…Hello Google

Starting December 1st, I’m going to be a Developer Advocate for Google Cloud Platform. It’s a similar role to what I’ve done before: go out to events or reach out online, and talk to people about technology that can help them. But Advocates are less about marketing than Evangelists, and more about product improvement. The idea is that while we’re out talking to people, we listen to their feedback and bring it back to the product teams. Evangelists do that too, but my gut feeling is that organizations with “Advocates” take that feedback much more seriously.

I’ll be talking about an awesome product. Or more accurately, suite of products. From Platform as Service and Virtual Machines to Storage, Databases, and Big Data queries, there is a lot to talk about, and lots of rabbit holes to wander down. I intend to wander down a few of them and bring you all along.

I’ll be talking to developers again, which is awesome. The past few years found me drifting further and further away from the developer communities that inspired me to get into this line of work 6 years ago. My work angst for the past 12 months and the work and projects I did to prepare for and secure this job made it very clear that this is what I really want to be doing.

I’m joining a team of intimidatingly smart people. And I do mean “intimidatingly” cause the interview process is as challenging as all the rumors make it out to be. But everyone I met along the process were incredible to interview with, and I can’t wait to start working with them.

I find myself reporting once again to Greg Wilson, and I honestly couldn’t be any happier about that. Good managers are both rare and more important than people think they are. When you find one, count yourself lucky, and if you can work for a manager you’ve confirmed is good, well, you do it.

Google culture encourages workers to informally collaborate. They find that keeping people in the same space yields better collaboration. And despite all of the advantages to working remotely I missed the serendipitous hallway meetings. So after 6 years remote, I find myself returning to daily commutes. I always said I couldn’t go back – but then again, when there is free Coke Zero, showers, nap pods, and brilliant co-workers – maybe it might be even better than working from home. I’ll miss seeing my kids the way I used to, but frankly, now that they’re in school, I don’t see them as much as I’d like to anyway.

You might be asking: Hey, does Google have an office in Philadelphia? Actually they appear to, but it’s not an office with any Cloud engineers. So my family and I are leaving Philadelphia for somewhere in the Bay Area, probably San Jose. This was not an easy choice, but I am very excited about the prospect. We’ll be around for the rest of 2014, with us moving in the beginning of 2015.

So let me finish by pointing out that none of this would be possible with out the encouragement and support of my wife, Janice. She was my practice interviewer, cheerleader, and sounding board. When the very people interviewing you point out that “Imposter Syndrome” is a huge part of the interview process, it’s hard to not to get lost in your head second guessing yourself. Janice was consistently convinced that I could get the position, and even helped me convince myself sometimes. And when I did get it, she agreed to move across the country to a place where we have no roots, with 2 children in tow. Not only did she agree to it, she embraced it for the opportunity it is. That doesn’t mean it isn’t terrifying for the both of us, but at least for me it is less so, ’cause she’s going to be by my side.

So there you have it, lots of change, I think they’re awesome changes, and I can’t wait.

…Hello Adobe

Wow that took less time than I thought… So yeah, I’m joining Adobe. Specifically I’m joining Adobe’s Platform Evangelism group. I’ll be working under Kevin Hoyt with the team that includes Ryan Stewart, Lee Brimelow and Danny Dura amongst others and ultimately headed by Ben Forta. So it will take all of my composure to not, you know, break down into an Adobe fanboy in my first staff meeting.

What does that mean? It means that I will be working with the rest of the team to spread excitement about the Adobe Platform Products:

  • Flash
  • Flex
  • Air
  • ColdFusion
  • LiveCycle
  • Flash Catalyst
  • BlazeDS

I’ll be promoting the entire platform, but considering my experience to date, I imagine that I’ll start with a slight focus on ColdFusion and AIR.

However in addition to that focus I will have an overriding goal:

Get Adobe Platform Technologies taught in the classrooms of Higher Ed.

It’s a big goal, and not a trivial challenge. I see a lot of different paths to achieving it. I can’t wait to work with all of you to accomplish it.

And as my first act of Evangelism I will remind you once again that both ColdFusion and Flex Builder are available free to Higher Education. All you have to do is go to one of their respective “freeriatools” sites, fill out a form, and upload a picture of your Academic ID.

Starting a New Job

So once again, I’m moving jobs. I’m still with the Wharton School. However, now I will be working for Knowledge@Wharton. I’ll be working on small and medium sized projects, working on growing the backend platform, and anything else they tell me to do.

I’m pretty excited about the move. I’ll be joining a great team, it gives me an opportunity to work for a former boss again, and it’s a lot easier to point someone to a public site like Knowledge as an explanation of what I do.

I start Tuesday, after a visit to DC this weekend.

New Job

July 1st starts the first official day of my new job. I’ll be taking on the role of IT Director for Wharton Research Data Services. WRDS (pronounced “words”), as we call it, is a suite of research applications that provide access to financial databases used around the business and business academic world. We resell it to other educational organizations, making it a very important part of the Wharton brand. I’ll be taking over direction of the web portion of the application.

My first concern will be the giving the website a direly-needed facelift. To facilitate that we hired Happy Cog to do a kick-ass redesign, that has been sitting unused for awhile. I’m going to get that new design up on the site, by October. As part of that plan, I’m going to be taking on automation and separation of content from design. Of course, I won’t be doing this alone. I’ve got a new staff of which I’m in charge

The technology that drives the site is Perl. There are no thoughts on getting rid of all of the Perl, as it’s needed to talk to the SAS databases on the backend. I’ll be adding ColdFusion where it makes sense – mostly in a community feature that we are building. Additionally I’m working on what amounts to a domain specific language (in ColdFusion) to automate page construction. Thanks Peter Bell for turning me on to that whole stuff.

It’s sort of a bittersweet sort of thing. It’s the first move for me in awhile that involves complete change, as opposed to just increasing responsibilities. I give up all my safe ColdFusion cache.

The job of running our ColdFusion environment and providing ColdFusion leadership will be falling to Dave Konopka. I’m extremely proud of him, since I hired him, and now he’s replacing me.

While today is my official start date, I have permission to sort of coast through this week and start next Monday. I’ll be wrapping up some lose ends from my old job today and tomorrow, and taking a 5 day weekend for Fourth of July holiday.

I still intend to post on ColdFusion, and I’ll still be maintaining Squidhead. However, I’m going to generalize the topics a bit. I’m going to talk a bit about my experience as a client to Happy Cog (awesome in short.) Also I’m going to talk about some developer soft skills (like influence), and how to practice them.