When I accepted a position with Aviato as a Software Developer, I felt like I had finally come home. Prior to accepting the role, the last several years was an island of one. Rarely working with a team. Occasionally collaborating with another developer. Mostly pushing myself to become better without any real mentorship or guidance. I felt isolated. The isolation was about to change.
Collectively, we all learned from each other and continued becoming stronger and more fluent in our craft.
Being a member of the Aviato Software Development Team was incredible. I met some fantastically smart people. The people you want to be around. They are smarter than you. They are better at their craft than you. They push you to become better. Collectively, we all learned from each other and continued becoming stronger and more fluent in our craft.
Within my first year at Aviato, I influenced our developer life. From the layout of our open office workspace, to starting a regular lunch-n-learn session, to the creation of our now infamous after hours developer challenges1. Life was good.
I had achieved my goal of being able to contribute to the greater vision of our software.
Not long after, I was asked if I would join the Architecture Team. And without hesitation, I emphatically said yes.I felt like I was on top of the world. I had achieved my goal of being able to contribute to the greater vision of our software.
Fast forward a couple of years and the cracks in the foundation were being uncovered. Three members of our Architecture Team resigned; one of them was the smartest developer I've ever had the opportunity to work with. Three incredibly talented Senior Developers resigned. And at least three (maybe five?) other developers resigned.
All these resignations did not occur at once. They happened slowly over-time. One by one. Just like compound interest, their departures amounted to a substantial amount of technical knowledge debt over time.
Why were all these talented developers leaving?
Why were all these talented developers leaving? In my mind I defended the company. They left because they were outspoken, and when finally given the opportunity they wanted, they were afraid of failing. They left because they didn’t get their way. You name a reason and I was probably thinking it.
I was angry we had lost so many smart developers. I was angry because they were the type of people I wanted to surround myself with and they were all replaced by direct college hires. I was once again feeling isolated; unable to talk through our technical challenges with anyone. We still had some good developers, but, they were nowhere near the caliber of those that had left.
We have a clear leadership problem at Aviato.
Over the course of the next year, I slowly began to realize why my colleagues had resigned. And none were related to what I was thinking. The reality is: We have a clear leadership problem at Aviato2. Once I accepted my realization, my decision to move on was relatively easy.
Many people would say I'm insane for moving on: I would be leaving an organization where I am paid quite well and have considerable influence. Yet, all I can think about is the famous quote: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Are the pastures greener on the other side?
With Joy, Gilfoyle