Yesterday was my last day at Facebook. After 9 1/2 years it was high time for a change. I dropped the news on twitter/fb and thought now it would be nice to answer the question of "what's next?" that friends are wondering.
I myself have wondered sometimes what the life after Facebook could look like for different folks. FB is one of the best places to be a software engineer, if not the best. To me, the path to FB took 10 years of upwards movement. DIY sites for other folks, then an lonely web dev at an enterprise company (Allianz), then immigration, start over at a web design studio, then enterprise (SAP), another immigration, Yahoo!, finally Facebook. Always moving to a greener pasture. For other engineers, FB is their first ever paid gig out of college. Where do you go from there, once you start at the top?
Moving to another big Silicon Valley company (where engineers are treated better than anywhere else) is at best a lateral move.
And then there's the bubble you're inside of, when working for a FAANG company. The bubble of the big tech co and then an even smaller bubble of the specific company with its super advanced tools you learn to rely on. I've read somewhere that ex-Googlers commonly starting a company spent most of the time initially recreating the great tools they're used to use in their work.
So, if moving up is not an option (there's no up), how about going different? And how different? I'd say as different as possible. What's different from a big Silicon Valley company? Small. Outside Silicon Valley. And not even a company. In other words going solo. Be more entrepreneurial. Explore a few ideas. And step outside the bubble.
I'm taking music classes in Santa Monica College and in UCLA Extension (film scoring program). As part of my journey from self-taught guitarist to someone who can read and write music, I've being cobbling together online exercises at onlinemusictools.com. Usually a quick CRA done in an evening to help me practice for this week's quiz.
While this site will always be out and free, I'd like to take the time to rebuild it properly, with more tools, especially for teachers, tracking progress, etc. Explore more of the WebAudio and WebMIDI APIs. I even got a domain for it - teoriamusica.com.
Is this space too crowded? Is it now the best time for online educational aid? Who knows. The thing is building something takes time and the chances of success are higher if you stick with it. And chances of sticking with it are higher if you work on something you love.
A friend has this other startup idea. How can you manage a product (not a project) so that business/design/engineering folks are on the same page throughout the (hopefully long and always messy) life of a product? sorty.app might have an answer. Exciting, isn't it? So I'll join my friend and we'll build this vision together.
Leaving the big tech co bubble may end up meaning you move to a smaller bubble after the initial "hello world!" exploratory phase. Your own bubble. Helping other companies OTOH exposes you to exciting new tech. And I want to do this too. So if you need Web Perf or JS consulting, hire me.
And then can I move beyond books and expand to video or other educational products? Possibly. People tell me they've learned a lot from me. Even changed jobs and as a result have better lives after reading (house, marriage, etc). What an honor! I don't think I'm an exceptional teacher, but maybe I'm providing an interesting angle. Often with programming concepts different people need different ways of explaining to grasp a concept.
Web perf community
I want to do more research that hopefully helps more people with various size web sites and skills. And share more with the community. If you're running a conference, talk to me.
There is much to study and practice when it comes to music. Expect to see (erm, hear) me finally starting to finish and release music.
So many ideas
Programming is an interesting activity. There are so many options of things to do.
Am I missing something? Sure. Am I oversubscribing? Possibly. But I want to explore various directions and see what happens. And if nothing works and I realize I've made a mistake leaving Facebook? Well, nothing is irreversible. If it turns out self-employment, lifestyle-business, etc. is not my cup of tea, then I'll gladly join a new team with great people building cool tech.