I'm not one who makes large life changes lightly. I'm fiercely loyal - some would say to a fault - and what I do at my job defines me. The highs of the job are my mental highs, the lows the same.
My coworkers are my friends, the thing we're doing is something I love and believe in (I'm one of those people who must be passionate about their job), the founders and management are friends, mentors and more. I count everyone who I have had the honor to work with at Nasuni, friends and much more.
Four years to some people is a long time - when we see news about startups you see them coming and going in the blink of an eye, you see people jumping from one to the next - the speed you see and hear about these things is astounding.
Nasuni is, and has been different for me, for all of us. It was founded by two amazing friends and mentors. From the start it was never meant for the quick flip, or a revolving door or pivot after pivot.
Nasuni, the team, the product and the four years I have spent there have been special. More than that, it's taught me more in four years then I could have ever expected. I've got to do UI design, work with amazing developers, and so much more.
I truly believe in the company, the team, the product, and the founders. I was honored to be employee number six, coming on early enough to watch Nasuni grow from a team in a room with just an idea and a whiteboard to a truly best of breed product and team.
What the team, the founders and the company believes in and stands for is- security, loving customers, advocating and supporting them (the customer)as well as allowing team members to try new things and grow - is more than valuable. It's hard to find this type of environment in many startups, the leadership within the company stemming from the founders, has set that foundation and I will miss it.
Where else would I have been able to be a public voice as Nasuni allowed me, and branch out in so many areas and ways?
Wearing two hats
Before I started with Nasuni four years ago I had already begun getting deeper and deeper into the Python community. From being a core contributor, to being a PSF board member, to running PyCon as chair for two years, to many other community efforts, my work within the community has grown. I have grown to love and appreciate the Python community even more, and I can truly say, I have felt the love of so many in return.
Obviously being a principal engineer at a startup is a full time job, but my work within the community due has grown to be a full time job as well.
Nasuni has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my work within the community - even when that work grew to sometimes eclipse my work on the team and product. As time has gone on though - these two lives have grown somewhat apart and the split becoming more and more apparent.
Combine this with - well - being a dad (or at least trying) and a husband and you reach a point where keeping the lines clear becomes impossible, where you can no longer compartmentalize time and mental energy you need to serve all of the things without sacrificing time and energy and harming one or all of them simultaneously.
This trifurcation of myself, my time, and my energy has simply grown and grown. And given the love, dedication, energy and time I want to provide to all of them has led to an increasing series of failings - that I have felt more acutely than anyone. Instead of a delicate balancing act; it has become a series of time/energy thefts. This means everything begins to suffer as I pick which thing to swap in and out of for any given time slice.
I've managed, with some success, to balance it all - taking phone calls for Python work on lunch breaks or during my commute, working while I'm giving my daughters a bath, replying to emails at 5am, etc. But the balance of course is incredibly difficult and puts strain everywhere.
Who am I?
As the years have gone on - I just turned 33 in March - and my girls are quickly growing up. It has become more and more apparent that I can achieve more, that my work as a developer and within the communitiies I am involved in could be brought together. That if could meld the open source/community work with my "day job" I could do a lot more. I could be more - I could tap into skills I've grown and developed in all of my "lives" and do even more.
If I could bring together the worlds I operate in I could potentially do even more within the Python community, the Open Source world, at my "day job", etc. But things like that don't exist, roles like that are fleeting and rare.
But that's who I want to be; that's what I want to be when I grow up. I want to bring all of these worlds together, I could do great things - from writing, to marketing, to community outreach, driving open source / community initiatives, developing new products and ideas.
Then it comes along
Suddenly, a good friend and mentor approaches me. He too suffered the same split(s) I suffered. But he took a jump and risk to assume a new role, at a new company to bring those things together. He proved the model at a company who gave him the power to do so.
I was amazed, and impressed. So we started talking - for months we went back and forth and I continually demurred pointing out my loyalty, years of investment in Nasuni and its team. I kept saying no - not right now, give me more time, it's too good to be true.
During/after PyCon 2013 it became even more apparent he was telling the truth. Still I held back. Some conversations happened, and I described what I've written above to those I talked to.
Then the shoe dropped: the person I want to be when I grow up is what they needed and wanted. From the highest levels within the company to the developers, to my friend, each and every one of them said "this is what we want, you are someone we want".
Still, I pushed back until it really sank in - this could be that "once in a lifetime" opportunity to chase things I've dreamed of, to heal the split at a company who would support the same ideals and ideas I have. It could also be a "reboot" for my family - an opportunity to spend more time being a dad and a husband, in a place we had long considered moving to.
Looking at it, looking at my family and the troubles and trials we've gone through the last few years, where Nasuni is (a mature, battle tested product and team) and knowing that people believed in my dream, believed I could do so much more in so many areas, and knowing that this offer was sitting there, I knew internally that it was time.
A thus, it is with equal helpings of sadness, excitement and trepidation, I say goodbye to my extended family at Nasuni. The product and the team are in a fantastic place, and the company is seeing explosive growth. The knowledge rattling around in my head is distributed amongst the team the founders have put together, and the future of the company is bright regardless if I am there or not.
My oldest daughter is graduating Kindergarten - our lease is up in a month. The stars somehow aligned to show me a new path, a new opportunity.
I'm sad: I love the product, I love the team. If the founders asked me to run into a burning building I'd slap on a helmet and do it. The product works, and works damn well. The company is growing rapidly, and there's a lot more that I could do there. I'm passionate about the team, the product, and the goals. I always will be.
But I'm equally passionate about the Python community, open source, outreach, education - still stuck in my mind is the image of a room full of children glowing with excitement as they learned Python for the first time. I'm fiercely dedicated to "my other job" as much as I am to anything.
This new role (which will be described in a different post) will allow me to serve my passions - both current and future. It will let me bring together the worlds I live in in a unique, challenging way.
I believe in Nasuni. I believe in its team, the product and the future - I love the company and team as if it was a family member and dear friend. When I turned in my notice I looked a friend and mentor in the eyes and I hesitated, as I said, I don't change things like this lightly.
But even he, someone who I have worked with for well over four years understood the rift, and saw the opportunity. I asked his advice, we talked for awhile about who I have become and what the road ahead held for me. As we talked, it became apparent that both of us agreed that the opportunity offered to me was one of those "once in a lifetime" deals. That it would let me go after all of the things I have grown to love - that the time was right, and to take the risk and jump.
I'm going to miss the team: I've learned more there from the team in four years working on the product with them every day than in any other role I've ever been in. I'm going to miss the comradery we have had, and the vision we all strived for.
So, obviously, I've accepted the new role. It will be with friends I've worked with in the open source/Python world and more at Rackspace. As of this Friday, April 12th - I will say goodbye to my family of four years and take a leap of faith.
As of April 15th, I begin a new journey. As of June - once my oldest graduates Kindergarten, my family and I will take a jump and move to San Antonio TX. We will be saying goodbye to a lot of friends - leaving Massachusetts and going on a new adventure.
Here's to four years - an amazing team, friends, and more. Here's to what the future holds and new opportunities. Here's to no more damned snow.
I'm going to miss everything and everyone here.