I left Apptio in May.
There’s a lot I could say about leaving there. There’s a lot I wish I could say. But I can say this: Between a lack of new and compelling challenges, a sense I had completed the goals I set for myself coming in, and a shift in cultural values, it was the right time for me to go.
It was an annoying, stressful, and painful job, but yet, immensely rewarding and never boring. I jumped into the deep end of a complicated enterprise product and got to work on improving its user experience by any and every means necessary. I got a design team from two of us fighting for a voice in the organization up to eight people, with a real UX director and seats at the product leadership table. For as limited as my resources were, I did a hell of a lot. And that came through in every job interview I did after I left.
I was hoping to take more than a few weeks off between jobs. Unfortunately, the white-hot market worked against that, and I was inundated with offers and interview requests as it got out to the broader community that I was available.
So I decided to play the process exactly the way I wanted to play it. I set up introductory “coffee dates” where I’d sit down with an organization and figure out whether it was worth my time or not to pursue their opening (or if their job description even fit me — or any human on the planet.) I said no more than once. I rejected job offers. I figured this may be the last time I’m ever in a position to say no, so I might as well make the most of it.
I changed my focus as well. Before, I looked more for “next step” positions, ones that were clearly the next rung on the ladder. This time out, I zeroed in on finding a high quality organizational culture. One that pushes its people, pushes boundaries, and yet values weekends. And I wanted a place where I felt like I was truly making a difference. (I’m still saddened that at Apptio one customer used something I designed to help them identify whom should go during a massive round of layoffs.)
Ultimately, I found one organization with a great culture, great values, and a mission to improve the world — EnergySavvy. And they liked me enough to give me a job as their Lead Designer.
EnergySavvy is out to build a product where utility companies can find energy efficiency opportunities in their customers’ homes. The more insulation you have, the less natural gas or electricity you use. The less gas used, the less fracking. The less electricity used, the less coal being burned.
For the first time in the 20 years since I graduated with my BA in environmental conservation, I’m working for a company that’s in the ballpark of my degree field.
The company is small but tight. Dev quality is high. They’re quiet but ambitious. And they’re out to change the world.
I’m sad to have left Apptio. It’s a great company with great ideas driven by great people. I hope they will fulfill their lofty goals. But it was time to go. And EnergySavvy is an opportunity to try something new, learn more, and work with kick-ass people. It’ll be challenging, of course. But I’d have it no other way.
So, on to the next one.