Is it possible to be both really excited and sad at the same time? After this past Friday, my answer to that question is yes.
I’ve been struggling for a few days now to find the right way to express my perspective about the recent changes at Fanzter. A lot of people have texted, messaged, or emailed me various congratulations (thank you all, once again!). To the last one, I’ve demurred,”It’s not that big of a deal.”
But it is.
I am sad because Aaron’s departure marks the real end of an era here. Startups always take on the personality of their founders, and Fanzter is no exception. We are determined, scrappy, and ruthlessly focused on quality, especially when compared to our size. This is almost entirely Aaron’s influence and personality. He’s a very talented guy, and ESPN is lucky to have him back.
There’s also a personal connection: Aaron is how I ended up at ESPN and in CT. My career prior to ESPN was enterprisey things, with a lot of fun software projects on the side. Without Aaron finding some of them, liking them, and convincing me to move down to CT, my career probably looks very different. Heck, I’d probably be a solutions architect for some giant company (no offense if that’s your job, but it’s not for me). Instead, I got to build stuff for the best sports web site anywhere, got to be on stage for an Apple event (look for fat Sujal in the background – I’m driving the demo), and got to build some of the best sports apps for iOS & Android.
For those (and many other) reasons, the “Thanks for everything” I said to him on Friday was heartfelt and beyond sincere. I really appreciated having Aaron as a colleague. We’re going to miss his day-to-day influence here. There’s really no other way to say it.
So, that’s the sad part.
The excited part is more obvious and easier to explain. On a personal level, it’s a new challenge and a whole new experience and perspective inside our business. For the company, Fanzter is in a great position. Business is good. There’s a new product launch on the immediate horizon so we’re in a good position to grow from there. Even the pain of learning how to deal with insurance, payroll, etc. is worth it knowing what we’re capable of building.
So, it’s going to be a good, fun ride for as long as we can keep executing. And we’ll keep executing. That’s my promise to Aaron and our team. There’s really nothing holding us back.
That, obviously, is the exciting part. Looking forward to the rest of 2013 and beyond.
Side note: I just found that MacWorld article (or maybe I forgot about it?) — cool! I wish I had screenshots of the Baseball Monitor widget. It was a fun project. I’m also surprised I’ve never written up the “How I got hired at ESPN” story, actually. ↩