So the official word is out, and I can say that as of the first of July, I will no longer be at Forum One.
I’ve been there an eternity in the tech world: ten years and nine months. I arrived there from a startup, in which in four short months I went from a web developer to managing the team. At Forum One, the same ascent took me five years. Along the way I worked on a hundred or so different websites, went through two recessions, three US Presidents, and innumerable Yuenglings.
I hired everybody on the current software team and became interested in career development: how to find good people, what makes a good developer, how to make a junior developer into a senior developer, and how to assess progress.
I also worked on a product and found it increasingly rewarding compared to the chop and change of consulting work. I’d always had an interest in the entire software development process, from strategy through information architecture, design, and deployment. I also got to pick up a lot of business considerations, both for the company and for our clients (though they cringe at calling anything they do “business”).
Seeing different organizations and how they work is interesting, but the similarities begin to feel like routine and the nonprofit world is a conservative place for all their lefty leanings. There’s more scope to do your best work and employ best practices, without having a client force something substandard for political reasons.
So I wanted a change from project work, and moving to a different consultancy just wouldn’t give me enough of a change. So when a former colleague approached me about an idea for a startup, I was severely tempted. I was also cautious, as I am no longer as footloose and fancy free as I was a decade and change ago; 60 hour work weeks aren’t really my idea of fun. I’ve learned a lot about how I want a company to run, and getting that right was very important.
But the idea was compelling, our ideas of how a company should run were compatible, and I was able to shape both. So on July first I’m going to be working full time on a startup I’m cofounding, and we’ll see if my vision for shaping products and running a company works in practice.
While I don’t want to say too much about the new startup, I can say that it uses the experience I’ve gained in seeking, hiring, managing, and promoting developers and other technical types to address something that’s completely lacking right now.
The company will be called MojoLive, and we’ll be providing a revolutionary—and I’m not using that word lightly—approach to career management. It’s a really exciting opportunity, and it gives me a new role and a new title: Chief Product Officer. I’m going to be using the skills I’ve picked up outside pure development to ensure the product has a constant vision, taking into account competitiveness, marketing, design, and of course development. And of course at first I’m going to be helping develop this application. I hope to have some exciting news about that soon.
I’ll still be heavily involved in the open source community, and in fact I’ll be broadening my involvement beyond networking and recruiting, and beyond PHP. I’ll even get involved in proprietary communities, as our product will be useful for anyone involved in technology as a career.
So to my Forum One friends, I say thanks for all the opportunities and experiences. Stay in touch; I’m working from home, just down the street. For everybody else, I’ll be seeing you and saying more as time goes on. I’ll even blog more, as I’m no longer working on this in my spare time after hours.
Those of you who know me know I don’t often gush or get excited easily. This is something I’m genuinely excited about and can’t wait ’till we have something to show you. In the meantime, I’ll be helping transition my role to the really capable team I’m leaving at Forum One.
Watch this space; I think this is going to be a lot of fun.