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Hyland - An End to An Adventure

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

This is a sad and upsetting week for many of those at Hyland. I, like many of you reading this, have been separated from Hyland Software this week. I have felt a range of emotions, but the truth is, no words can express the emotions I'm feeling nor the emotions I will feel in the coming weeks and months.

Tech Outreach

This July 7th, 2023 would have been my my 26th year anniversary, and I was very much looking forward to a number of more years helping Hyland grow and innovate. I started as something like employee number 30-something, and watched Hyland as it had grown to nearly five thousand employees over the years. During that time, I had the pleasure of serving as developer and architect over a great many products as well roles as technical executive from engineering to Chief Software Architect, Chief Technology Officer, and most recently Chief Innovation Officer.


I remember my interview very vividly. I was working at NASA Lewis Research Center (now NASA Glenn) at the time, and taking my lunch break on a Wednesday - just before July 4th weekend of 1997 - to head over to Hyland for an interview. I was interviewed by four people that day: Packy Hyland Jr. the founder, Miguel Zubizarreta the Chief Technologist, Bob Hayes, their VP of Engineering and Debbie Connelly, their head of HR.


I remember taking a very simple programming test by today's standards and turning it in only to feel that I had made a mistake and wanted so badly to take it back for one more pass. I remember Miguel interviewing me in sweat pants and a Cleveland Indians jersey and Packy Jr. wearing a tie. I distinctly remember that day because within 20 minutes, I knew that is where I wanted to be.


To be honest, my offer was low at the time, but more than I was making at NASA as a Federal Junior Fellow which was essentially a civil servant. All of my friends were making more than double me at the outset and many of them called me crazy for settling. This was summer of 1997 and my mom had just lost her battle to cancer a few months earlier. I was also looking to get out of public service with NASA after four years and get into private industry. These were all very deciding factors for me, but the biggest factor was the people and what I could glean of the culture.

Oldie But a Goodie

Small, but not exactly a startup at the time, I wanted to wear sweat pants and a t-shirt and a hat every day to work. I wanted to work with smart people in a small setting. I wanted to burn long hours, head to dinner with workers I considered friends, and then get back at it. I loved to program. I wanted to be friends with and hang out with the execs. I wanted a work hard but play hard environment where your efforts are rewarded and you can make an impact. I had found my home. I drove back to NASA following my interview and put in my resignation, making Friday of that week my last day. I started up at Hyland that very next Monday.


I remember my first week at Hyland. It was late in the afternoon on maybe my second or third day and Miguel had asked me if I was doing anything important that night. I said no, and he proceeded to tell me that we were going to refactor the whole of the software that night and that by the next morning we needed to make sure that it was compiling before the first developers rolled in the door.

Miguel and AJ Hyland

Miguel proceeded to re-engineer the software en masse into a new structure. The next step was then to fix the tens of thousands of compile errors required to get the software compiling. Once it was compiling properly, we had to fix the thousands of linker errors before managing to get a building executable. We had however pulled off that task and the software was building by the morning. It was now everyone else's turn to validate and fix any bugs that we had introduced the previous night by this massive effort. It sounds grueling, but it was the most fun I had ever had in my professional career and I learned more about the software in one night than what would have taken weeks or months. This experience confirmed that my decision to work at Hyland was correct.


I'm not telling this story to talk about myself, but I am telling it to convey that I know that many others have found that same home for many of the same reasons. They wanted to make an impact, work with smart people, in a work hard and play hard environment. They had their own version of Miguel or Packy Jr. over the years. Maybe their versions WERE Miguel or Packy Jr.

Volleyball for Lunch Anyone?

I cannot count the number of people I have hired over the last 26 years, and I have always looked to give people that same sort of experience; by interviewing them in a baseball hat, t-shirt and jeans. I have always wanted to keep my hands dirty and in the code so that I can work side by side with the smart developers and keep up with the conversations and the ongoing technology. These are all things that I learned from Packy Jr. and Miguel in my very first week.


This week is difficult for everyone. But for those that have had similar experiences at Hyland, have helped maintain that culture and helped Hyland grow over the years, this week is especially difficult. To witness and be part of this separation is difficult. Much more so for the separated, but I imagine also for those who have not been separated. Many of their friends and family members are affected.


Once the sting of this has worn off, we will all have to find our new steady state. I know that at first the emotions will be hard and raw and to let those emotions out is healthy. At some point however, we must move forward.


It is no great comfort that other tech companies are experiencing this very same thing. I do however feel that there is a difference between these other tech companies and Hyland, at least from the perspective of the separated employee.

Best Conferences Ever

Hyland has created and acquired many products across many industries. Everything from Healthcare to Government, to Financial Services, Insurance, and Higher Education, just to name a few. They have customers in all of these industries using many of the organic and acquired products; from OnBase to Perceptive Content and most recently Alfresco and Nuxeo.


Hyland also has a massive partner channel operating across all of these industries.


There are a number of recent articles that have come out documenting an interesting phenomenon. What was a bane for tech companies is turning out to be a boon for these other industries. Specifically, organizations in these other industries like the hospitals, universities, the financial institutions and the state and local governments, need tech talent. And not just any tech talent. They need tech talent that understands these industries, understands content services, even understands Hyland's products. This is also true of Hyland's partners.


This event will create a great opportunity for many of Hyland's customers and partners by offering up a very seasoned, highly skilled and intelligent, and highly professional talent pool.

Customer Conversations

If as a former Hyland employee, you are looking to leverage your many years of experience in content management, business process management and workflow. If you are looking to leverage your knowledge of Healthcare, Insurance, Higher Education, Finance, and the many other industries, now is the time to take advantage of that.


Companies need these skills, and even better, they need not just the skills but the people that believe in making a difference, working hard but also playing hard, and even better, working from home in a baseball hat and sweat pants while solving important problems.

Gotta Love the 'VID

We fortunately (or unfortunately?) have had COVID to thank for the boom in remote work. But in the end, COVID has created a silver lining. Is it possible to be an OnBase Admin for a university three states over from the comfort of your home? Is it possible to be a manager of an IT group in any of these industries that we've spent so much time in? Is it possible to capitalize on your knowledge and experience in the industry to turn what is a very upsetting situation into something very positive.


I urge you all my friends and fellow separated Hylanders to process these emotions, take self-care, and resist any urges that would burn bridges. The product, customer and partner ecosystem Hyland has created over the years along with the vast network of people relationships offer many opportunities if you choose to keep those doors open. You never know who you are going to encounter and under what circumstance. It is a small world, and one made smaller by the many relationships we have created at Hyland.

My Space Cadets

It was a great pleasure working with each and every one of you over these years. Just remember, regardless of the circumstances of the day, each and every one of you helped make this an amazing place over the years. You've all left an amazing legacy and have much more to contribute to the world.


I look forward to seeing what amazing things you all have to accomplish, and hopefully one day, our paths will cross and we will be able to accomplish some of those things together.


P.S. Anyone who wants any kind of advice, career or otherwise, I'm here to brainstorm with you. Never hesitate to reach out. You can contact me at either of my e-mails: babic.sam@gmail.com or my newly minted venture as of the last couple days, Evolution Advisers, sam.babic@evolutionadvisers.com. Peace be with you my friends.

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3 Comments


You're an excellent writer, Sam! Your story and the intent from which you share it is very clear. Very moving. Please keep or add me to your mailing list. I have a feeling you're going to do more writing and I look forward to it!


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Timothy Andrews
Timothy Andrews
Apr 20, 2023

Well said brother! This Necedah kid (IYKYK) had long hoped to have an opportunity to come out and see you and the many other Hylanders I call friends, again. I am bummed for our many friends and colleagues, but at the same time looking forward to whatever is next for them! I remember my separation from a VAR partner being painful at first but in the greater scheme of things turned out to be a blessing in disguise. So I am 💯 about keeping a positive mental perspective on it as soon as the hurt has passed.


-Timothy Andrews, aka the friendly scowling developer


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Stephanie Baker
Stephanie Baker
Apr 08, 2023

I am not an employee of Hyland, but an end user in Finance. I had the privilege to work with many at Hyland and found it an honor to collaborate with such great team. I sent many emails or phoned AJ Hyland (who always took my personal calls) to ask how him and his team created such a great workforce. I had never seen people who loved what they did and the people they worked with.

Your depiction is exactly what I remember from 27 years ago. Sad it has happened, but I believe everyone should excel in the workfoce ahead. Any company that has a vision has a great opportunity to hire the best in technology. Thank you for…

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