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Posts tagged with 'career'

Heuristic thinking

March 31, 2014 mgroves 0 Comments
Tags: personal career

My new employer is Heuristic Solutions, and I am starting as the Software Solutions Lead today.

Matthew D. Groves Heuristic Solutions business card

(I blurred the phone numbers and email address to avoid spam, but if you want to know what they are, just contact me).

Heuristic Solutions made me an offer that was just too good to turn down. We are a very small consulting firm, but also a product company. Heuristic Solutions is the company behind Learning Builder, a leading online credentialing management platform. However, I won't be on the product team. Instead, I'm coming on to help grow the consulting practice. In my view, a consultant company that also builds and sells a product (or a product company that also has a consulting practice, depending on how you look at it) is in a very strong position. I won't go into it too much, but imagine the talent that you can develop and attract when you can offer experience in a variety of technologies and industries, and then apply that experienced talent to your own product. And, more practically, think about the diversification of revenue sources.

Anyway, the opportunity to lead the consulting practice for a company positioned like Heuristic is positioned is just something that I couldn't say no to. I'll still be working remotely (though probably travelling a bit more than I was with Zimbra). Just like when I started with Telligent, I'm a little scared! I have some pretty ambitious goals for myself and for Heuristic, and I've left one of the best jobs of my career to take on a whole bunch of new responsibilities and risks.

However, it's a challenge that I think I'm ready for. I'll be a coworker with the inimitable Seth Petry-Johnson (though he's on the product side), and after extensive talks with founder Christopher Butcher, I'm very happy about the Heuristic philosophy and the direction that he wants to take Heuristic.

(I'm even fond of the company name: Heuristic Solutions. In software, there is no silver bullet that solves everything; there is a instead a series of heuristics that usually represent the optimal course of action. These heuristics almost never become "laws", and always remain open to augmentation.)

Leaving Telligent

March 28, 2014 mgroves 0 Comments
Tags: personal career

Over three years ago in August 2010, my life changed drastically. I was working as a consultant for a consultant company that I like (and still like), with team members that I like (and still like), but for a project and client that I haaaaaaaated. I was miserable, and even my wife could tell. Though some good things eventually came out of my experience on that project, I couldn't wait to move on to a new client.

However, that time never came. Jim Holmes tweeted that his employer (at the time) was hiring a developer for a remote work position. I had some reservations at the time about working from home, but I figured...why not? I'll try something that really scares me. After a rigorous interview process with Jayme Davis, Josh Ledgard, and many others (Did I mention Rob Howard, founding member of Microsoft's original ASP.NET team?), they let me become part of the Telligent Analytics product development team.

Telligent Logo

Yes, Telligent. TELLIGENT. Not Telerik. Telerik is a different software company that makes very different products. Jim Holmes worked for Telligent then, but he works for Telerik now (belay that, he just left Telerik and is moving on to something else). Yes, I realize that makes it more confusing.

The twin frontiers of working from home and working on a product team were very challenging. Keeping up with a team of really sharp developers like Scott Watermasysk, Kevin Cunningham, Jose Lema, and others was difficult, but rewarding. I learned a lot, and I helped to ship some products. I got to work with Jim Holmes(!), and a great QA team including Miles Dunn. I annoyed Michael Monteleone, Wyatt Preul, and Ben Tiedt on a regular basis. I could list a dozen more awesome employees of Telligent (past and present) that I got to work with.

I also had a major life event while working from home: two broken shoulders caused by a major seizure. Telligent was incredibly accomodating, and if I weren't already working from home, my life could have been affected a whole lot worse.

Telligent eventually merged with (purchased) Zimbra from VMWare, and took their name.

Zimbra logo 

This opened up a whole lot of amazing possibilities with email, database technologies, integration, and analytics. I got the opportunity to present a session at The Big Social, which is the annual Telligent/Zimbra conference. I helped to ship a major new release of the Analytics product--version 4.0, which was rebuilt entirely to take advantage of the Zimbra Community platform.

I got to work on a code base where I had plenty of input on design decisions, and I got to work with support helping customers on a regular basis.

I could absolutely see myself retiring as a Zimbra employee. Everyone I've worked with at Zimbra has been sharp, kind, professional, and if you are reading this blog post now wondering if you should apply to work there: yes, you should.

However, another opportunity presented itself that I just couldn't say no to. More on that next.

No Weekly Concerns this week, but don't worry: it'll be back next friday.

Matthew D. Groves

About the Author

Matthew D. Groves lives in Central Ohio. He works remotely, loves to code, and is a Microsoft MVP.

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