Well, that was a year. Starting out with a plan and then only four different jobs and conference later here we are.
I completed my contract stint up to the end of February. A good bunch of people and now the place I refer good Rails people to, the ones I can’t hire anyway. They seem to be getting the traction they wanted and just raised a monster round of funding for a Singapore-based company.
Razmig and the team are definitely onto something and they have a real shot at being a big internet name. Perhaps Singapore’s first startup success.
Starting as equal partners in March, I was ousted suddenly one July lunchtime after an SMS to bring me to the nearest Starbucks. It got a little bit unfortunately legalistic, as I had to fight my corner. Let that be a lesson: protect yourself, even if your instinct is to trust people, all business is reliant to a certain extent on the egos involved.
I ended up ok financially, as if I’d been hired on contract, but when I think about the time I’m still extremely sad. Removing my ‘presence’ as requested the morning after is among the more melancholic experiences I’ve had. I’m still proud of the work we did, but it’s coloured by the shock of the exit and the speed of my erasure.
I felt like I’d put a lot of love and effort into the products that we shipped and that we were on a great learning experience together. I was wrong. Whatever drove the ousting, I suspect I will never know. They still have a couple of very talented technical guys, so I guess more power to them.
Most importantly I lost a friend, someone who I’d looked out for and learned a lot from, from whom I have had no contact since the fateful silent latte as the other partner told me to leave.
An event unsullied by the Anideo experience was the surprising success and size of the first Ruby developers conference in South East Asia. With the help of Jason Ong & Carl Coryell-Martin and many others, the event was a huge success.
I’ve already covered it in a lot of detail, but suffice to say running it was exhausting and I got very, very drunk at the after-party: those github boys like a beer or two.
Now 2012’s version needs to be even better.
Secret Pivotal Project
I worked alongside Pivotal Labs, as I had at ViKi, on a short term MVP of another (!) video site. A great palette cleanser as I returned to what I thought would be the orignal plan, contracting gigs with some small side-products.
However that was not to be.
I’ve known Steve for years, since our Wego days and he’d been disappointed when Anideo happened, locking me in, just as he was starting out on his own venture. However the very day after the unfortunate event, we had a beer and he pitched me.
It took some time for me to be ready to commit again after the bad breakup. Turns our startups are like marriage. Another reason was the big commitment to staying in Singapore; My wife and I have been here five years. Startups are a long journey and by joining Steve as a late-founder I (and we) have commited to a good number more.
So here I am, officially CTO, officially staying and officially excited about the year to come and the team I’m putting together.
If I’ve learned one thing in 2011, it’s to roll with the punches and stand up again. That’s got to be a useful skill.