Elasticsearch is powerful because it’s distributed, gaining speed and stability from each additional node. Distributed software doesn’t need to be developed by distributed teams, but honestly, why wouldn’t we want to emulate the strengths of the products we build?
Elastic was born a distributed company, with founders in Israel, Germany, and The Netherlands. Knowing the strengths that come from distribution and diversity, our first hire wasn’t an engineer — it was a CFO that could help us establish corporate entities around the globe. Once we were able to navigate tax and labor laws around the world, our pool of potential employees grew considerably.
From our experience in open source projects, we knew that great code and amazing ideas can come from anyone, anywhere. So we had to make sure we had access to anyone, anywhere.
Distribution isn’t about removing latency or offering 24-hour support coverage. Either of those things can be achieved by overworking an office full of locals or hiring a handful of “remote” workers. Being a distributed company is about harnessing the inherent strengths of diversity. Different people approach problems differently. We need that.
Our minds are shaped every day by our culture — our families, our upbringing, our languages, our traditions, our interactions, our homes, our education. For Elastic to be successful, we need minds of every shape imaginable. Why? Because forming a consensus between similar minds is easy, but it’s also prone to bias and false conclusions. Forming a consensus between a wide variety of minds? Not nearly as easy, but when its reached, that’s a solution that will stand the test of time.
Distributed systems are only powerful if they’re resilient. The same is true for our company. We are constantly improving the Elastic Stack to handle the challenges of distribution, just as we are improving how we support our employees no matter where they are. We don’t just want to enable, we want to empower.
Organizational resiliency also requires recognizing that it’s not the tools that make distribution work, it’s the people. Successful collaboration takes more than video calls and shared calendars. It takes warm welcomings to let new hires know all cultures are accepted. It takes flexible scheduling to help people work around time zone differences. It means always assuming the best intention of our peers.
We hire intentionally. We hire thoughtfully. Smart. Curious. Nice. Respectful. These are qualities we look for in every Elastician. We strive endlessly to hire folks that fit at Elastic just as much as Elastic fits them. We want every new employee to make Elastic even better. And we hope Elastic can return the favor.
Our goal isn’t to build a company of people that simply work well together; our goal is to build a company that creates well together, imagines well together, laughs well together, dances well together (ok, that last one is a stretch goal, but we’re working on it). We want to build a culture of camaraderie so that no matter where someone’s located, they feel connected.
Elastic the company is just once piece of the Elastic community. Direct contact between our internal team and Elastic users (customers and tinkerers) is fundamental to our success. It’s this culture of communication that enables us to maintain our commitment to open source. We need you. We need your input. Without you, we can’t be us.
Since we can be everywhere, we can understand users from anywhere. This means we can genuinely deliver on our promise to be wherever you are — we aren’t held back by language barriers or cultural divides. Distributed isn’t always easy, and it isn’t for everyone, but we believe it's the foundation of our success.