Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Leaving Yahoo! for Asana

Yesterday the USCIS returned receipt of my H-1B petition, so I gave my official notice. This is my final week at Yahoo!. On Monday I start an exciting journey with Asana. They're working on task management, which is the boring part. The exciting parts are the people, the tech and the culture. I had been talking with them since long before the Yahoo! acquisition closed, so it's great to finally see this through.

So why task management? Although I said that's the boring part, it's not entirely true. It's a crowded market, and the Asana co-founders come from building task management software at Google and Facebook. They know what they're doing, and they're getting amazing feedback. Remember how Gmail felt a bit like a desktop application when it launched in 2004? As the web has progressed, it no longer feels like it. Asana does. It's their Javascript framework which makes it much easier to implement zero friction web applications. One of the Meteor co-founders came from Asana.There are so many more reasons I'm beyond excitement to join them. The last time I remember being this excited was weirdly enough restarting my masters project after my initial supervisor resigned. The people are amazing. Did I mention they were co-founded by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz? He was the first person I met there. He convinced me to interview. Their tech is amazing. I already mentioned the Luna framework. Read all the other stuff we get to play with here. And their culture? They work really hard on finding the right fit when interviewing candidates. I believe that's why they put in so much effort to get me to join. I believe that leads to a very tight group who work together amazingly well. It's hard to convey what this culture means. I just feel it every time I go there. I haven't come across a more perfect fit. That's huge for me. A few things I could touch on is how transparent they are (see their Quora answers), how much they care about their employees (a different type of caring to the Google's and Facebook's), and how they encourage people to get involved in all aspects of the business they show an interest in.

Perhaps the most import reason for me though, is that it's a far more suitable career choice that I expect will prepare me much better to found my own startup. It's also I place I can see myself staying long enough to get a green card to leave open the option of starting up here if I so decide. It complements my Loki experience. That was with a small, young, inexperienced team. They relied on me for many things. Some things which I wouldn't dare put in my hands. We were just too small. I loved it that way. We didn't really grow much though. With Asana, I'll be working with people who have founded startups before, most of them have 10+ years experience, and they're on a solid trajectory so it's a risky but less risky shot at crazy growth one expects from a startup. They're also in it for the long haul, which means no acquisition.

Yahoo! was fun. It was eye opening. It changed my perception on looking at so-called dying brands from the outside. Anyone who says Yahoo! is dying is ignorant. Look at their earnings reports. Look at their stock price since Marissa took over. She has also shown how one person can turn a company around from within. Frequently the topic of conversation would be how shit it was before, how the people who stuck it through and are still there are the true believers. The people who work there are great too. My antispam team could easily be transplanted into Google or Facebook. They'd probably do a better job.

It is terribly difficult saying goodbye. It was no easy decision, and I will never really know if it is the right one. Heck, is there even a right one? Whatever could have been at Yahoo!, I am thrilled, super excited, hell I can't describe it in this blog post how much I can't wait to get started at Asana. I looked into well over fifty companies, spoke to a couple dozen and interviewed at about a dozen (or more, definitely more if you include acquisition interviews). I sought something super special, and I found it! It's been forever. I first met Dustin in February. It's good to wrap this up and get this out there. 

Huge thanks to everyone who listened to my rambles as I tried to make a decision! There are too many of you for me to name them all, but the main helpers include Jason, Henk, Michiel and my parents - you're all awesome!

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