A new year, and a new job

Officially speaking, I have a job. It's kind of a weird story. After getting let go from my last job in a startup, I thought I was going to be through with that sort of company. The drama in that company was a lot worse than the politics of larger companies. It was still a positive experience, I met some very cool people. I can say that I have a Facebook page (although I can't really say why, because I'm not sure why). And I definitely learned a great deal.

On my way out, I sent an email to a guy who covers Chicago High Tech Startups and VC (Venture Capital). "Did you know a bunch of us got laid off?" He'd been covering the business triangle between our Founder, CEO and owner. He asked for details, but really enough had been said. He published my Email verbatim.

The owner of IfByPhone happened to read that Email. He asked for my resume, and then brought me in for an interview. For sales. If you don't know me, really you couldn't think of anything farther from my career path. I'm a technology guy. In a real way, sales is the dark side.

But I met with him and the person in charge of sales. We all liked each other, but I wasn't sure (and neither were they), that I could really pull off the sales thing. Cold calling? Following up a lot?

So we agreed to sleep on it. Meanwhile I interviewed with a company who had a consulting gig that was right up my alley. A three-foot putt. Growth Potential, income, a 5 year contract at the client. Easy. No other candidates.

A couple weeks went by, and I didn't hear from the consulting company. Holidays and the like. I went to an open house at Microsoft. I know a bunch of people who used to or still work for MS, and to a person, they all dig it. Very positive things to say about the environment and the company. I left fairly excited.

But then I got to thinking. It's Microsoft. It'd be like working for IBM in 1980. They're successful purely by momentum. They're so successful that it hurts their innovation as a matter of fact. It'd be working for big brother.

A couple days later I got a call from IfByPhone - 'want to come in and talk, we have some ideas.' In the mean time, I opened up an account with them, and played around with their technology. That's when it all really hit me. I had an epiphany.

I loved the product. It's one thing to intellectually understand what a product does, but it's another to use it, and really see what it can do. I started to think about the different applications of the technology, ways to show value to resellers, direct customers, ways the product could be enhanced... The last piece of the puzzle was my career direction.

What I do is Operations. I keep Technology companies up and running. I make the day to day functioning smooth, cheap, scalable, and efficient. But that's a hard sell up. I have had some pretty solid ideas in the past, and when I tried to sell my boss, it would be a short discussion before he had the glassy-eyed look. Maybe it is my lack of ability to sell up, maybe it was him, hell, maybe the ideas weren't as great as I thought. But I'd come close to my limit in that area.

My options were basically 'manage more people and get away from technology' or 'get closer to technology and commit to re-learning everything every 6 months.' Neither seemed to have much upside to me. Sales does. Sales puts me in the business world, not the technical world.

This is the first time I've actively looked for a job since...1997 or so. I wanted to make sure that I got the right fit. And everything really came together.

I couldn't be more excited.

I'll post more about the product over the next few days.


MonkeyDragon said...

funny I got a facebook page too and I don't know why . . . and of the 10 people I know on facebook you are one of them - odd

the job seems like a positive way to start the new year - congrats!

cocajo said...

Congratulations, Khyle! I am very excited for you. How ironic that you also landed a job on the sales side, as did I. I am really enjoying mine so far, and hope you do as well! Happy 2008 to you guys!