March 11th, 2008
Now, a little more than 4 years later, SIMILE is known inside and outside academia, has produced software that is used by thousands of people, in many different environments and, most of all, has pioneered many innovations in data integration, data visualization and the relationship between open development practices and academic environments.
I’m extremely proud of the work we have done. I’ve had the unique and wonderful opportunity to work with amazing people, bringing all sort of different skills, experience and points of view to the table. Both a humbling and empowering experience, and I consider myself incredibly fortunate of having had the opportunity of belonging to this group and to this truly unique and world-wide recognized institution.
But Phase 2 of SIMILE is coming to an end and it’s time for me to re-evaluate my position and my aspirations.
While the academic environment is a wonderful opportunity for vast and deep research and for mental stimulation, it is not the place where it’s easy to make the rubber meet the road and get real traction. I’ve tried to change that, merging my decade-long Apache experience with academic dynamics and its funding; I’ve had the fortune of having wise funders and wise bosses, but I sense that I’ve personally peaked and that it’s time to re-evaluate where to invest my energy.
My contract with MIT expires Jan 2009 and there is still plenty of job to do around SIMILE and friends so I’m in no hurry and also my visa status won’t change before the end of the summer so I can’t even change jobs if I wanted to before that happens… but what some of you already know it’s now public information: I’m officially on the market for a new job.
So what would I want to do next?
First of all, I bet that the future of IT is in data not in software, so I won’t be following Ted in a job that tries to port a particular language on a particular platform, no thanks, not interested.
Second, we just bought a house in Los Angeles and quite simply, I’m not going to move. I’ve worked remotely for MIT for the last 2 years and 6 years with Apache before that, so I’m used to work remotely. I’m not afraid of traveling (flying makes me even more productive at times), but relocation is not an option.
Third, I’m way more productive if I’m passionate about my job, so if you think you can lure me into a job that I won’t feel passionate about with a higher salary, don’t: you won’t get what you’d pay for and we’ll both be unhappy.
That said, it doesn’t mean that I will work for peanuts if I liked the job, that’s part of the reason to leave academia: the job needs to be something that I feel passionate about, something that I want my name publicly associated with and something that I feel I can invest time and energy to make a strong impact and feel proud about. And I need to be properly compensated for it. In this order, but all pieces are important.
I already have several offers on the table a few of which very promising, but no done deal yet, so if you think you have a job for me and it meets that above requirements, send me an email and we’ll take it from there.
And if you worry about the future of SIMILE and its software, don’t worry: it’s not going away anytime soon, although there are already discussions on how to move forward and ‘spin off’ some of the most used software in more neutral locations. But that’s another story and this is not even the right place to discuss it.