- In January, Atlassian hired its first head of technical teams Noah Wasmer, who joins Atlassian from VMware.
- As the vice president of product and head of technical teams, Wasmer will head Atlassian’s software and IT products, including Jira, Bitbucket, Opsgenie, Jira Service Desk, and Statuspage.
- Business Insider spoke with Wasmer on how he got to Atlassian and what it’s like uprooting to Australia.
For years, Noah Wasmer worked in the Silicon Valley tech scene before moving to Atlanta. But now, he’s made an even bigger move: uprooting to Sydney, Australia, where he can surf at a beach one block away from his house, take the ferry to work, and serve as Atlassian‘s first head of technical teams and the vice president of product.
Since most of the Atlassian‘s engineering teams and product managers are in Sydney, as well as co-CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, that’s where Wasmer needs to be as well. Wasmer, who joined after serving as a senior vice president and general manager at VMware, has now been working at Atlassian for over two months.
“[Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar] have a real sense of curiosity and learning,” Wasmer told Business Insider. “It’s something that permeates who Atlassian is and it’s something everyone here has. It’s why we’re really honored to be here, and it’s because of that humility and passion for building great software.”
In his role, Wasmer reports directly to Farquhar and is responsible for all the software and IT products at Atlassian, including Jira, Bitbucket, Opsgenie, Jira Service Desk, and Statuspage. Atlassian has previously had product leads who reported directly to the CEOs, but Wasmer is the first person serving as the head of technical teams at the $27 billion company.
“It’s a very humbling opportunity,” Wasmer said. “There’s a lot of passionate people about Atlassian products. We want people to love our software. There’s always areas we can improve on. We want to do the very best and this is something they show in the feedback they give us.”
The journey to Atlassian
Wasmer said he was drawn to Atlassian because right now, businesses are going through a major transition of working to release code faster and more often.
“One of the things that’s important for me is helping people love their work,” Wasmer said. “Everything has transitioned to faster, simpler, easier. In our work lives, there’s this opportunity to say how do we work in a more agile fashion? Atlassian provides the tools and practices to help businesses go through this major transition.”
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Wasmer has used Atlassian for most of his career, so when a mutual colleague reached out and told him that Atlassian was considering hiring someone for this role, Wasmer was open to it and felt the opportunity was too good to pass by. He says that he wants to take what he learned from VMware about mobility and how people work and bring it to Atlassian.
“One of the opportunities I see is really to help business leaders and decision leaders look at how do they embrace these tools and help them become part of that transition,” Wasmer said.
Wasmer works directly with Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar, and he calls them “unbelievable visionaries” when it comes to company culture, despite Atlassian’s fast growth. He says he could walk down the hall at any given day and see either of the CEOs in a room working with a group or engineers.
“[Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar are] incredible ideas people,” Wasmer said. “Every time you sit down with them, they have a finger on the pulse, on how do we make sure we’re building the right products for developers.”
And it’s not just about the product vision. Wasmer recalls that he was supposed to have a meeting with Farquhar in Atlanta, but then he couldn’t make it because his wife went into labor.
“He was amazing at understanding family first. That was what really drew me to the company was walking the talk,” Wasmer said.
Moving to Australia
Although Wasmer had to relocate across the Pacific and start a new life in Australia with his with his wife and three children, so far, he says Sydney is an “unbelievable place.” He can step outside his house and surf, something that he used to do at Ocean Beach in San Francisco.
“It’s an incredible hub of talent and diverse people with diverse ideas,” Wasmer said. “For my wife and I, it was an adventure that we’re exposing our children to being international even though it’s an English-speaking country. The global economy is global in nature. We felt that was an important thing for our family.”
There were a couple things that surprised Wasmer about Australia. One is that every store he goes to has tap-to-pay for phones and credit cards. The other is that he feels Australia has a culture of responsibility to the overall community, which he feels reflects in Atlassian’s culture as well.
“At the beach, they have these little penguins that come to shore,” Wasmer said. “There’s a sign that says, if you see foxes try to eat penguins, scare the foxes away. There, you have a responsibility to protect these animals. I really like that. That’s part of the core DNA of this company, too.”
Some challenges Wasmer expects to face are helping the company live up to the expectations of its customers and making sure its products can help them in various use cases. As the new vice president of product and head of technical teams, he wants to help customers embrace modern software development.
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“It’s one of the most exciting times in technology where we can listen and learn from our customer base and create some powerful ways to reimagine what they’ve always done,” Wasmer said. “There’s a hunger for these technologies like I’ve never seen, and we want to live up to that really high bar of delivering value. We’ve got a fun task ahead.”
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