The Offer Letter
The offer letter had been sitting on my kitchen table all weekend. The contents of it were entirely surreal and for some reason I just wasn’t ready to sign it. I wanted to but I wasn’t able to articulate why I wanted to sign it and it made me nervous.
During my time of introspection, I realized there were three critical factors that were weighing on my decision; surprisingly, none of them had anything to do with the monetary elements. I would like to share with you the three points that helped me realize what was important to me in hopes that next time you are at a fork in your professional road, you will find them helpful.
Surrounding Yourself With Great People
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Jim Rohn
I am a firm believer that you will express what you surround yourself with. I also believe that you will become the people you surround yourself with. If you want to be great then surround yourself with great people. If the average of a new group of people is significantly higher than the level in which you operate at, this is a group you want to be in. In regards to a company, if the leadership and board is a clear line of site to a much higher trajectory then it is worth considering the kind of person that path would make you.
Great Products Are Born From Mistakes
The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way. Dale Carnegie
Success is the result of adapting to feedback loops. Failure is one of the strongest and most useful feedback loops you can have. Gravitate towards a culture where mistakes are encouraged but also have the mechanisms in place to learn and adapt from them. I highly recommend the great book Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Hartford on this subject. It crystalized my worldview on success and why agile software and lean product development methodologies resonated with me so strongly.
A company that values trying new things and encourages being fearless is a company that is going to innovate.
The Success of the Community is Your Success
We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
Every successful person I know has arrived through the counsel and guidance of other successful individuals. How many of us have learned critical pieces of software development from a blog post that someone thoughtfully put together? I certainly have! Many, many times. I am eternally grateful for the efforts of people who have given freely of their time to put value into the software community. My entire career is built upon the time and energy of mentors kind enough to keep me from hitting the ditch.
I am pleased to announce that as of this week, I have accepted the position of Senior Developer Advocate at Udacity. I admit that it was quite an interesting process as it was my intention to ‘do my own thing’ indefinitely; however, I realized that I have a lot of room to grow by surrounding myself with people smarter than myself, making a lot of the right mistakes, and ultimately making a difference by serving the community together.