On leaving Yahoo! and what’s next
After nearly five years, today is my last day at Yahoo!. It really seems like only yesterday I was blogging about my new job and packing up my Peabody, Massachusetts condo to move to California. My plan at the time was to work at Yahoo! for a year to help finish work on My Yahoo! and then evaluate if I wanted to stay in California or move back to Massachusetts. Somewhere along the line, I forgot to make that evaluation and before I knew it, years had passed.
Leaving Yahoo! is incredibly difficult for me. I moved to California without knowing anyone, and so for the past five years, Yahoo! has been my family. Almost everyone I know I met through Yahoo!, including some wonderful and inspirational mentors to whom I will be forever grateful. I was welcomed into the outstanding Yahoo! front-end community and learned so much through hallway conversations and internal talks as well as through my day job. The passion of the front-end engineers at Yahoo! is truly inspirational and is something I will remember for a very long time.
To everyone at Yahoo!: thank you for every single moment of the past five years. I’ve learned so much from all of you, and your willingness to share and educate is truly your greatest strength. Walking away from you is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, and I will continue to cheer for you and hope for your success – but from now on, I’ll do so on the sidelines.
I’m leaving Yahoo! to take a risk. Earlier this year, a few things happened that caused me to do some deep thinking about my life and what I want from it. I realized that I was in a pretty good position: I have some money saved up and no major expenses. I’m not married, don’t have kids, and don’t have a mortgage. I’m a big believer that you should strive for stability and security in life, and once you find it, take a risk and repeat the process. This seemed like the perfect time to make a big leap. So what’s next is actually a couple of things.
First, a friend had been talking about a startup idea, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. I approached him to ask if he could use my help and off we went. I’ve been working nights and weekends for several months on this idea and we’re now getting close to having something real. The things I like about this product include its simplicity, utility to the average person, and the business model. Yes, I’m speaking in generalities because we’re not ready to unleash it yet, but hopefully soon.
So I’ll be spending most of my time over the next few months working on this startup idea and trying to make it real. I’m proud to say that the team for this product is made up of several former Yahoos, which is another reason that it is so appealing. We’ve got a really great group of people working on this product, though there is room for at least one more: I’m looking for a really great back-end engineer, preferably with search experience, to join the team. If you’re interested and live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact me.
With all of the changes, there are also some things that won’t change. I’ll still be living in California (for the time being). I’ll still be a contributor to YUI and will be pushing YUI Test towards version 1.0. I’ll still be writing books and blog posts. I’ll still be speaking at conferences. And most importantly, I’ll still be working with some of the great friends I’ve made while at Yahoo!.
Hopefully five years from now I’ll look back and see this as another good decision in my life. And if not, at least it will be an interesting experience.
Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.