The following is a note I posted to friends at Facebook last Thursday –
Last December I began a sabbatical after 5 years at Facebook. I’ve had a wealth of experiences, learnings, and roles here and felt the need to reflect on my career and contemplate the future.
Having the focused time to think, as well as visit companies I admire, travel, lecture, advise, mentor, gain some sweet letterpressing skills – oh, and get married – allowed me to come up with a few insights. Two big ones were:
- Facebook’s culture, collection of people, and impact is extraordinary. Every visit to FBHQ during my time off reinforced this for me.
- Despite #1, the time has come for me to move on.
You might ask – If you believe #1, then why leave? At a high level it came down to how to achieve my current goals. When looking at what I wanted in the next phase of my career I came up with needs like the desire for growth beyond design, to create something from scratch, to be an entrepreneur, and to help the broader design community. After articulating those needs moving on felt like the right next step.
So What’s Next?
Well, a little over a year ago I came together with a group of designers to create the Designer Fund. Our mission is to invest in designers who create businesses with positive social impact. The reason we want to do this is that we believe the next generation of world changing companies will need to have design as a core part of their DNA. We also believe one of the best ways for that to happen is for a designer who can build a thriving design team and culture to be there at the start.
To fulfill our mission we need to get more designers taking the path of entrepreneurship, thinking about big and meaningful problems, and acquiring the skills and resources they need to succeed. Additionally, we need to share the success stories about startup designers, match designers with amazing engineers and investors, and even rethink design education world wide.
This is an ambitious undertaking. As one of my mentors told me – “If you leave Facebook, it has to be for something important. Something huge.” For me, helping the next generation of designer entrepreneurs build world changing companies is exactly that.
I will no doubt miss my friends and incredible energy at Facebook. I’m so grateful to all the people that helped me grow as a designer, manager, and person. So grateful for all the experiences we shared changing how people communicate and build relationships. So grateful to have been part of something this big and meaningful. The past 5 years have been such an amazing journey, I can only look back and marvel at how lucky I am to have been a part of it. To all my Facebook friends, I hope to see you this Friday. I’ll be coming by to buzz the tower one last time.