conviction to start working to fix it here.
Clickety’s mission is to software-enable leaders and managers.
We believe leadership is hard. You have to lead while creating space for people to succeed. You need to know enough of what’s going on to prevent fires, but don’t micromanage or break lines of communication. Work through people, not around them. You’re in meetings all day, but you must still be productive. Everyone, from first-time managers to three-time CEOs, could use help doing better.
We’ve built specialized tools to help developers, sysadmins, marketers, accountants, help desk agents, and salespeople. Why not their bosses?
The work of leadership is not well understood by the tech industry. We treat managers like they’re the cumulative result of their team’s work. Like they don’t contribute with work and expertise.
I’ve struggled with this problem when interviewing prospective users. Founders know to ask their teams what success looks like. When asked the same question, founders will talk about team success, not their own.
This is good! But improving your work starts with understanding it. You must separate your team’s accomplishments from your role in delivering them.
What is that role?
Suddenly we have no easy answers. The lack of great leadership tools becomes easier to understand.
Instead, we get reporting. “Track your team!” No thanks.
Surveillance is not leadership.
It’s not even management. A report might comfort you that your team is working, but it doesn’t help them succeed.
This is a classic market failure.
Financial markets — including the one that produces software companies — are very good at some things, but worthless at others. Once you prove something can work, you’ll get 1000 competitors. But trying something for the first time is met with deep skepticism.
It took a sysadmin like me to get people building tools for admins by admins. It’ll take a tool-junkie leader to start building tools for the real work of leadership.
Creating a category like this is hard. You have to invent new words, or repurpose existing ones. Learning to talk about the work can be as hard as doing it.
But it’s also one of the few ways to create real change. We’re not innovating at the edges. We want you to rethink your work, your day, your job as a leader.
We want you to be better.