Why I’m moving on from Wistia to Formlabs
I’m apparently a rare millennial: every time I tell someone I’ve been at the same company for 3, 4, and now 5 years, I’m met with amazement. It’s no accident that I’ve worked at the same company for 5 years. I really love Wistia. My colleagues are all smart, fun, strange people who push me to be the best version of myself. I believe in the Wistia product and the community that’s formed around it. Even though I started at Wistia fresh out of college, without much to compare my own job with other than friends’ anecdotes from theirs, I knew I was in a unique, lucky place.
I learned a lot at Wistia about what my non-negotiables are: I really value autonomy, trust, and flexibility. I’d rather be in a chaotic environment where I can make my own decisions and act quickly than an overly-hierarchical or rigidly-structured one where I have to rely on other people too much. On the flip side of that, I really value having coworkers who are willing to help and teach one another, people who I genuinely admire.
Because I’ve been in the same place for 5 years, and I wasn’t distinctly unhappy (in fact, I work at a place where I get plenty of random messages from people asking me to help them get jobs there), I’ve gotten a lot of messages in the last few days since announcing that I’m changing jobs asking why I made that decision. Here’s an attempt to break it down…
There’s inherent value in change and discomfort
After 5 years at Wistia, I was among a handful of people who have been there for a really long time and end up answering a lot of questions from other employees, about the company’s voice, tone, and messaging in particular. I can safely say I had a big part in shaping those aspects of the brand and have an encyclopedic knowledge of what content exists in the Wistiasphere and what’s historically worked well or tanked and why.
This is empowering in some ways: it means that any learning I do in discovery projects I take on will probably positively affect the knowledge of the whole organization. But in other ways, it’s also limiting: I had reached a point where it took a lot of work for me to feel truly uncomfortable. I could take on new tasks and learn new skills, but when it came to writing and research, there wasn’t a whole lot to work on that felt truly outside my comfort zone.
When I was working on projects during my interview process at Formlabs, I felt energized in a way I hadn’t felt in a while. A blend of fear and intimidation and possibility that lends to a particular focused mania, with every question leading to 10 new questions and about a hundred browser tabs open at any given moment. It’s an energy that I absolutely felt many times at Wistia, but that became increasingly rare over time, because I got to know the industry and product so well. Am I absolutely terrified by the vast amount of learning ahead of me? For sure. But I’m also excited to embrace the energy, drive, and personal growth that comes with that fear.
Formlabs gets me closer to where I want to be
If I’m being honest about where I’d like to be 5–10 years from now, I’d ultimately like to end up leading a creative team or directing creative projects. Being involved in the collaborative creation of a really great final experience or product is what’s most exciting for me, and I draw a lot of energy, joy, and fulfillment from working with others to push our respective creative skills together, whether it’s in the realm of writing, design, video, or a blend of different formats, to create products and interactive experiences that are useful for real people.
My new role at Formlabs allows me to work on content as part of a creative team. At Wistia, I’ve always been able to work very closely with designers and video producers, but I found myself moving growing in a direction that pushed me further from, instead of closer to, creative, because of how the team was restructuring and growing. This was a cool learning experience, and I picked up a lot of new knowledge about marketing automation, metrics, and collaboration with a sales team, but if sales/growth → marketing → creative is something of a spectrum, I was finding myself inching closer to the sales/growth side of things and further and further from creative.
When I stepped back, I realized I probably wasn’t going to be able to evolve in the direction I was most interested in or have the biggest impact possible at this particular company while learning what I wanted to learn, given the needs of the company at this particular stage.
I found another bunch of weirdos
Even as I began to recognize that I felt a bit too comfortable at Wistia, there were a lot of things I was afraid to let go of, the most important of which was the company culture. I loved being part of an organization where people felt free to be themselves, and where I was surrounded by all kinds of different breeds of weird and nerdy. I loved being part of an organization that constantly revisited its values and where I was never afraid to openly voice my concerns to leadership. I loved being part of an organization that trusted its employees to work on the most impactful things and to get that work done in the way that worked best for them.
I didn’t think I’d ever find that in another organization, and a couple times, when other companies reached out to me and tried to recruit me for roles there, I’d chat with them and realize very early that something was missing in the realm of culture or product. Organizations with great cultures weren’t working to solve problems that especially excited me, and organizations solving interesting problems didn’t excite me culturally. A lot of the same things that excited me about Wistia excite me about Formlabs. Their culture, by all accounts, seems to have many of the qualities that kept me happy at Wistia. Their product is really cool, people love it, and it’s applicable to a ton of different industries and use cases.
It says a lot about Wistia that in considering a move, I always knew that I would need to find another Wistia, a goal that seemed almost impossible, and, in fact, prevented me from actively job hunting, because it seemed so impossible for anything else to live up to that standard. My “another Wistia” might look very different from someone else’s, but Wistia set the benchmark extremely high for any future position I might ever consider. Wistia’s hiring for a bunch of roles right now and I’d totally encourage anyone to apply if you’re in the market for something new.
Leaving a really great job is always going to be bittersweet, but if my excitement didn’t outweigh my fears, I wouldn’t have made this decision. I’m looking forward to a new chapter at Formlabs!