I've been doing extreme forms of mental tightrope walking over the past few months. And the end result is me going my separate way. Each time I state to someone that I've left my X-Company to form a startup, I get asked "WHY" ??
So here it is, and for those that dont know me, I hope it helps you think about your own aspirations and next steps.
I've resigned as a CTO & partner of a mid size software services/products company specializing in web and social media applications.
My career path (you can check the details at http://www.linkedin.com/in/asyed) started with a step into a 20-30 engineers company and then went on to working for a 50,000 engineers company. Then the downward slope of joining a 5000 man company and then to a dozen or so engineers based one. The latter being the place I'm just exiting from and now being over 80 and likely to be the next big software house in Pakistan.
Reading the above, it almost makes me want to pinch myself on leaving a technology company when I'm confident in its growth, and by and large being a great place to be. Even my exit speech left most confused if I had changed my mind to stay or if I was indeed leaving :)
However, my biggest fear was an image of myself that I saw 2 to 5 years in the future - an EX-engineer who's stuck doing management crap primarily troubled with recruitment and employee training. Growth for a software services company will always be about the ability to recruit the smartest engineers, thats because engineers create value and not the business managers. And constant growth pains isnt the kind of problem that gets an engineer-at-heart excited. And lets face it, services industry is not for the faint of heart. Its a shop thats open for business, and you dont get to choose your customers. The customers choose you. Read the story of the mac store employee to see how even top brands have to entertain jerks at times
***Disclaimer: Most customers are professional, but every now and then the few jerks can hit the raw nerve, or at times the firms own jerk engineers can cause perfectly professional customers to match them.
And then the light at the end of the tunnel, the product idea for mid to large businesses. I remember having to waste my weekends just to file paperwork while working at the fortune 500, and its still the same for my peers working in mid to large enterprises! Keeping the actual product ideas under the lid until its ready for the curtain raising!
The idea(s) came about during the usual client calls and even recruitment interviews with fairly experienced software development managers working in/for large enterprises. And it hit me that most mid/large sized companies are still stuck in the early 2000's ... a decade of catching up still needs to be done in how most companies run their internal software development units. Having worked in a fortune 500 while interacting with a couple dozen other fortune 100's, it was like a huge 10,000 Watt bulb switching on! The ROI and the pain each employee of a mid to large size firm goes through to get their job done is considered part of the job.
No more pain for employees of mid to large size firms is the value proposition of the fledgling startup!
THE WHY NOW
I'm betting on 2011 being a great boom year, and that a professor of mine once explained to me the greek concept of opportunity or Kairos. MIDDLE EAST: Get your act together quickly, high oil prices are NOT good for the global economy!
And like any business that needs to be successful, the passion to excel and deliver must exist. And for me, its now! I believe in the mid to large businesses product space and more importantly the ability to execute on it. The rest of the matters will be tackled as they come (the "what if questions")
Lastly and probably more importantly, if you want to be part of a journey that is sure to be exciting and nothing short of a crash course in creating a great products based startup targeting the North America market AND you're
great exceptional in UI design or Rails development, then get in touch with me! jobs 7vals.com (spammers - stay away!)