Bonded by Love for Product
Doppler is a product built for engineers, by engineers.
As developers ourselves, we know firsthand what a pain it is managing environment variables and secrets. It’s something we’ve encountered as individual engineers working on side projects and also as devs on larger teams at larger companies. In fact, we first faced this issue when we first started Doppler, which began as a machine learning marketplace. Whether it was a silent outage due to using our staging Stripe API key in production or figuring out how to securely share our API keys with short-term contractors, we realized this was a universal problem for developers without a universal solution.
We love being able to build a product that not only solves problems we face, but also makes development easier for all engineers. In the same way that Figma abstracts away all of the complexities of Photoshop while still maintaining its power, we want to do the same with Doppler for the dev community and their secrets. We’ve found clear product market fit and are growing quickly: In 2021, we went from serving 918 companies to over 10,000, grew our company size from 3 to 15 and raised a round from Google Ventures and Sequoia. As we continue to grow, there will be plenty of opportunities to work on exciting projects such as pull requests, dynamic secrets, and secrets rotation.
Creative + Innovative
We place an extreme focus on the developer.
Most companies who’ve attempted to solve secrets management before built it for the devops and security teams. These tools tend to be overly cumbersome to use and require constant maintenance. We decided to take a different path by building Doppler for developers and placing an emphasis on the user experience. Typically the more secure you build something, the worse the experience is. Working at the intersection of developer productivity and security means you have to get creative. For example, our command line tool login flow begins with a simple command that takes you to the browser so you can authenticate like you would any other website. From a user experience perspective, the user just logged into a site while behind the scenes we created a new token for that user, scoped to their machine, and placed it securely in the keyring on their computer. This is just one example of how getting creative can lead to a better experience that is also more secure.
Another big advantage of being built by developers for developers is being able to dog food our own product! As developers, we are our own users and get immediate feedback as we build.
Customer Comes First
Our customer is always the individual developer.
We will always prioritize features that individual developers will love over what large enterprises request, even if it leads to less revenue. We are so developer-focused that one might describe it as an obsession! At the end of the day, whether someone is building for a side project or as a part of a team at a 1,000-person company, the day-to-day problems are the same: devs want to be able to put secrets in and get secrets out, and have it be simple and enjoyable to use.
There are several ways we solicit feedback from our customers and triage it into our roadmap, including an intercom chat, a public community forum, and shared Slack channels. We also have a company-wide product ideation meeting, where anyone on the team can voice ideas they have and thoughts about what we should prioritize for each quarter.
An example of this is when we prioritized building out custom environments ahead of a long roadmap of enterprise features. We heard time and time again that developers wanted to be able to create custom environments outside of the standard “development”, “staging”, and “production” environments, such as CI/CD or QA. We knew how much flexibility it would bring our users so we built it! We strive to always put developers first!
EQ > IQ
It’s incredibly important that everyone we work with feels comfortable saying, “I don’t know.”
We care deeply about our team and who we work with. So much so that we dedicate nearly 85% of our interview to culture. Our first two phone screens involve zero coding and focus purely on how you approach problem solving interpersonally. We want to work with folks who will care more about the company reaching the right answer than their ego. We invest in high-EQ individuals who will develop into great leaders.
Clear and transparent communication is important to us beyond our company internal presence. Customers also want transparency. People who value and covet IQ tend to be less open to sharing the mistakes they make, and we’re the opposite. If we have an outage, we are transparent on how and why it happened.
Dopplerites strongly prefer a team of diverse backgrounds. By having people from different walks of life, we will be more well-rounded, thoughtful, and empathic as a company. Alongside gender balance, we want to work with people who have something unique to share with us. Some of the best people we have worked with in past companies started their careers in unexpected ways with unique twists and turns. Those experiences helped shape who they are and thus what the company became. Join us in shaping Doppler!
Engineers are responsible for breaking down complex ideas into achievable tasks and then rigorously executing.
We are currently a small 15-person company, which means everyone has a tremendous amount of ownership. As we grow, we want our team to continue weighing in at every stage, from ideation to design. We get feedback from customers often and if we hear the same thing from multiple users in a short period of time, someone typically takes it on and runs with it. For example, Rebecca is leading the charge on our product redesign and Ruud built out our integrations engine, which is one of our largest growth drivers. Ownership – and a high degree of trust that comes with it – will always be a core part of Doppler’s culture.
High Employee Retention
We hire artists, not assassins.
High employee retention is more about value alignment than anything else. Our goal from day one is to work with people who share our values and understand why we’re building what we’re building on a deeply personal level. We sometimes joke that we’re a home for the crazies, where creative and passionate people thrive!
We are all artists in our own way, driven by our love of the product, team, and mission. Our first hire, Tom, has a deep seeded passion for security and privacy. (He reads privacy policies the way most people watch Netflix, no joke.) For Tom, it is not a task, but a way of life, and we appreciate how he brings that passion to our team. Yasmine recently joined the marketing team with an exciting focus on ramping up developer adoption among our fast growing user base. Ruud joined us from Instagram, where he led their API backend infrastructure. Their interests and enthusiasm is contagious. As a last example, Ryan owns developer advocacy at Doppler. His love for building communities helps us stay connected to and inspired by our users.
While passion remains our main driver, we also have some pretty great benefits. In addition to paid family leave (for all new parents regardless of gender), we also support people who might need help growing their families with fertility treatment benefits. We conduct regular compensation reviews in order to make sure everyone is paid competitively and equally and also a dedicated wealth advisor. As part of onboarding, new hires can take advantage of an hour-long session to understand their equity compensation package, how they can best plan their actions, and more.
High Quality Code Base
We turn OR operations into AND operations.
First and foremost, having a high quality code base enables us to write new code faster. We utilize controllers in our codebase, which allow us to do operations in Doppler, and each controller has baked in permissioning, security, analytics, bug reporting, and other features so we are secure by default.
While there are many advantages to having quality code, it also isn’t a choice for us. We store incredibly sensitive data for customers, so having high quality code is really a necessity for our business. We’ve gone through multiple penetration tests, conduct rigorous code reviews, ensure all core flows have end to end tests, and use a dedicated staging environment for QA.
Perhaps this is somewhat unique to Doppler, but we don’t have to compromise between speed and quality. We’re a productivity tool that makes you more secure, and generally speaking, if you’re more secure, you’re more productive. By prioritizing reusability, we’re able to turn OR operations into AND operations.
We’re creating a whole new layer (secrets), which opens up endless opportunities.
If you think about GitHub owning the code layer or AWS owning the infrastructure layer, we’re creating an entirely new layer by centralizing all your secrets in one place. Our long-term vision is to own the space between our customers’ code and infrastructure, and we make sure every feature we build today has that perspective in mind.
To give you a sense of what the current landscape looks like, we’ve noticed three big trends that have created a real need for Doppler:
- Growing list of deployments. There are more places where people deploy code than ever before. This is in part due to the adoption of microservices and dedicated hosting environments per use case (ex: Vercel for frontend, Lambda for background jobs, etc).
- Adoption of 3rd-party services. Before you’d build your payments stack in-house, but now you use Stripe. Same goes for SendGrid and Twilio. The more services used, the more secrets there are to store and manage.
- Microservices. Companies and projects are using microservice architectures more than they ever did before. This leads to more groups of secrets that need to be managed. Your billing service likely won’t use the same variables as your React frontend app.
These three trends are creating a whole slew of new problems for developers. What GitHub did for code, we are doing for secrets. One central place to manage all your secrets across projects and deployment locations. In fact, in 2021 we went from 30,000 secrets under management to over 360,000!
If any of the above interests you, we’d love to tell you more and encourage you to reach out!