This week marked six months that I’ve been doing contract work for Bit.ly and while I’ve loved my time there and had a blast, I’ve decided to end my contract so I can focus a bit more time and energy on building knowabout.it into a real business.
Before I completely move on to my next thing though, I wanted to take few quick moments to reflect on my time with Bit.ly…I’m not sure if anyone else will find this interesting, but I’m going to share the story anyway.
So it really all started thanks to a lunch I had with Terry Jones as I was transitioning out of Catchafire and into, well, I wasn’t really sure what next…as luck would have it, I met up with Terry at the BetaWorks offices and he introduced me to John Borthwick prior to us heading out (and dropped a mention in my favor - cause Terry’s awesome like that).
The idea from the start was that I would just be there as a consultant for a couple of months while I figured out what I was going to do next for real (I knew I wanted to get in at the founding level of a startup, I just didn’t know what that startup would be just yet).
I was also really interested in learning how Bit.ly handles the massive amount of data passing through it’s systems everday and I had been a big fan of BetaWorks from afar for awhile (and as if I needed a third reason, it was a chance to work with Hilary Mason – which would have been enough of a reason on it’s own).
So it was truly a perfect storm for me, and I jumped at the chance…and primarily because I was having so much fun and doing interesting things…‘a couple of months’ quickly turned into six months. (In fact, I could easily have seen myself settling into Bit.ly as a career if I wasn’t so determined to build something of my own.)
Anyway, throughout my time at Bit.ly I got to work with a bunch of really great people (besides Hilary who I can never say enough good things about)…three of which I think really stand out:
Jehiah Czebotar - Jehiah is what I would call a developer’s developer. He’s constantly putting out useful code (useful to the rest of us developer-types I mean) and is really one of the secret weapons that keeps Bit.ly up and kicking ass 24/7. Let me put it this way…if you’ve got a 'tech’ question…Jehiah is the guy you go to.
Matt LeMay - Matt walks the fine line of techie. and business person. That is, he’s a people person. He deals with the customers so the engineers don’t have to. Don’t you get that? What the hell is wrong with you people?! Seriously though, Matt’s super sharp and really *is* a people person…but he’s also got a bit of a techie background…which makes him pretty much awesome on multiple levels (and the guy can sing too - check out it out!)
Michael Young - Michael is heading up the news.me team and is the kind of guy I could spend hours with talking strategy and potential features with. He’s a huge part of the reason the news.me app is going to be such a big hit when it comes out…but you’ll just have to try the app when it’s released to see if I’m right ;-)
There were of course lots of other great people around the BetaWorks offices, and I could probably go on for hours talking them all up (but I won’t, don’t worry). In the end, all I can say is that it was a really great six months for me, all the people are super smart, talented people and if you ever get a chance to work with any of the BetaWorks companies (Bit.ly especially) - jump at it.
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Kevin has a day job as CTO of Veritonic and is spending nights & weekends hacking on Share Game Tape. You can also check out some of his open source code on GitHub or connect with him on Twitter @falicon or via email at kevin at falicon.com.
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