Blogging again and Building again

October 2, 2007

Well, as some seem to know, I’ve left Google. And now that I’ve left, that old entrepreneurial fever has struck me again and I’m off working on a startup. Google is a wonderful company and I had a great time there and had a lot of fun building something I really believe in, Google Health, which I think has a great potential to change the way consumers manage their health when it launches. Still, for me, it is time to start a new company and I’m off and running.

I’ve been dusting off extremely rusty engineering habits and writing code. Not elegant code to be frank. Just enough to think through my ideas. Some extremely clear-headed and smart people can work out everything abstractly in their heads and then just go and implement it. I’m not one of them. Watching me write code is like watching an indecisive sculptor work with clay. I shape it. I look. I wince. I reshape it. I play with it. I wince some more. I ask my friends, nurse my wounds, and then reshape it yet again. And so on. Constant iterative development. It takes three tries before it is even close to the way it should be, best case. I think it is totally worth it. The arguments and design decisions are just way more concrete and tested.

However, I don’t delude myself that the code I’m writing is anything but prototype code. Prototype code is really sneaky. It sort of works and it is easy to kid oneself and that it is just a step from this code to the working product. Especially today with Amazon’s EC2 and DreamHost and frameworks and LAMP and Ruby on Rails where it seems that as soon as it works, you can scale it. In point of fact, I think the usual facts apply and it is still a long hard slog to get from prototype to product, but it is useful to get agreement about what needs to be done when, which kinds of people are required and when, and as a tool to chat with partners and potential employees and potential customers before the real thing is done. All that being said, Smart engineers welcome!! 🙂

Oh yeah, what am I building? Actually, I’m going to keep that to myself for a bit. Come work with me and you can find out, but otherwise, you’ll need to wait.

And why am I blogging again? Well, when at Google I noticed a strange thing. If I wrote a controversial post (and if you look at my sidebar on old posts you’ll see a few) people assumed I spoke for Google and got really annoyed at Google which wasn’t fair and was embarrassing since Google was treating me really well. So I desisted. But now, it is my company and I’m willing to take some of those risks. It is the great thing about it being your company. I’m always fascinated by what I learn. I should say that not all my posts will be about XML and databases or even AJAX. I do still care about technology and will write about it when the mood hits me, but I’m equally likely to write a review of a great book I’ve read or a complaint about the way the health system in this country works and what problems we’re running into building this startup.

And why did I switch URL’s from Sheer laziness. WordPress just makes it so easy and I liked some of the features.

Glad to be back in more ways than one.