TL;DR: I am joining Netlify as a Group Product Manager. Hit me up on Twitter if I can help you.
If you asked me 20 years back as to what I want to do with my life, I’d probably answer with something like “build stuff with computers.” From the early days of my career, to some of the more recent adventures, I tried to find teams where I can be very hands-on with the tech stack and build, build, build. I can confidently say that developing software and tools is near and dear to me.
I mean, that tendency hasn’t really changed today - funnily enough, both with computers and LEGOs, but for that second part refer to the end of the blog post.
A year into my return to Microsoft, I’ve realized that there is something missing from what I was doing - being hands-on with a real product. While I’ve learned a lot being a technical advisor, and am grateful for the opportunities and experiences I had, I also knew that I needed to get back to my roots to be truly happy about what I am doing.
It was one of those career realizations where, upon talking to my wife, I knew I had to pursue it. When you know, you know. Luckily, the stars aligned and I got connected to the awesome folks at Netlify through my good friend and mentor Dan Fernandez. The team at Netlify just happened to have a role open - and it was nothing short of a dream role for me. After a series of conversations (read: interviews), I was offered the role, and it was the fastest I’ve ever accepted one.
It’s a big change for me and my family. For the past seven years, I’ve stuck around big companies. This time, I am going to a startup. The approach to shipping things fast, engaging closely with customers, and having a tight-knit group of people on board a rocket ship is nothing short of energizing. That’s how I want to come to work, every day. And for those that know me, I sure have way too much energy to pour into things. I still have a lot of questions and unknowns, but part of this journey will be building a map of the land as I go. I am lucky to have a great spouse, supportive family and friends, as well as mentors who I know I can count on as I learn.
I am excited to be in product. I am excited to, once again, work closely with developers, and making it easier for them to build, ship, and manage web-based experiences. It’s invigorating, and I counted the days until I could finally get started. As an added change, I will be coming on board as a Group Product Manager - a departure from my individual contributor work of the past. Lots to learn, but that’s a big part of why it’s so exciting. As usual, you can find me on Twitter if you have any questions or if there is anything I can help with when it comes to building great web experiences. If there’s one thing I learned through the few years I’ve been working on this field is that it’s always about the people and the community.
As Will Larson mentioned in his book “Staff Engineer” - the only viable long-term bet in a career is to focus on work that matters, do projects that develop you, and steer towards companies that value genuine experience. Time to make that bet happen.
Tangential: Building LEGOs
I mentioned earlier that I am getting back into building LEGOs, just like I did when I was a kid. Did you know you there is an entire set that allows you to build a garbage truck? I didn’t until last week. I’d lose my mind over this thing if I knew about it when I was 7. Now excuse me while I show you the progress from zero to a functional LEGO garbage truck.
Next on my building list is figuring out how to make an articulated bus happen.