Nov 202015


As I sit in the corner of this Starbucks, I am doing something that I haven’t had the chance to sit down and do for a while.  I’m taking a minute to reflect.  A moment to sit still, drink a venti white chocolate mocha and contemplate where I have been over the past year and a moment still to ponder the future.  You see, after a year-and-a-half of work on the coolest project of my life, the core development team was cut loose yesterday – and that’s okay.  It’s okay because projects come and go.  It’s okay because the skills I picked up are mine now – forever.  It’s okay because the team I worked with is still cohesive and is actively working to help each other move on to new opportunities.  I’ve made friends.  I’ve made money.  It’s all good.

Flash back to July 2014… In a moderately trendy office in a renovated old factory, I sat with the CTO with the sound of ping pong clacking in the background.  I expressed my concerns about the viability and stability of a startup, but I was sold, not on the company, but the idea of the job when he promised that in coming there, I would be miles ahead in technology and would be moved from the middle to the forefront of the technological curve.  He was right.

It is insane what our team accomplished since July 2014.  We wrote, tore down, refactored, debated, and rebuilt.  We turned up servers, ran up an impressive Azure bill, and moved the ball down the field.  We changed storage no less than three times.  We tore out the unscalable and made it gorgeously asynchronous and modularly distributable.  Aided largely by a genius-level CTO, the team moved to a lean, functional-code writing set of ninjas in a time-frame that would both impress and amaze insiders and (I am completely confident) would stand up to any Silicon Valley team anywhere, any day.

And the team!  What a great set of people.  Sitting literally feet away from your nearest colleague in open-format seating for days on end has a way of coalescing a team.  With few exceptions (the exceptions were exiled), this group of once disparate developers came together to build something pretty amazing.  I have never been in such a collaborative environment and I attribute the successes that we had to the selfless personalities that were around those tables.  Even now that we aren’t directly influencing the technology, our collective spirit is still moving as we are coordinating our efforts to help one another turn the page to the next adventure.

And that next adventure.  What will it be?  I’m not sure yet – and that’s okay.  It’s okay because I personally have grown in ways that I didn’t know were possible.  It’s okay because I am part of a team that is still collaborating to solve the next problem, finding our next gig.  It’s a positive future and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

In continuing with the theme of this week, it looks like Starbucks is the next company in my life that wants their chair back, so I’ll be moving on now. So, to the past, the good, the not-so-good, the fun, the learning, the toil, and the now legendary Christmas refactor of 2014, I say so long, and thanks for all the fish.

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