The State of Employment

2012-07-08 17:39:48 by jdixon

Seems that it's common for folks to blog about changes in employment. I hate to be left out on the fun, so I'll take a brief moment to officially announce my pending "new-hire" status with GitHub, effective tomorrow.

Friends who've already heard the news pepper their congratulations with a sense of confusion as to why I'd leave a good thing at Heroku. Indeed, I think most people in our industry would rank Heroku and GitHub at the top of their list of prospective employers. Unsurprisingly, I loved my job. I've never worked with a team of engineers as highly skilled or dedicated to their mission as the men and women at Heroku. So why would I leave?

Over the last few years I've been increasingly passionate about data collection, analysis and visualization. At Heroku I've been able to refine my skills and apply them towards visibility solutions of a scale I'd never dreamt possible. And yet, the audience that I'm able to reach at Heroku is mostly limited to the internal engineering staff. The more confident I've gotten in my own abilities, the more I feel that I have a duty to try and improve the state of the art in operational visibility and analytics.

The GitHub operations team has some mind-blowingly talented engineers like Ryan Tomayko (@rtomayko) and Aman Gupta (@tmm1) working on visualization projects on a part-time basis (versus their full-time engineering responsibilities). They have engineering and operations teams, in addition to their enormous customer base, just craving the sort of products that I'm passionate about. After talking with many of these folks, and a very enthusiastic discussion with Tom Preston-Werner (@mojombo) and Jesse Newland (@jnewland), I'm convinced that GitHub understands what my long-term goals are and wants to provide me with the resources to achieve them.

Note that this is the primary reason why I'm so attracted to GitHub. It helps a lot that their company embraces remote employees and open source development. And that they want employees working on projects that they're passionate about. Don't take my word for it, read Zach Holman's (@holman) series on How GitHub Works. Then read Ryan Tomakyo's post on management style.

At the end of the day, your successes are a reflection on your own desires, energy and commitment. But they are also a result of the environment and resources at your disposal to make these goals achievable. With the help of the leadership and staff at GitHub I think we can do something truly special.

To all my friends at Heroku -- keep changing the world for the better. You're already the gold standard by which all new startups measure themselves. Thanks to all of your hard work we'll never have to go back to the medieval times of web hosting. I'll continue to be your biggest fan, a grateful customer, and a proud alumnus.


at 2012-07-09 04:55:26, leonidlm wrote in to say...


I am a dedicated follower of your blog, and I glad to hear that you are moving forward to attack new challenges.

I have one suggestion, I think it is worth to post a technical summary of what did you learn on the visualisation side of things in your time in Heroku. Kind of a summaryo tools and techniques you feel comfortable to share with the people.

at 2012-07-16 18:58:05, Aaron Peterson wrote in to say...

Overlapping interests and "missions" - I'm watching you now, hope you don't mind if I crib...

I haven't found my "Heroku", and I can't be an unpaid production assistant or whatever the equivalent is in our industry in order to pursue Info Vis/HCI.

Sort of a chicken and egg problem.

So I'm attempting the self-patronage model, whereby I generate my own funding. But I have to say, it sounds easier your way - getting a group of awesome specialists who assist one another to do this at a slightly larger and more efficient scale.

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