I left Amazon in late 2015 to become an independent contractor. I took a contract working for a small managed service provider, which was closer to my home and offered a more family friendly schedule. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I knew that I was going to miss some really cool colleagues, some fascinating nerdy discussions and a very tough, but massively effective thought-system.
The network I’m currently working on is tiny when compared to Amazon’s but most networks are. I’m back to figuring out the messy work of taking over projects in the deployment stage and trying to squeeze advanced features out of enterprise hardware. I’m working within a different set of constraints.
I now have to work really hard to explain why the network deserves investment. I didn’t have to do that in recent years, but taking on ‘real-world’ IT challenges is part of the reason I left. I deliberately chose a different type of hardship because I felt that I was living in a bubble. I’m not complaining though; it was a very comfortable bubble with free espresso, beer and fussball.
One of the other goals of breaking free from the ‘Zon was to be able to speak more freely and blog with less interference. I’ve only had a single instance of this interference, but I had such a long list of topics I felt I couldn’t blog about that it started to get a little annoying. The real keys to Amazon’s success are the systems, processes and culture they developed and sustained. I hope to include more of these learnings in my writing and systems in the future. It’s ironic that I had to wait until now to speak freely about the awesome people and approaches to problem solving that I witnessed.
I’m also taking the opportunity to write for a few publications. The Packet Pushers Human Infrastructure Magazine have published an article of mine and NetworkComputing.com will soon publish a blog post of mine. I’m heading to Berlin for Cisco Live Europe 2016 from 15th thru 19th February as part of the TechFieldDay Extra team.
My primary challenge this year will be to grow into these new opportunities without impacting my family life significantly. I’m sure you face the same challenge. It’s been an exciting year so far and I’m excited to see how the rest of 2016 unfolds.
What changes are you planning for 2016?