My next career
The couple of weeks that have passed since I resigned have been amazing. All the touching comments on my blog, emails, facebook and linkedin messages have been wonderful. It was an incredible community of people that together did great things and had a lot of fun. I've spent an awful lot of time reading these messages and answering as many as I could. Between all this and spending quality time with my lawyer, resigning has been a full time job (before I quit, several friends said I'd need a lawyer because "this is Oracle we're talking about"... sadly, they were right).

There's been lots of speculation on what I'm likely to do next. Darryl Taft's list covers some of the landscape, including some amusingly implausible ones :-) I truly don't know what I'm going to do next. I didn't leave Oracle because I had some next great thing to go to. I'm feeling pretty burned out and trashed, so the only thing I know for certain is that I'll be taking some time off.

These are interesting and challenging times. The global economy is showing signs of life and the technological landscape has some pretty interesting terrain, despite the apparent consolidation of the industry through a rash of acquisitions. Here in Silicon Valley, starting a company has become pretty tough: the traditional method of getting funding from venture capitalists has largely fallen apart. A couple of key factors have been the poor health of the financial markets, making exit strategies hard to come by; and the expensive and grotesque mockery that SOX compliance has become. But bootstrap funding can be workable for service and support businesses, which is a common model in the open source world. Given that a central pillar of Oracle's acquisition methodology is making job offers that involve a (often significant) salary cut, there are lots of talented folks leaving and trying to figure out what to do next in their lives. One significant positive impact looks like it's going to be the creation of a whole pile of small businesses. It's already happening, and I'm sure there will be a lot more.

Java is far from dead, it's path has become complicated, but still vibrant. I'll still be involved. Not sure how yet.

One of my personality quirks that makes my "what's next" question more difficult is that most of the things that interest me are science projects rather than sensible business plans. Instead of starting a company, I'll be having fun.

April 17, 2010