Today is my last day at Microsoft.
It’s been quite a journey from my first visit to Redmond three years ago. But after a summer internship and 18 months on the job full time, it’s time for Microsoft & me to part ways.
This may come as a surprise to many of you who knew how passionate I was about the company and my future there. I was one of the first people who’d enthusiastically show you the features of my Windows Phone, and would even use “Bing” as a verb. It was a place I saw myself for the long haul. I’ll write again sometime soon with some more of the details around my decision to leave, which I think could be helpful for Microsoft’s leaders, recruiters, and prospective employees to hear.
In short, I left because I just wasn’t able to find a way to make a meaningful contribution. I had great teammates, had a wonderful manager, and the hours were reasonable relative to the pay. But while Microsoft is at a critical moment of transition, and has many interesting problems to solve, I just wasn’t able to find a role where I felt I could make a difference. And there’s too much work to be done in the world, too many problems left unsolved, to not make a contribution.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Microsoft is a bad place to work, or that I couldn’t imagine a scenario in which I returned someday farther down the road. Microsoft is a fascinating institution, one that I would argue has contributed more to the widespread adoption of technology than any other company in history. Few organizations can set a goal as audacious as “a PC on every desk and in every home,” and achieve it in the developed world within a couple of decades. It has truly been a privilege to experience working at such a momentous company, and with so many wonderful people.
While I’m disappointed that my career at Microsoft didn’t go the way I had hoped, I couldn’t be more thrilled about my next adventure: I’ll be joining Simply Measured, a social media analytics company right here in Seattle. I’ll be bringing my passion for technology, data, and building businesses and products to the social media industry, which I’ll be writing more about in the posts to come. I’m exhilarated to be part of the journey Simply Measured is on.
Let me leave you with some words of wisdom that I’ve been telling myself a lot during this process. From the man who set the standard for classy exits when no one would have faulted him bitterness, Conan O’Brien signed off saying:
Don’t be cynical — it doesn’t lead anywhere.
Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get.
But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.
To the next set of amazing things.