Last week certainly was interesting. On Wednesday morning I was abruptly informed that, along with my VP and two engineers, that our services were no longer needed at Gigaom.
While unravelling my personal social profiles from the various company pages I had set up for Gigaom, it was Facebook’s robotic bit of micro-copy that really brought it home, “You no longer have a role on Gigaom.” Harsh.
Japanese has this wonderful phrase, iro iro (いろいろ) which means roughly, “lots of things that I’d rather not go into now but feel free to ask me over drinks” and I’ll leave it at that. Nothing dramatic, just a sudden shift of course that made it clear that it was time to move on. I’ll leave it at that.
I had a great run at Gigaom and I thank Daniel Raffel for the introduction and Paul Walborsky and Om Malik for their support while working there. I joined when Gigaom was a collection of blogs with a nascent premium subscription business. Gigaom Research is now a major driver of revenue. As a Product Manager and later Director of Product the team tackled a number of projects of which I’m proud.
- acquired and integrated paidcontent.org
- redesigned Gigaom, Gigaom Research, and Gigaom Events as responsive
- replaced the e-commerce back end
- redesigned the gigaom.com post page and front page (twice)
- rolled out a major re-brand across all properties
- re-configured the Gigaom Research subscriber acquisition funnel
- launched Analyst Connect, a simple way to connect to Gigaom Research analysts
- launched Data Connect, a charts-centric view into Gigaom Research
- launched Gigaom Search, a faceted search engine across the 15 year archive
- launched Gigaom Alerts, a free tag-based notification service
In addition to the projects above, I am also pleased with my contribution to setting up how the Product Team is run. As the company grew through the critical 50 employee mark where unstructured cross-department communications begin to break down, the daily stand-up, weekly Dev Diary, Friday Show-and-Tell presentation, and quarterly Product Roadmaps all played an important role in keeping things on track. The methodology was simple and I think that’s what led to its success.
The engineers greased communication even further by migrating off our group Skype chat into HipChat rooms with integrations into GitHub and a script that could spawn a Google Hangouts on demand. We even had a Sonos-driven alarm that would play Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up on queue to remind us all when it was time for our daily check-in. Sometimes it’s the little things.
It’s always bittersweet to leave a place of employment, like the breakup of a band. There’s a lot of talent there and I’ll miss working with them. I will also personally miss the vortex of activity that comes with working at an organization that takes in the news of the day and validates, organizes, and distributes it back to its readers.
Gigaom is a premium content business with increasingly valuable content and services made available to customers at its higher tier customers. I often tell people that the most valuable content is in the internal Gigaom newsfeeds, the price of which is full time employment. As of now, I am unsubscribed.