Jeremy Hitchcock’s story is a bit unusual because he co-founded Dyn while he was a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). As a result, he is passionate about exposing other young people to STEAM education and to opportunities for entrepreneurship.
“Growing up I was exposed to tech, computers, and a bunch of other things that grabbed my attention,” Jeremy explained. “My first computer was an Atari ST, my grandfather had a Commodore 64, and I got to experience coding on different platforms.” He even recalled a “failed attempt to use a Z80 to run the thermostat at home” as one of his first innovations.
Jeremy never had to bridge the gap between working for a company and working for himself. However, starting the new venture was a lonely job that presented him with multiple options. For him, spending time in the business community was a great way to learn. He appreciated the opportunity to share about triumphs and challenges. “Just make sure that you connect with people from different sectors and backgrounds,” Jeremy expounded, “because that will help you learn and will help your thinking evolve.”
At WPI, Jeremy worked on an open-source, remote-access project — a huge undertaking that would later become Dyn. He and his colleagues were faced with the sheer amount of effort involved. “At the time we had 25,000 users, so we decided to challenge them to each donate $1 to keep it going,” he said.
As college students, they thought that $25,000 was a huge sum of money and that could enable them to continue the project. Over the next few weeks, the donations kept coming in. “We ended up with $40,000 and realized that we were on the hook!” Jeremy described. “We created something that people wanted. It was very exciting.”
Jeremy knows that people are what make companies succeed or fail in the end. He considers himself fortunate to have hired many talented people at Dyn over the years. He believes that “the most important job of a CEO is to hire and retain the best talent.” This constant is important in the midst of other variables that are at stake when starting a company.
“In order to succeed, you need to have that long-term view and keep working towards it,” Jeremy stated. He understands that it takes a long time and a lot of dedication to build a long-term franchise, even as the market changes, the competition changes, and the unique capabilities of the company change.
Part of that viewpoint is making Dyn a global company from its home in New Hampshire. Jeremy has no doubts about keeping his business in the state:
We’re in the metro-Boston area. We have a well-educated workforce, the best universities in the world in the Northeast, great schools for the children of our employees, a great business climate, and a great way of life for our team. New Hampshire is a special place to stay, work and play — especially for a company that wants to start and scale.
Words of Wisdom
In order to stay fresh and continue to innovate, Jeremy and the rest of the Dyn team assess the needs of their customers and build relationships with them. If they are unable to answer their customers’ questions, they know that they must invest more time.
Jeremy learned early on that companies go out of business when they run out of money. That first recommendation to maintain cash flow came from the lead director of Dyn’s Board of Directors, John Lynch, and seemed remarkably simple. Yet it is a constant reminder that “the fundamentals of business need to be front and center” at Dyn.
For the advice that he would give others, Jeremy shared how crucial it is to let go. “It is the easiest advice to say, but the hardest to follow,” he admitted. “As CEOs and founders, we like being in the trenches and getting our hands dirty. But as you grow and succeed, you need to trust the team you’ve built around you.”
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