New Blog, New Narrative

Allow me to re-introduce myself. I’m Chris Downie, software engineer. My focus for the past 8 years has been on front-end development, with a smattering of mobile web & iOS development. I’ve worked for companies large & small, ranging from the monoliths of Microsoft and Amazon, to my current 16-person startup, usermind.

Why does that matter? As of yesterday, I left the burgeoning tech hub of Seattle, Washington to start the next chapter of my life in Missoula, Montana.

Why Missoula?

While the true reasons are varied and complex, there are two key reasons that mostly cover it. First, it’s to have a deeper, bigger, more meaningful connection to the community around me. Second, there’s no sense in waiting to make yourself happy.

For me, I’m looking at this much like the jump from Microsoft to my first startup, decide.com. There’s less of an economy of scale, there’s less specialization, there’s less rigid structure, there’s less compartmentalization. That loss means I’ll need to do some things that I used to have done for me. I won’t have Uber to drive me around, or Postmates to pick up my food.

What I will have is a greater sense of ownership. Of seeing the people through the product. Of knowing that should I speak up, the odds of me being heard are far greater in the smaller crowd.

These are things I’ve come to love in my professional life, and now I get the chance to apply what I’ve learned to my personal life as well.

New Narrative

Aside from my personal story of why I chose to move to a smaller city, there’s also the more general story of making the transition from having a regular desk in an office to working remotely almost 100% of the time.

Much has been written about the pros & cons of working remotely. While most companies look at full-time remote workers as being not worth their investment, a few truly value the output of a skilled worker over their known location.

This will be my contribution to that discussion. A datapoint on that graph. An anecdote to show that, should you have the want & opportunity to move away from a tech hub & work remotely, that the “working remotely” bit shouldn’t be the reason you choose not to.

Welcome. It’s nice to meet you again.

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