Friday, August 17, 2007

New Kid in School

After two good and satisfying years at SNOCAP, I’ve made the tough but important choice to move on. I'm going to be running engineering and product management at Kiptronic, and I'm very excited. Over the course of time since I last did this, I’ve come to realize some important things about myself.

  • I can do a lot of different things, but there are some things that I’m better at than others. The things I do particularly well are the things most valuable when a company is in its formative stages—building its teams, establishing process, and creating new products.

  • I don’t do well when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. When I have strong ideas about product direction, I get frustrated when design by committee prevails. I’m all for collaboration, but a singular vision aggressively executed is how rapid innovation happens.

  • The people I work with are more important than the industry I’m in, the size of the company, or just about anything else. For whatever reason, our culture seems to discourage the open expression of our personal feelings in a professional setting. That’s bullshit. I want to let my colleagues know how I feel about them. Hopefully, that means I’m letting them know that I like them. Having strong personal connections with the people I work with is more important to me than I had previously thought. Without those connections, I begin to drift.

Now I don't want to suggest that all of these elements were missing at SNOCAP (someone pointed out that these comments could be interpreted to reflect negatively on SNOCAP). SNOCAP was a great experience for me. These are just things that I've learned are very important to me, wherever I go.

Changing companies not only feels like going to a new school, it feels like going to a new school midway through the school year taking classes I’ve never had before. It will force me to use all the social skills I’ve developed since I first started making new friends on the playground, along with my ability to pick up new subjects on the fly. But that’s the rush—and since I’ve done it several times before, I know I’ll be able to do it again. It’s cathartic for me to jot down my thoughts on this experience here. I’ll continue to document my efforts in building the team, putting pragmatic process in place, and driving product direction until it’s no longer satisfying to do so.

1 comment:

Ed Z said...

Hey Dave, Congratulatons on the new role at Kiptronic. I read the news on my Facebook Minifeed. I've worked with Paul O'Brien previously. He was a former client of mine when he was CEO of Persist. Solid guy and good to have on the board. Good luck with the work there. It's OK to switch schools from time to time. Ed Zschau