Here is the “fits in a tweet” #meta version:
If you have 15 minutes and are curious, the longer “read while sipping a double espresso allongé” version:
When I announced that I was leaving Needium in February, I really had no precise idea of what I would do next. As I outlined in that “>post, I had a few certitudes, mainly what I didn’t want to do. I wanted to be able to write more, words and code. Also wanted to continue organizing events and speaking. After a few startups and being a CTO and co-founder for a while, I felt I was drifting away slowly from the true core of my passion, that managing was taking away the doing.
I also admitted in private to a few friends that I didn’t want to do another “small” startup for a while. After 5 years of it, I was looking for a BIG challenge with a BIG startup (there was no way I would end up at a BIG old company, par contre). So I made a list of the top 5-7 internet startup/companies I would love to contribute to. I purposely left out of that list behemoths like Google and Facebook. The right cultural fit was more important more than any other criteria.
I searched for a natural fit with companies related to the mindspace I have been exploring for the last 15 years: communication, media, social, real-time, local/geo, APIs and with a strong open source ethos. I was also interested in commerce and marketplaces, topics I haven’t directly worked on recently but that where part of my history and still emerging (either thru the social or intent graph, or via peer-to-peer enablement).
While thinking about a “not so small startup” with many of these facets, it became obvious I had to leave open the possibility that I would have to move out of Montréal for a while to pursue that not-so-elusive “perfect” fit. The timing was great for a roadtrip, starting in San Francisco, then in Austin for SXSW, a few weeks in Montréal and then in New York. You can probably guess most of the companies that fits with this narrow scope, I met with them during those weeks. I am thankful for all the conversations, emails, ideas, drinks and more formal interviews I went thru. It was an amazing opportunity to meet brilliant and creative geeks.
I ended up with 3 companies on my short list, each one at a very different phase of it’s life, from a platform and growth perspective. The developer advocate role was a common thread. The API too. The fact that it would surely be in SF of NY… When all was said and done, after many weeks of pondering options and going thru a rigorous process (requiring patience and tact) with these companies, I was pretty psyched to find the “perfect” match. I am using quotes only because I am a pragmatic type of guy. I am also known to abuse the exclamation mark at times, this is one of those moments where it’s totally in context to mark my grin at every occasion I declare: “I am joining Twitter as a developer advocate”!
The team at Twitter has been amazing in the process. Of course, it helped that I have been focused on the Twitter API with my previous startup, for a few years now. And even if the geo in Twitter is not (yet?) all what it could be, the first time I met @rsarver was at wherecamp (before Twitter) a few years back, if I remember correctly it was related to carrying kegs of beers from the liquor store to Google’s campus… Organizing Twitter Tea Time Montreal last year was also a great opportunity to get to know how awesome @jasoncosta, @rno and the rest of the team are. Visiting Twitter HQ in the last few months gave me a taste of the vibe in the office. Met the mythical @episod, he’s even better IRL than online. Had the chance to have @kurrik torture me with a technical phone interview stretching my limits (he did have a relaxed lunch on premise with me at Twitter HQ the next time we met).
So I am packing my stuff and moving across the continent (and the border) towards San Francisco. Leaving the Montreal startup ecosystem was not an easy decision. I will always be the guy “from Montréal” wherever I am. I even think it’s a good thing for the network to have nodes close to the central processing unit. I have another post on that topic brewing… One thing will not change, you can still read me and reach me here at http://afroginthevalley.com and @froginthevalley (et aussi @sylvaincarle en français). I can’t find the right words to express my eagerness to hit the ground running. I am pretty confident the pent-up energy I have will find appropriate thermodynamic conductors inside Twitter’s organization. I leave you with some old school rock, re-interpreted by one of my teenage years favorite California band from the ’90s, The Infectious Grooves.
“I come from the land of ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs flow… On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.”
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