I’ve left. Actually I’m in the process on leaving but I am leaving. It is definitely happening. BT and I are no more; for now at least. But, what is for certain is that this is the start of something new. I’ve altered course and I’m heading off in a new, exciting, unknown direction. Before all that though I’d like to reflect a little on how I got here.

No doubts

It’d be a lie to say I’ve not been having thoughts about moving on for a while but it has been very easy to find reasons to stay. Reasons(excuses) ranging from the righteous (I believe in what we are trying to achieve) to the feeble (I am comfortable). Consumed with confusion leaving was too easy to put off, the plunge into the unknown too easy to avoid.

However, that feeling when my resignation was in, when there was no turning back. The relief was palpable, I was and still am elated. That proved to me I’d made the right decision. Now don’t get me wrong I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time at BT but the time for change had come. Since that moment I’ve not had any doubts.

The trip

I’ve been at BT for over 5 and a half years with nearly 4 of them at Osmosoft. That in itself was unexpected.

I joined on the grad scheme in 2008 after being in South America for 5 months having promised my parents I’d get a “real” job when I returned.

The first 6 months were a shock, not helped by a role not suited to my skills nor by being stuck in Ipswich (it’s not for me). I got through it. Just.

The next 12 months, although still in Ipswich (it’s really not for me), were, in stark contrast to those 6 months, a joy. I had a great time, felt I was making a valuable contribution, learnt an absolute ton and started to hone in on an embryonic answer to the dreaded “What do you want to do?” question that has been plaguing me for years. I put a lot of this down to the autonomy, freedom and remit of the role fashioned for me by my director and his right hand man; a pairing I now consider the ideal, a visionary and a details guy, it seemed to work a charm.

A chance meeting with Jeremy Ruston and Jamie Smith at a corporate event led to me joining the illustrious and merry bunch at Osmosoft. I’ve spent nearly 4 years here working on prototypes, products and services for both internal and external customers all the while extolling the virtues of embracing The Web as THE platform, being customer focussed, being part of the open source and open standard story and working in a truly agile manner. It’s been a blast, most of the time.

I’ve seen reorgs aplenty, various comings and goings, good times and bad but one thing has always stayed true and that has been Osmosoft’s unwavering faith in the web, in openness, in being agile and in getting things done. It is fair to say I’ve been well schooled.

If you’d asked me 4 years ago what the internet was about I’d've struggled to give you a decent answer. I’d've gone no further than reeling off what I used it for at the time, it would’ve been all whats rather than than any whys. It’s a little different now.

A lot of what I learnt and what has been instilled in me is fantastically captured in 2 of @psd‘s uber doodles; The Web is Agreement and The URI is the thing.

Now what?

So it’s time for a change, time for a new challenge. What, then, is next?

Always tricky to answer but I will say, although I still can’t give a definitive answer about what I want to do, I do know a lot more about what I don’t want to do. Which is a start. One day I will be able to provide an answer…

Broadly speaking it’s time for me to be part of building things again. Things I can talk about, things I can show people, things people use and things that help people. Unfortunately that has not always the case when you work, nor can it be when you work on things for internal use inside a big organisation or when your work is about advocating principles to help cause cultural shifts. You are either sworn to secrecy or it’s bloody difficult to talk about. Not everyone wants to hear me talk about the benefits of open source, about the web the great leveller and enabler, about the maker movement, etc down the pub.

That’s why the immediate future has got to be about the tangible stuff, something, a product, a service that provides value or delights people. Long term it’s about helping people use technology, particularly the web, to augment and improve their lives and businesses. It’s about things that make the world a better place for us all. But for now it’s about doing that through building and shipping useful things.

Thanks

I want to thank BT and everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with. With special thanks reserved for the lovely people that have helped me out and saved my bacon over the years. There have been plenty!

I want to echo some of Jon Lister‘s parting words, said when he left Osmosoft,

“I am an Osmosoftonian, and as an alumni I will always be an Osmosoftonian.”

That means a lot to me. I feel priviledged to have worked for Osmosoft, with all the great people and on things that matter. A big thanks has to go to those fantastic people who’ve taught me so much, encouraged me to express and explore ideas and helped me develop the foundations for a (hopefully, fingers crossed) successful and enjoyable career.

Good luck BT. Good luck Osmosoft. Good luck everybody.

2 Comments

  1. Mimo says:

    Hey Colm,

    Happy to hear you’re venturing onto new things. I see I have a couple of blog entries to catch up on, but thought I’d wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

    I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, as I have left my job, and I’m now looking for a new one. As much as putting myself out there makes me anxious – especially in a new country(Canada) given I’ve loved my past jobs as they were well tailored to my abilities, I want to have a break and just live a little.

    I thought I’d recommend travelling and working abroad. I reckon you’d love it!

  2. Colm says:

    Hey Mimo, great to hear from you. Hope you are enjoying Canada!

    I’d love to travel again, and hope to in the not too distant future, but currently I’m back working. I’ve reunited with Matt Lucht and have started at the Money Advice Service.

    Any plans to visit London anytime soon?

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