29 October 2015

So.... What's Next?

I've been getting a lot of messages from folks that run along the lines of "did you really leave Mozilla?" and "so what are you doing now?"

Rather than writing the same thing over and over, I thought it would make more sense to write up a blog post with all the likely questions and answers.

Did you really leave Mozilla?

Yes. Mozilla was an amazing experience for me, and I got to work with some of the most incredible people around. But it was time for something else for me.

What are you doing now?

To be honest, so far I've really been focused on rest and relaxation. Only this week have I started to consider what I want to do next. So far I've just started talking to recruiters, hiring managers, my network, etc.

So... What's next?

A bunch of folks have contacted me about consulting opportunities and, while I obviously have done a lot of consulting, I'm really not interested in that angle at this time. I'm looking for an opportunity to do something with an event horizon that's a bit further out than your average consulting gig - and which offers me a chance to really dig into some challenges and opportunities.
As a result, I'm starting to look for a new full time job.

What kind of job are you looking for?

To paraphrase a former boss, I'm looking for a job as a "unicorn brain-on-a-stick."

I have a rather rare combination of skills, experiences, abilities and knowledge. As such, I'm looking for an employer that wants to hire me - rather than an employer that has a role that I might be able to fill.  I'm looking for a job where I can use my unique skill-set and perspective and strengths to help solve problems and pursue opportunities for my employer.

In other words... I'm looking for someone who will say, "holy crap - let's create a job for this guy. He can really help us."

Ummm... Seriously? Why would anyone hire you to do that?

Because I actually kind of am that Unicorn.

I started working on the web in 1994. I tech edited the very first O'Reilly HTML book. I wrote the Developer blog for the Netscape website. I've done four startups (and had four wins). I was a columnist for the NY Times website. I was the Chief Strategy Officer of a publicly traded company. I have worked on seminal web sites and products since 1995. I ran a $325M corporate venture fund. I've run Development, I've run Marketing, I've run Business Development, I've run Client Services. I've been a CEO and a founder as well as a management consultant and a data analyst. I'm considered an expert in Corporate Development, Business Development and Business Strategy. Oh... and in part because I was part of the (four person) deal team on one of the largest deals in tech in 2014 (and the largest deal that Yahoo has done since Marissa Meyer joined).

Well, that's impressive but still. Seriously?


I know it's a strange way to approach a job. But I've been in this business long enough to have realized how few people there are like me in the industry.

And, frankly, my endorsements and references and testimonials support this.

Do you have other criteria and other asks?

Of course I do!
  • I'm not interested in dysfunctional organizations. My days as a turnaround guy are done.
  • I want a steady stream of meaty problems to solve (and an organization that wants me to succeed in solving them).
  • It is important to me that I have flexibility on location and hours. In other words... I need to be able to work remote and on my schedule (within reason of course).
  • I need to work with people who are decent and humane and professional - and who I can learn from.
  • I don't want to be a manager or deal with corporate politics.
Wow... that's a lot to ask for!

Yup... the good news is that I'm willing to make some sacrifices for my asks.

I have a pretty good idea of what kind of title level I could be working at - and I have a very good idea of what kind of compensation would be considered competitive for me. I'm willing to give on both of these to get what I want and need. And given the current hiring market in Tech in general and SF in particular - getting an experienced senior tech exec with my track record for less than you'd be paying for most Sr Directors seems like a fair trade-off (and an acceptable risk to take).

And in the meantime?

I'm going to keep my promises and take the opportunity that this moment of freedom from the tech industry gives me to get healthy.

26 October 2015

Who the Fuck are these People?

I take MUNI a lot. Mostly light rail.

Anyone who does this has probably noticed the massive demographic shift that has taken place in mid-Market and as demonstrated by the passengers boarding and departing at Van Ness Station.

I figured it might be interesting to do a highly non-scientific analysis of who these folks are or at least where and what they identify with. So today I spent a couple of hours walking around the mid-Market neighborhood and looking at cars. In particular, I was looking at bumper stickers and license plate holders as these can indicate a lot. In particular, they are a good signifier for geographic identity.

What I found:
  • 16 SoCal related
  • 11 East Coast Tri-State Area related
  • 9 East Bay related
  • 3 Mid-Atlantic related
  • 3 Marin related
  • 2 Southwest related
  • 1 San Francisco related
I'm not going to draw any conclusions as the data obviously isn't sufficient.

But I suspect it would be worthwhile and interesting to evaluate more seriously.

And at the very least - this would give some credibility to the claims that the newcomers to SF are not emotionally invested in "San Francisco." Especially given that there were 8 times as many indicators of being passionate about dogs as there were about giving a fuck about San Francisco.