why i did not stay

oh, you heard about the acquisition.


it was a sunday evening in late October. i was in new york city when one of the founders called to tell me that they were really, truly selling the company. i was sitting in the green phone booth on the silent floor at the Recurse Center, staring at the ceiling, wondering how it had come to this point—wondering what to do when i couldn't return to the place that was home.

we hung up and i immediately called one of my teammates—someone who has also turned out to be one of my best friends; someone who has seen me through many difficult decisions—and told him that i just knew that i couldn't stay. i think he knew instantly that i meant it; that i was not going to change my mind.

up until that point i had known that it was a possibility, but this was the first time that it was inescapable. at that point i did not know what i would do next. but i had spent all of autumn seeking clarity, and in doing so found enough light and confidence to know that i was going to be okay wherever i went.

these are some things which are true: that some of my teammates have turned out to be some of my favourite people, that i had been involved with the team for much longer than the time i had actually been an employee, that i was emotionally invested. that there was a lot of money on the table. that an acquisition would have been a positive career highlight. that lots of people would have given up a lot of things to be in my position. that i was lucky.

these things are also true: this was a team which i have loved, for a long time, from the very beginning, with all of my heart, and it was not easy. it was also the only option.

the truth is this: i wanted to work on the most interesting problems i could find. i wanted to work with extraordinary people. i wanted so much more adventure. i wanted to be challenged; out of my comfort zone. i wanted to take on unsolved problems. i wanted autonomy. i wanted storytelling. and i knew i wasn't going to find these things by staying and being comfortable and taking the big tech company salary and the big tech company perks and working on commerce problems.

that being said. these things are also true: that the above things are all fine things to want, that i am incredibly thankful to have been given the option to be part of it, that i think they will build things which are likely good, that i am thankful for the time we spent together and for the way they changed my life, that i still love them lots, and that this was the only thing i could have done.

i hope that explains why i did not stay.

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