A Letter to My Team

You sent me a Word doc on Wed 18 Mar 2020. Inside the doc was a copy/paste of a very large slack conversation. Inside the conversation was the complete contents of our production incidents channel on the morning of Mon 16 Mar.

I glanced at the document, but was busy - our systems were straining and crashing because COVID-19 had erupted and US schools had closed, and teachers turned to Remind at scales we had never seen. Teachers have relied on Remind for ten years, and now they needed Remind more than ever.

On Monday 16 Mar 2020, you were all up at 0500 PT, in the dark. Services crashed, and you fixed the error, and moved on to the next crash. You partnered to tackle really tough fixes. Load kept climbing, you felt the sense of panic and fear as it continued to climb all morning. It did not abate until 1500 PT that day.

And you did it again Tuesday. And on Wednesday, when I received that Word doc. And Thursday, and Friday of that week.

You sustained this pace, for weeks. While helping your own children try to learn online. While your partners were battling on the front lines of the pandemic. While your friends and family were isolated from you. While the scourge of racism burned in our streets. While people you knew and loved became sick. While people you knew passed on, without a good bye.

And you kept Remind running for our teachers. You delivered every single message that our teachers, parents, and students sent. Even as teachers experienced delays and outages with other platforms, they did not with Remind, and they wrote in to let you know. I’ve never seen a finer example of teamwork. Thank you, team.

Now, as you were working on a 2020 retro presentation to share with the company, I paused to read this document you sent me ten months ago. I am struck by the elegant choreography of your response on that Monday morning. I am struck by your selflessness. I am struck by how you made it look effortless, when it was anything but. I am struck by your courage in the face of overwhelming odds. I am struck by your unshakeable focus and endurance.

I thank you often, but I do not thank you enough, for all you do.

Sincerely, Kevin