After 6½ years I have left Canonical. From the initial release of Ubuntu 4.10 I have been a huge fan. When the Ubuntu Art Team started I was one of the first members. When there was a web re-design contest, I entered and won! I loved being part of the community and contributing to make Ubuntu better.
In 2006 when I had an opportunity to join Canonical as the Ubuntu.com webmaster it was like a dream come true. I jumped at the opportunity and I’m glad I did. There were about 40 people working at Canonical at the time and I loved the startup atmosphere. It would have been hard for me to imagine at that time ever wanting to leave, but alas, the time came.
As the company grew from about 40 to almost 600 the needs changed. When I began they needed a webmaster who could do everything web related. In the later years the need changed to those who could specialize. My specialty is front-end web development, but Canonical likes for front-end devs to be in the London office along with the graphic design team.
Relocating was not an option for me so I transferred to a team of back-end developers. While I can get the job done, with excellence even, my passions have been to focus on front-end development. I love jQuery, Backbone.js, CSS3, Twitter Bootstrap, Ajax, client-side storage and other such front-end technologies.
I also am a big people person. Through my work at my church and the community I’ve found great pleasure in leading people. In every area of my life I’ve enjoyed a position of leadership, and yet the opportunity to do so at Canonical was out of reach to me.
And so with a heavy heart I have moved on. My last day at work was Nov 8th, though due to vacation time my final date is actually Nov 23rd.
For the last year I’ve dabbled with an idea for my own business. I’ve made relationships that could lead to contract or consulting work. I’ve connected with developers who would like to work with me on projects. So for now, that is what I am doing. I’m also applying for full-time jobs with companies I think are doing great things in order to keep my options open.
I’m grateful that my time at Canonical not only benefitted me but brought glory to God. I’ve had numerous people who knew about my Christianity approach me and thank me for being public about it. However two specific incidents stand out, one at the beginning of my time there, and one at the end.
In the fall of 2006 there was an “all-hands” meeting, where all of the approximately 70 employees at Canonical at the time met in San Francisco to get to know each other face to face. We were asked to bring an item that was personal to us, though it was not clear why we should do so.
At a “get to know you” dinner we were asked to place our items into a bag and then the hostess pulled out each item and the company tried to guess who it belonged to. My item was a small bible that my wife had given me.
When the bible was pulled from the bag several people, including Mark, shouted out my name.
The later event was when, In my parting e-mail to the company I referenced a quote that started with “Lead by example…” One of my co-workers, Selene Scriven, said,
“This seems like a fitting quote, because you’ve always been a good example — particularly in how you choose to interact with people. I strive to be so courteous, lighthearted, and actively interested in others.”
I know I’ve not been perfect, and I can remember several incidents when I did not represent Christ appropriately, but it feels good to know in the end I did OK.
One of the things I pray for often is for my actions to represent Christ in a positive light so that I can bring glory to God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Canonical, I love you and I pray for your continued success. The coming years will be a change from a plan of unprecedented growth and experimentation, to a time of focus on the areas where you lead. Change is hard for all but I’ve never met such a talented and inspired group of people in my life. If it can be done, you can do it.
And to God, I love you and pray that you will help me to influence more people and that all of my actions would direct people to you and that your name would be praised everywhere that I have influence.
Now begins the next chapter of my life.