An Open Letter to the Leaders Who Come After Me

Byron Salty
3 min readOct 18, 2022


October 1, 2022

It’s a lazy, chilly Saturday morning. The house is still and I’m happy to have a quiet moment to reflect.

Even on this weekend morning, I participated in several work conversations about ongoing issues and strategic questions with implications on the team’s future work and direction. This constant hum is one thing that I will miss once I have finally stepped out of the building.

The author at Turner circa 2001

When I first entered this “building” it was called Turner Broadcasting and I got to it via a visitor’s parking lot that was where the giant 1015 building now stands. I got there by simply crossing the street from Georgia Tech after class and going to my interview.

I started on June 5, 2000. I remember the date because it was written on my first badge — which I sorely wish I still had a picture of.

All of my adult life’s watershed moments were experienced here.

I had my first legal beer with the team on my 21st birthday.

I witnessed 9/11 unfolding and shock as the second plane struck from the old cafeteria at Techwood.

I became a father for the first time, second time and now seventh time during my time at Turner.

I went from single to married and back again.

I have buried family members and welcomed new ones.

There have been 4 primary areas of work over the years — Content Management, E-commerce and Identity, Data and Video Analytics, and Video Playback.

I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most brilliant, kind, talented and funny people of these two decades.

I always took great pride in hiring people into our company, guiding them for a time, and then watching them go off to find their own path and success.

I am often amazed at how lucky I have been with people I have been surrounded by.

These were the constants. Great Teams. Great Culture.

Recently, I had an opportunity to have dinner with a long-time colleague and he asked me to describe my teams and what distinguished our culture. He had been a customer and a peer but never on one of my teams and was curious about what I thought were our defining team characteristics that made us Great.

People liked to work on our team.

We kept it fun. It was lighthearted at times. I’d often enter rooms with a joke. We worked hard — too hard many times — but we did so without competition and in-fighting. We always wanted to help each other. We did not accept the Zero-Sum Game and believed that all boats rise with the tide.

My leaders and I have always had an egalitarian style where we treated people as people — despite level in the organization.

I prefer to be thought of as one of team,

not as the leader of it.

In a very real sense this is the right way to think about a leader, their role should be in service to the team. Not the other way around.

The work will continue to change after I’m gone but the need for a great team will not.

My charge to you is to focus on the team and culture.

Cultivate people.

Make it fun.

Spend time talking about non-work things — about life.

Never lose sight of the fact that people spend half of their waking hours at work.

Take care of yourself.

Lead with kindness.

— Byron



Byron Salty

CTO. Interested in Leadership, Techology, and People. Focusing on AI and creating cool stuff.