What’s been going on…

Thanks for your patience while I was having my little fun here on the blog. hopefully you were at least somewhat amused. Perhaps your curiosity piqued a bit.

If you haven’t figured it out (perhaps by reading this article or even noticed that I made Techcruch for some reason I can’t fathom) today was my last day at HP/Palm/webOS GBU. Because we didn’t announce that I was leaving until the day before it happened, I couldn’t exactly talk about it here on the blog. I felt talking about unrelated stuff was — it just seemed wrong to carry on about apertures or unrelated topics with an unseen elephant standing in the room, but I didn’t want the blog to go completely silent for too long, because that in itself raises questions and gets noticed. (as an aside, I got my name mis-spelled two different ways in those three articles. I’m amused, and even better, it allows you to easily track where all of the “me too” sites go to do their “original journalism”).

I felt strongly that the developers should hear about this  from me, on the forums and hear it that way first. In this day and age of the internet, that’s surprisingly difficult, but we pulled it off. As it turned out, the timing of my change ended up tracking right up against Meg’s decision on the future of webOS and the webOS teams, and that made this even more complicated.  But Meg was willing to step up to fund webOS and give it a life in Open Source, and now everyone back at the office is trying to understand how to make that work.

I fully support that decision, and I look forward to cheerleading the effort from my new place on the sidelines. Now that I no longer have to speak the company line and try to avoid pissing off my bosses by improvising, I can say I think this is the best opportunity for webOS, and Meg has convinced me she understands what is going to be needed and how commitment it’s going to take. That she has worked closely with Mark Andressen (an HP board member) on this decision gives me a nice comfort level that they get it. That doesn’t mean that success is a given, only that an honest opportunity has been created. It’ll be up to the people in the webOS teams to grab the opportunity, engage the community, and everyone run with it. I think they can.

None of that changed my view that it was time to make a change (and to answer a question I’ve been asked a dozen times this week — “if this decision on Open Sourcing had come sooner, would you have stayed?” — the answer is, frankly, probably not, but part of me would have found the idea tempting); I’d been in that role for basically three years without any real change in responsibility. I was ready for more, or different, or something. That was something Richard and I had been talking about going back into late spring, on and off. When Leo decided to split off PSG and blew up HP in bizarre ways, taking out the webOS hardware teams as (as far as I can tell) collateral damage, that kind of put any talk about career paths on hold, and that holding pattern ended up being infinitely long. Once Richard decided that he couldn’t stay and ended up moving over to Nokia, it was clear to me that my situation wouldn’t be resolved for a number of months.

I know Richard and I would have worked out some growth path that would have kept me there; Leo’s decisions made that impossible. For the first month after Leo blew things up, I was telling recruiters to leave me alone. After that, being in limbo got rather stressful and my belief that we’d end up in a good and stable place (and with jobs) kept shrinking. Recruiters kept calling, and I started listening, and this one company caught my eye, we talked, and the rest is, well — it’s what’s next. I’m not going to go into details yet (sorry, Arthur); I’m going to enjoy my time off and relax a bit. there’s plenty of time for talking about that.

I will say that it is (a) not Nokia [but the day Richard joined Nokia, I rang him up and said “let’s talk”. we did, at some length. But I was fairly far along the process, and I felt it was a better direction for me to go. But of all of the places I chatted with, Nokia was my second choice and I likely would have gone there if I didn’t take the job I did — I think there’s some really interesting challenges and potential there). The new gig is also not in the mobile space (I’m headed back into an enterprise-oriented situation, and yes, it’s community oriented). I’m ready for a break from the politics of phones and carriers and similar joys, too.

In the short term, I’m going to spend a little time with my birding and my camera, with christmas (and christmas shopping), and doing some prep work. I’ll be starting the new gig next week, to sit down and get a start on mapping plans and strategies, and then off for christmas with the family. then back in January in with both feet and onward into whatever this is going to turn into.

(and in case anyone really cares, I’m thinking of headed down to Struve Slough and Jetty Road on thursday, and spending all day Friday out in Panoche Valley chasing mountain plovers and chukars for my life list. Plans which may well change, but you never know; and I’m seriously considering a saturday run out to Merced and San Luis NWR for a shot at some sunset work and the fly-in. Or maybe not….)

There’s plenty of blog fodder here to keep us busy, too.

To everyone on my old team at HP, and all of the folks I worked with there — thanks for everything, for making it a fight worth fighting and helping me enjoy being there even on the bad days. I’ll miss you all. To all my devs — thanks for your time, your energy and commitment, and your willingness to let me get away with saying “I don’t know” or “I can’t tell you” way more often than I wish I had. You made everything worth it, and you did great stuff. Please continue that in the future, because I’m rooting for you all, even if I’m not part of the fight any more.

And now, onward.

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