LifestyleNew Year, New CEO

New Year, New CEO

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It’s a new year, and I’ve decided it’s a good time to replace myself as the CEO of Signal.

I have now been working on Signal for almost a decade. It has always been my goal for Signal to grow and sustain beyond my involvement, but four years ago that would still not have been possible. I was writing all the Android code, was writing all of the server code, was the only person on call for the service, was facilitating all product development, and was managing everyone. I couldn’t ever leave cell service, had to take my laptop with me everywhere in case of emergencies, and occasionally found myself sitting alone on the sidewalk in the rain late at night trying to diagnose a service degradation.

I’ve spent the past four years endeavouring to change that, and today the picture is radically different. Signal is now an amazing group of 30 people: a mix of wonderful engineers, super talented designers, gifted and unflappable support staff, and a very accomplished and committed leadership team. I rarely write code anymore, and if I do it’s in a minor role. I am not tempting fate by leaving cell service, no single person is ever perpetually on call, and hopefully nobody at Signal will ever find themselves sitting on the sidewalk with their laptop in the rain again (unless that happens to be your preferred remote work setup). We have a great leadership team that is facilitating product development, managing the organization, and pushing the technology forward. Most importantly, the values and the mission that Signal was built on are embedded in the whole of the organization, and everyone involved is here to honor them and see them through.

Simultaneously, Signal has grown in adoption and popularity around the world even faster than I imagined. People increasingly find value and peace of mind in Signal (technology built for them instead of for their data), and are increasingly willing to sustain it. Every day, I’m struck by how boundless Signal’s potential looks, and I want to bring in someone with fresh energy and commitment to make the most of that.

In other words, after a decade or more, it’s difficult to overstate how important Signal is to me, but I now feel very comfortable replacing myself as CEO based on the team we have, and also believe that it is an important step for expanding on Signal’s success. I’ve been talking with candidates over the last few months, but want to open up the search with this announcement in order to help find the best person for the next decade of Signal. Please get in touch if that might be you!

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I will continue to remain on the Signal board, committed to helping manifest Signal’s mission from that role, and I will be transitioning out as CEO over the next month in order to focus on the candidate search. Brian Acton, who is also on the Signal Foundation board, has volunteered to serve as interim CEO during the search period. I have every confidence in his commitment to the mission and ability to facilitate the team for this time.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has helped make Signal what it is, has been supportive of what we’re building, and has been there along the way. We already have so much exciting work that’s coming soon in the pipeline right now, and I’m optimistic about all the potential for Signal over the next decade.

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2 Comments

  1. This post, and how it explains that there's 30 people working there now, made me realize that if I care about signal continuing (and I do, since I really like it, especially that it has a dedicated desktop client), that I should see how it makes money and whether that's sustainable. Turns out it's donations, and now I'm a donor through monthly charges through the mobile app. I actually opted for that specifically because their web site noted that they can't give you a badge in the app if you donate online, and I thought showing the badge would be a good way for other people to see and inquire about, and hopefully realize they can donate too if they care to.

  2. I just hope that moxie's replacement is someone with as strong a reputation for fighting for the principles at stake and the ability to defend them. How many people could have written the Cellebrite blog post? Probably not many. The hidden pressures on Signal staff must be enormous, as likely the the world's single most valuable surveillance target.

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