credit: Neil McIntyre

In early 2021, the team at Red Squirrel went through a process* that defined our company vision. We defined our purpose, our core values, and eventually, our first mission, a.k.a. our Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. I’ll briefly share the output of this process for the curious, but I’m primarily writing this post to share some surprising events I’ve noticed in the months since then. Feel free to skip down past the next few sections unless you’re interested in what we came up with.

Our Purpose

Red Squirrel exists to unleash latent human potential.

Our Values

Ever since I experienced my first significant identity crisis, I’ve been intrigued by how we construct this thing each of us calls “myself”. I’m going to use this post as a way of exploring identity in general, and American identity in specific.

Note: I started writing this in December 2020 and finished it in January 2021. It was difficult to keep my writing current and coherent as the USA experienced a violent and deadly attack on our Capitol, followed by the second impeachment of President Trump. I tried to navigate these events and this topic at the same time, but…

One the most powerful ideas that we used at Dev Bootcamp was the “three zones.” These zones were so fundamental to our immersive learning program that we introduced them to our students during their first day. I will provide an overview of the zones, and then dig deeper into the nuances and dynamics that exist between and within them.


We are all familiar with our comfort zone. It’s not just a comfortable place where we eat yummy food, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, watching our favorite show. It’s also a place where we are doing things we are already very…

Photo by Giuseppe Milo

Reading books, listening to podcasts, meditating for hours, and living for 46 years has brought me to clearer thoughts about an explicit approach to living. One of the catalysts of this clarity has been getting some distance between me and my religious upbringing.

I identified as an evangelical Christian for most of my life. I gradually began questioning my faith when I was around 30, but it wasn’t until the last few years that I fully embraced spirituality without religion.

The organizing scriptures and principles of religion can be helpful in guiding us through life. They provide a structured way…

I recently read the autobiographical Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. It’s a concise account of his early life as a slave in Maryland, and his eventual escape to freedom. There was one passage that absolutely blew my mind, and so I transcribed the whole thing here so I can easily come back and read it more easily. It’s the story of how Frederick Douglass learned to read, and how the fervent argument of his master against his learning to read inspired him to press even harder towards literacy. …

Red Squirrel was initially, relatively spared from the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Though we did have to cancel a trip to Northern Italy.) We were already 100% remote, working in a distributed mode, spread out from Chicago to Lagos. Our clients were adapting and some were even thriving as society was undergoing rapid change. This benefitted us, until that good fortune dried up. In June we finally started feeling the affects of the economic slowdown. We had some clients ramp down, but new clients did not immediately appear.

Thankfully we have a financial cushion that will keep us afloat…

In late 2018, I asked, Why would a consulting company prevent its clients from hiring its consultants? I used this question to highlight something unique about Red Squirrel Technologies. We will never stand in the way of our employees or contractors leaving Red Squirrel and working directly with our clients. We are inspired by the potential in each and every human. We desire that each human have as few roadblocks along their life’s journey as possible. We want our clients to be incredibly successful, and we want the same for our employees and contractors. …


The Red Squirrel team recently competed for a long-term partnership with an existing client of ours. Part of that process provided me with an opportunity to put some concepts into writing that had previously only existed implicitly in our work and culture. I’m taking the opportunity to share publicly what I wrote down.


Red Squirrel Technologies, LLC was founded in 2015 by Dave Hoover, a Chicago-based software engineer, author, investor, entrepreneur, and consultant. In many ways, Red Squirrel is a reboot of Obtiva, a respected software consultancy that Dave helped grow between 2006–2011 until it was acquired by Groupon. Since…

My entire career in technology has been spent in the Chicago tech market. Because of this, my sense of “normal compensation” is based on what one can expect software engineers to be paid in Chicagoland. Having helped grow businesses that had offices in San Fransisco and New York City, I’m also familiar with the fact that these areas have higher expectations for compensation. Up until recently, I simply accepted that as normal, I didn’t think much of it. Paying more for the same talent in SF and NYC was just the way it was.

Two years ago, I was privileged…

The cover art for Apprenticeship Patterns

As we approached the end of the writing process for our book, Apprenticeship Patterns, my co-author and I were given many different choices for our cover art. We must have reviewed dozens, maybe hundreds, of ideas before I finally found the above photo of a winding path on a hill. The moment I saw it, I knew it was the right fit. To me, it represented the winding path of a person’s career, and even more importantly, their life. Our paths climb and descend, they curve around blind corners, and sometimes there are roadblocks. I love our cover because it…

Dave Hoover

Founder / CEO at Red Squirrel Technologies

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