Changing jobs and a new career path
July 7th was my last day with the Gauntlet team as Chief Architect at Borland and July 17th is my first day as VP of Technology Strategy at Yahoo.
Changing jobs is almost always an ambiguous time for me, this time it is even more so. On the one hand I’m leaving some great software that I helped create along with Dave Brown, Jolly Chen, and Adam Messinger that I believe will be a category defining product at the penultimate moment of its release. I’m also emotionally tied to both the Gauntlet product and the team that was built up around it at Borland — hopefully I can continue to be a contributor through usage and feedback. Maybe they will even open source it one day. On the other hand I am embarking on an amazing opportunity to work with the top people at Yahoo to define their forward looking technology strategy and do tactical technology analysis and due diligence. This will only be the second time in my career where I won’t be coding for long stretches at a time. You can expect me to become more involved in OSS projects now since that may be my primary programming outlet — unless they rope me into something :)
One of the best interview questions that I got at Yahoo was from Jerry Yang. He had heard from the other people I had talked to at Yahoo that I was probably right for the job and he trusts their opinion so he turned the tables on me a bit and asked “Is this job right for you?”. At the time I struggled to explain in detail why I felt that I would enjoy this job more than anything I had ever done, but later that week I figured out what my gut was telling me. Not too long ago I was an EIR at Accel Venture Partners. Working there for Peter Fenton was probably the best decision I have ever made and most certainly one of the best opportunities ever offered to me. The day in and day out breadth that that job offered was a spectacular experience and basically really fun while at the same time educational. In the end though, its not a permanent position because of the nature of that business. The idea is to round yourself out, get a great view of the market, and then either start your own company or join one of the portfolio companies in 6–12 months. So thats what I did. I started at Accel in Oct’04, started Gauntlet in May’05, and then sold Gauntlet to Borland in Jan’06, possibly the most concentrated fun I’ve ever had. The thing about it is though, is that at heart I’m a starter. Keeping focused on a single product day after day is a struggle for me as I am continuously searching for the next big thing, the next interesting bit of technology, the next direction that people are going to head. My new job at Yahoo gives me all the advantages and breadth of working as an EIR at a venture firm but with real long term follow through and permanency.
Hopefully it will also get me invited to all the cool parties and beta programs :)