First impressions after leaving GitHub

I always wondered how it would feel being a GitHub alumni. What would be different? What would catch my eye? Well, now that I am not at GitHub for about 16 days, here’s what I have noticed.

The Journey in the Ionian Sea

Notifications

My GitHub and Slack notifications are almost zero now! That’s both good but also weird. Everything is calmer now, which is good. Missing out on the action, though, is a bit weird. Knowing the internals, and the company direction. I got used to that, and now I am getting used to not having it. Not a bad thing. Just a bit weird.

Being a company of two, currently, means way fewer notifications. This is a nice change after all. Not complaining.

Traveling

Traveling is back to zero! As a GitHubber, especially a manager/director, I could travel 5-6 times a year. I mean, that’s nothing compared to Sales/Solutions/Community and other types of jobs. If you consider my previous gigs though, that was a lot of travel.

Most trips were over the Atlantic. Entering the US can be rather stressful nowadays. I never had much trouble to be fair. It’s that I get anxious even at the thought of going through customs. Even when everything goes smooth.

For now, travel requirements are within the boundaries of Greece. I may add Europe later, but that’s not a problem. Traveling from one EU country to another is seamless.

A nice change for now, although I miss seeing new places and meeting new people. I suppose this will change after a certain point. I imagine myself visiting conferences or even doing workshops about Support/Management.

And please don’t get me wrong. Once I am past customs, I love being in the US.

Meetings

When I joined GitHub we were 15 folks. No meetings were needed. Everyone knew everyone. Everyone knew what everyone else was up to. We had a few Campfire rooms back in the day, and that was it. Asynchronous communication using GitHub Issues was the default communication medium. Granted, the team in San Francisco was sharing an office. But they could also work from home.

When I left GitHub, we were 1000 folks. We misused meetings as a tool at times. To put it in a mild way.

Throughout the years of being a manager, I had periods where I was doing more than 14 video chats a week. Sometimes I felt that was the only thing I was doing. It’s not the video chat alone. It’s preparing for it, and extracting next steps after it. A fair number of those meetings were at weird hours due to timezone differences. This is something to consider as it doubled the negative effect of meeting that often.

Again, a nice change as I only get to video-chat once or twice a week now. With the occasional exception when I am meeting potential customers. We keep most of our written communication in Basecamp.

My guess is we are going to have meetings more often. We are building our own company though. It’s on us to set the rules. Meetings are great when used for the right reasons. Most of the times though, you don’t need a meeting. Should It Be a Meeting? can help with the decision.

FOMO

A bit related to what I said about notifications above is the Fear Of Missing Out. Not being part of GitHub anymore, I catch myself wondering. Will I miss interactions and opportunities that would help me grow? What else am I going to miss that I do not know of?

This is not a pleasant feeling.

I thought about this a lot. I decided building my own company will compensate anything I may miss. It may even be a better way to grow.

Energy levels

My energy level is immense. I hope it’s not because of this first honeymoon period. I am sure it’s not. I know, of course, there are going to be ups and downs. I have already experienced that in my previous positions. I also know when something goes down it will go up in time.

Financial awareness

Now that I don’t have a salary, I have to be very good at how I spend money. Not that I wasn’t paying attention before. The difference is the more I optimize that now, the more time I will have at my disposal to bootstrap my company.

I am not sure if this is a good change. It creates some stress, but not anything I cannot control. I guess it can help me be more responsible with my finances.

What’s the verdict?

Things are good. It’s amazing how fast one gets used to a new reality. This is normal for me now. Building my own company, working hard on getting the product out the door. Let’s see how the next 16 days feel :).

What are you up to Petros?

After 9 years at GitHub Support, I am now building a support tool to help teams stay calm, be happy and productive, and have happy customers. I am doing that through the vehicle of a new calm company called HeavyMelon. You can always check what I am doing now.

2 thoughts on “First impressions after leaving GitHub

  1. Hope things continue like this for you. If your company is registered in Greece, you will spend at least 50% of your time dealing with the Greek tax system, accounting (even if you have an accountant), administration, and bureaucracy in general. Co-founded my small company 9 years ago after working as an IT service professional for 20 years, still miss being an engineer full time. We do IT services and maintenance and are based in Thessaloniki.

    1. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement Memmon! At this point you are wiser than me in terms of establishing the company. I want to be humble, but I can’t help kindly say that if everyone in Greece decides not to establish their business here, it would be much more difficult for the country to recover. Again, I am saying that with immense empathy to the troubles of running a business in a country that loves bureaucracy. I also know that I have to find a balance between being pragmatic and romantic, so I don’t want to commit 100% to the idea of establishing the company here :P.

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