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A letter to my future self to remember why I left Odeko

At the beginning of 2019, I founded and built an amazing startup. At the end of 2019, I left.

Over the next few days, I’m going to write about what I think happened in 2019 that meant that I went from the happiest I’ve ever been in a role to depressed, burnt out, and running away.

These are my viewpoints only, and I’m sure there’s more to the story than I know or that I can represent myself.

The email below is the one I sent my mentor explaining what I believe was the straw that broke the camel’s back. As I write the follow on posts, I’m going to try to document what I think the other inflection points were. In the end, I know that writing this will bring me catharsis and ending, and will hopefully act as a long letter to a future self about the choices I made.

I let Odeko know right before Thanksgiving that I wanted to transition out. I’m going to join Sam in the new year at Reconnect, but keep 1-day per week for Q1 at Odeko to make the knowledge transfer less jarring.

3 things happened at Odeko that made me confident in this direction:

(1) We had the Monday meeting you and I talked about, and I pre-pitched it to ########## and ##########, and across all three touchpoints the plan got reduced from a specific 3-prong approach that I was advocating for to having the whole business focus on a single prong with #### independently running a group for the second  prong.

(2) As a result of that, my scope got reduced from January through now in a way where there isn’t a full-time job for me presently (but in a way where I can see that there would be a full-time job in June 2020). Essentially, at some point we will need all 3 prongs, #### will get bored running the 2nd prong, and it would be a natural fit for me to help drive us through #2 and #3. ############## is owning #1.

(3) It became clear that the tension between myself and the engineering leadership had transitioned into full friction, and that was slowing the business down. I advocated very strongly against a set of process changes, and the decision was made to proceed with those changes. It was a bitter way to come to a conclusion in a process that needed to be more collaborative.

I told Sam that we need to get to April, and know that we have a real business. So between now and then, I’m going to put my energies there, and hopefully there’s lots of good news moving forward from the Spring.

Email to Jean Sini about leaving Odeko

Published in Building Odeko

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