February 13th, 2009

Austin: Getting the Band back Together

Last week I was in Austin with a bunch of former Fundsxpress people celebrating the resolution of some issues surrounding the sell of FX to First data. It was a wonderful trip: I saw David and lasofia of course, also with Zane, Charles, Gregg, Cote, mhat and a few others. For various reasons, Jay, Arley and John Burns were not able to make it. However I've been working with the three of them lately.

Predictably, there was a lot of talk about getting the company back together. Well, at least getting the people back together on some new project. I was quite impressed with how successful all these people have been since FX. No one has been financially successful to the "never work again" scale or anything like that. However, all of us seem to have reached a high degree of excellence within our chosen fields. It's wonderful to see the depth of discussion whether it is a business or technical topic. For a bunch of high school students who didn't understand databases, version control, or object oriented programming, we've come a long way! Secondly, a lot of the people are working as consultants or the like.

As I mentioned, I have recently worked with John, Jay and Arley. It was a great feeling. I'm certainly one of the people who would love to see overlap in what I do and what other members of the former team did. However it's hard. Anything that happens is likely to be incremental at first: one or two of us working on a project. There are a lot of challenges to growing something like that. You need a project big enough to fund a bunch of senior people. You need something that is interesting enough to everyone. Still, it seems an interesting challenge.

To illustrate the sorts of challenges, Jay, Arley and I worked together on one project. There's a strong desire to work together again. However we're having a significant amount of difficulty understanding what it would men to join forces. Ignore finding the financial side for a moment. We're even having trouble figuring out how in a repeatable sense it would be meaningful for us all to be on the same team.

Austin was also great socially. I saw a number of people and had a wonderful time.

(no subject)

I have several blog entries I need to find time to write:
  • No Bills for Nancy—9 years later it's still the best bug I've ever run across
  • Chernobyl development: what happens when there is a complete disconnect between product management and engineering.
  • Commentary on social engineering based on an experience my mom had.
  • Quality matters: your hobby's sprintf costs us thousands.
  • And I really need to write something in Zoe's blog.
Hopefully I'll find time to work on these soon.