A Public Public Company

Sep 23, 2021

That's not a typo. GitLab filed for IPO last week. GitLab is a special company because of just how public it already is – the company publishes nearly every internal process and structure in its Handbook. Talk about radical transparency.

A more shocking fact is that GitLab has always been a completely remote company. When the pandemic hit, organizations looked to GitLab on how to manage remote employees. GitLab has no headquarters and only gets the entire company together once or twice a year (although GitLab isn't a first here – technically, neither did Coinbase when it went public).

I won't speculate, but it's a great milestone for the team. I've learned a great deal from GitLab. In my first job, I took it upon myself to be the person to deploy and maintain our GitLab instance. It was a wild night of carefully migrating the entire company's codebase over to a new instance with little downtime.

In school, I learned even more from GitLab, mostly by reading through every page of the Handbook I could find. It was great for projects – I was able to crunch numbers from a real SaaS business and understand how different departments like sales and marketing operated at scale. If you're curious, see my Product-Led Sales Efficiency at GitLab (I might write more analysis of GitLab in the future).

I wonder if GitLab will be able to continue the transparency that's so critical to their company when they become public. The public markets haven't really seen something like this, and managing expectations is already tough when you have to share quarterly numbers, not to mention when the whole world can see how the sausage is made in the meantime.

Edit: GitLab's success is another data point for Getting to Market with Rails.