We’re moving to California

(Mental playlist for this entry: Led Zep’s Going to California; Fatboy Slim’s Kalifornia; Take California by the Propellerheads; the Royal Gigolos remix of California Dreamin’; close out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Dani California).

From the title of this post and the playlist above, you might have figured it out: we’re not moving to Seattle, but instead to somewhere in the wild, wild Bay Area. Worse, I’m leaving 3Sharp and joining another company altogether. Shock! Horror! How did this happen?

It’s complicated.

Since my dad’s death in 2007 I’ve been thinking more about who I am and what I do. In my early career, I built software, a process that has tangible (and hopefully executable) results. In my current role, I spend a lot of time researching how things work, and the good and bad aspects of various technologies, and communicating my learnings to people in different ways. Over time I began to feel as though I was losing the passion that had made me successful at 3Sharp. I still enjoyed tinkering with new technologies (yeah, Exchange 2010, I’m looking at you), but I felt as though my inner fire was turning into banked coals instead of a roaring inferno.

At the same time, 3Sharp has been growing and changing in some new and exciting ways. Some unforeseen (and very much unwanted) changes in our business meant that we had to lay people off– people I valued as friends and for whose welfare I felt responsible. That was a hard pill to swallow for me. At the same time, PKS, and its related technologies, have been strong areas for us, as has the work we’ve done focused on Office and SharePoint. The only way I could help move that work forward was by driving 3Sharp’s sales and marketing efforts, but I quickly found that– compared to the other things I knew how to do– that I was neither very excited by nor very good at these critical things.

When Acuitus approached me to do some on-site training for them in Monterey, I jumped at the chance because Jim McBee (my longtime friend and a great American) had told me they were doing some interesting things. After the training was over, I flew down to San Jose to talk to them about hiring 3Sharp to do some additional work. During that time I got more hands-on experience with their digital tutor, and learned more about their long-term plans. Instead of hiring 3Sharp, they offered me a job.

After a lot of soul searching, and many long conversations with Arlene, I decided to accept their offer. I’d been approached by other companies before, including competitors of 3Sharp and companies that wanted Exchange talent in-house. This offer was different, though. What tipped the scale is this: I firmly believe that what Acuitus is doing will revolutionize the way computer-based learning works and how it’s used. Working there will give me some unmatchable opportunities to build and do things that can make a lasting impact for millions of people. That was too much to resist!

There are a lot of scary parts to this change: I’m uprooting my family to move someplace that none of us have ever wanted to live, going back to working in an office instead of from home most of the time, and having to prove my skills and worth all over again from scratch. Instead of the established support system we would have had in Seattle, we’re starting over in a new, and very different, environment from what we’re used to. These things are all hard.

The change is hard for another reason. I think of my partners in 3Sharp– Paul, Peter, and John– like brothers. Telling them that I was leaving was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to face. I have learned so much from them that I owe them a debt I can’t ever repay, not that leaving them is helping to repay it any! However,  I believe in their talent and drive, and I know that 3Sharp will continue to thrive and prosper under their care.

However, sometimes it takes work to move on to the next stage of whatever the Lord has planned for us. That’s what I’m trying to keep in mind as we go through the process of looking at ridiculously overpriced houses and figuring out how we’ll make the leap to this new environment. I’ve added a new category called “California” for posts just about the transition, even. Onward…


Filed under California, Musings

4 responses to “We’re moving to California

  1. Very exciting! Good luck, Paul.

  2. Tyler Regas

    Wow! Talk about out of the blue, buddy! It sounds amazing and I know you will make mince meat out of any issue you are faced with. You even have me excited about what you’re going to be working on at Actius. I’d enjoy being a fly on the wall about now 🙂
    Welcome to California, even though its on the wrong end of the state. If you ever have more occasion to travel down South, let me know and we’ll sit and talk for a while 🙂

  3. Mike Rand

    It was a pleasure and a privilege to work with you at 3Sharp! Good luck in your new endeavors.

  4. Paul,
    I just saw your post. Best wishes on your new position! It was an honor to work with you at 3Sharp and I really appreciate all that I learned from you.
    Warm regards,