Friday, February 11, 2011

Goodbye, Google; Hello, World!

Just over four years ago, I started working in one of the coolest departments at one of the best companies on the web: Google Developer Relations. My job was to help developers be successful with our APIs, whatever it took. Sometimes that meant "grunt work" like spending hours trying to figure out why our API was broken in IE6, and sometimes that meant more glamorous things like traveling to exotic countries to talk about our API. Either way, it was time well spent when I could see the end result: developers doing awesome things with Google APIs.

It was the first and only job I've ever had, and it was the perfect job for me. I got to do so many things that I love: make things (mashups), teach people (developers) and learn things (web technology). But, as you've probably figured out from the past tense, it is no longer my job.

I could come up with many explanations for why I decided to leave Google, but it boils down to this: I'm ready for the next adventure.

What About…?

I don't want you to worry that I've left anything at Google in an abandoned state, so here's a rundown of what I've worked on and who's on it now:

  • Maps API: Unbeknownst to the developers that still email me every day (even today!), I actually stopped working on the Maps API a year and a half ago. The Maps API team is now quite large and includes multiple support engineers that you'll see around the forums, like the very talented Chris and Luke.
  • Wave API: Since Google decided not to continue the Wave project, the Wave APIs are effectively deprecated. Most of Wave is now open-source and is moving into the skilful hands of the Apache community.
  • Shared Spaces: Along with several other former Wave team members, I helped launch this in Labs a few months ago. My colleagues will continue working on the ideas in that project and hopefully integrating the collaborative platform into other Google products.
  • Google Sydney Developer Relations: When I came to Google Sydney, I was the only person working in Developer Relations here, and we didn't have much of a connection to the local developer scene. I decided to fix that by running events and meeting the developers here (who, as it turns out, are incredibly smart and sincere). There's now a whole Developer Relations crew in the office - Andrew on Go, Brett on Blogger, Nick on App Engine, Chris & Luke on Maps - and I know they'll do a great job continuing to connect with the local developers.

What's Next…?

I'm going nowhere in particular, or put another way, I'm going everywhere. I want to pursue the ideas in my head, I want to travel to the places I've never been, I want to see the people I haven't seen in years, I want to learn new things, I want to see where life takes me.

I know, I know, that's vague - but on purpose. I want to make no plans, so that I can explore all the possibilities and see what makes me the happiest. Oh, and one of those possibilities includes becoming a hippie, which totally works into the "no plans" plan.

I do have to somewhat decide on my location, since it appears that governments aren't into the "live wherever the hell you want with no paperwork or employment" idea. So for now, I will move back to the states, and likely live in San Francisco for a bit. (Yes, I'm a geek and I mapped where my friends live - based on marker density, San Francisco is the optimal place to live for maximum friend visitation.)

Thank You

There were many things I loved about my job, but the thing I loved the best was the developers. I met so many different developers doing so many different things from so many different countries. To all the developers out there, thank you for constantly inspiring and impressing me, and thank you for making my four years on this job such a fulfilling experience.

And I'm Off!

To quote the greatest comic strip of all time, "It's a magical world, Hobbes, ol' buddy… Let's go exploring!"


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