Why Kohsuke and Launchable are Important

Launchable announced today that Kohsuke Kawaguchi is a co-founding member along with Harpreet Singh. Why is this important? Well obviously because of two things - Kohsuke and how their company will improve DevOps with a new era of testing.

Why is Kohsuke Important?

In short, because of a proven background of creating a massively used technology, in an open and inclusive platform and community, and has done so in a humble manner.

Kohsuke created Jenkins (then Hudson) while he was a developer at Sun. He saw a chance to have software serve his need of doing continuous integration - automating the cumbersome build-test-deploy cycle. He soon realized it could be used by his colleagues and the rise of Jenkins began.

In December, 2019, there were 264,000 locations with 992,000 nodes running Jenkins, running 32,870,000 jobs. Take a look at the Jenkins statistics page to see the up and to the right trends that Kohsuke started 15 years ago.

So Kohsuke might have gotten lucky by creating a product that a lot of people use today. But if you think about it, the trick is not necessarily just thinking about a product, but creating a community where people are drawn to help each other grow. Kohsuke created the technical underpinnings in his architecture where over 1,800 other software products have created "plug-ins".

In many ways, he created much more than a solution to a problem and a technical foundation for community.  I remember meeting Kohsuke first in early 2010. What I remember most was thinking "this is a person I want to work with". And I was lucky and have been able to work with him these past 10 years at CloudBees. Kohsuke himself became the lightning rod of the Jenkins community. His intellect, open nature and humble listening skills drew people to him.

The picture on the right is from the second Jenkins conference in Santa Clara in 2013 when we handed out Jenkins bobblehead dolls (shown above). This shows Kohsuke in the image I have of him that leaps to mind whenever I think of him. He is squatting and signing the bobblehead packages.  There is a line of dozens of people waiting for his signature. As each person comes up, he asks them how they are using Jenkins and how it can be improved.

With the founding of Launchable, he is joining his original partner from Sun who helped launch Jenkins (then Hudson) to the world at large, Harpreet Singh.  Harpreet was another early member of the CloudBees, joining to help make Jenkins and our commercial offerings successful. Like Kohsuke, he is focused on solving problems with real solutions in an open manner.

I truly love both Kohsuke and Harpreet. These two incredible people are the foundation of why this announcement is important.

Why is Launchable Important?

They have picked a too-long-ignored problem.  Testing.
And they have picked an emerging technology to help bring a whole new type of solution. Machine Learning.

Ask any software developer where they spend the most time, and they will tell you testing. Ask any software developer where their least favorite time spent and they will answer the same - testing. Somehow, this has largely been ignored by the rush to DevOps.

Testing is obviously part of the typical Jenkins pipeline. Kohsuke and Harpreet have had many years of seeing the struggles of organizations trying to get software released and seen the bottlenecks at the testing phase. Launchable provides some practical solutions to that bottleneck.

In typical fashion, they have picked a problem that everyone has. A problem that software automation can solve. A problem where there is a new technology to be leveraged to help solve that problem.

You can see why so many investors, including myself, were happy to help support Kohsuke and Harpreet in this new venture. The other thing you will note, is that all of the investors know Kohsuke and Harpreet personally like I do. It is not just the track record it is knowing these two people and that they will have an impact on others with their efforts.

Hanging with Kohsuke and MoHair in Japan in 2018

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