Last week marked my 11th anniversary at Guidewire Software, the company that has given me the longest run of my career. Until Guidewire, the longest was 5 years at my own one-person consulting company, and the record before that was 4 years. Guidewire is #12 in the list of companies I have joined and started. About half of those were start-ups. None before Guidewire went public or had any significant “exit event.” In short, Guidewire has been good to me, and I have played a consequential part in its steady growth and success over the years.
And now I am ready to move on.
Obviously things have changed quite a bit since the day I walked in as a new employee. Within Product Development, I have been one of the primary instigators of change. I see change mostly as a good thing, especially since Guidewire continues to be driven by active customer demand. There is little more satisfying than building software that people love. Guidewire has that in spades.
As the company grew to over 2,000 employees, as Product Development stretched beyond 500 and spread across more than 8 development centers, I found my ability to contribute as a manager diminished. Or maybe I lost interest in keeping tabs on everything that was going on at that scale. Cause and effect is a bit murky.
So I turned to new initiatives. Innovation is difficult no matter how you approach it. Within an established company, the barriers come from everything else that has worked to date. Most people do not want to take the risk of jeopardizing successful products and teams with some wild new ideas. Yet, through fits and starts, we have launched a few new products that have origins in the projects I ran. Although things did not go the way I had hoped or anticipated, eventually the ideas caught hold.
Yet I have always wanted to work on other kinds of software and in other industries: gaming, education, science, to name a few. Also, I want to try my hand again at starting a company or at least returning to the start-up scene. Above all, I could use a break and a chance to reset my direction.
So I am leaving Guidewire. The first thing I will do after that is take some time off, a few months at least. My idea of a break is to spend my time right here on Happy Spirit Games: blogging, publishing online games, offering tutorials, and exploring what else I could be doing with the rest of my career.
Thanks, Guidewire, for over a decade of memories.