On April the 9th I officially left the startup I’ve been working at for almost 3 years, that’s more than 20 “startup-years”. It was sudden, latter events precipitated such discontinuation of my collaboration in a collaboration platform app. Looking at what it’s ahead in my life, I still think it was for the best interest for everyone involved. So long, my dear colleagues, I will miss you, I already do. Here’s a little tale about how I lived in this amazing startup.
It was easter 2011 when I first spoke with Pablo (@micho), founder of the company and now a good friend to me. The company was starting to grow, about to reach 100k users, and in need of some UI/UX love. He had asked some friends trying to find a designer, and the guys at Codegram (@codegram) recommended me. We spoke a bit via Skype, Pablo was in San Francisco back then, and I got an assignment: rethink the app’s interface.
With an organic briefing (“we like this and that style, we want this and that”) I worked for some hours on a mockup. I loved the idea of the tool, back then I was a one-man-band-freelance, and being organized was a key too survive in that environment. I also loved the style that they wanted: “make it look as a native app”. So users won’t have to learn new patterns, new hierarchy… I went for it, and I got the job. Otherwise this will be just fantasy.
So they liked the proposal, and they offered me a steady income of work and money. And I specially remember someone saying “I don’t know if we will have enough work for you for long…”. And that wasn’t a sarcasm. It was naive, though.
I worked as a freelance for the company for a while, doing this and that the rest of the time, and then it became my only client. The previous interface was simple enough for the tool, but as the app grew, complexity appeared; more features needed more designs; new designs needed specific UI elements; and so on. After more than a year as a freelance in Galicia and two or three visits to the main headquarters, I decided to move to Barcelona.
I ended up living with Jordi (@jordiromero), former CTO of the company (and current VP of Business Development); on the floor below the apartment of the current CTO, Pau (@masylum); who happened to be living with a former frontend developer of the company, Jack (@jackbach) and one of the lovely girls from Customer Service, Susanna.
For more than a year I worked for and lived with the company. And it was good. The ecosystem that my flatmate and neighbors brought with them was amazing. You couldn’t stop learning there, you couldn’t stop breathing app development, how to create a startup, how to design a product, how users act and react to what you offer them. This has been like a family, teachers and classmates to me.
We even threw some parties ☺
But now it’s time to say goodbye. I left the company, and later on I left the apartment, the city, the country and the continent. A great opportunity stands before me. That kind of opportunity that comes once in a life-time. I felt a void in my stomach when I thought about leaving all that behind, but it’s the only way of moving forward, growing, learning and evolving.
At the same time Susanna has left, and Jordi has moved upstairs. And the apartment we shared for almost to years is empty now. For our little group, this was the end of an era. A short period of time when our lives collided, and each other’s life spilled a bit on everyone else’s. Leaving a company you love is not easy. Imagine leaving your best friends at the same time.