Sometime between now and March, I will be leaving Citizen Agency – the consultancy founded by Chris Messina and Tara Hunt in June 2006, which I joined in as a partner in September 2006.
It’s been a difficult decision to take, especially as I love Chris and Tara and have enjoyed working with them so much. Their genuine passion for putting the community first has been inspirational.
However as time has passed at Citizen Agency, it has become clear that my views as to where I would like to see the business headed differ to those of Chris and Tara. Obviously there can only be one long-term direction in a company, and so after much head scratching and deliberation around the table I’ve decided to make a move sooner rather than stick with something which is not going to work out for me.
Before Valleywag calls, I’m pleased to say that’s it’s all very amicable and we remain friends!
I will be leaving Citizen Agency sometime in the next 60 days – because I am working here on a Visa, this gives me the space to find something new rather than have to worry about being out of visa and having to pack up back to London. I very much appreciate Chris and Tara’s support and understanding on that front.
On that note, I should point out that Sofia and I love it here in San Francisco, and it’s very much our intention to stay. There also still seems to be plenty of opportunity here and so I will be looking for something else in San Francisco or the Bay Area.
So what will I be doing next?
To tell you the truth I very much open to ideas and suggestions! I’m pretty flexible, but I guess an ideal role would be involved around technical product management or similar, with an emphasis on technology, media or blogging. At the start of my career I was a software engineer at BBC News (and other projects) and as such have the ability to not only scope out product solutions but also architect and oversee the technical side of their implementation too (a role I performed for BBC New Media).
However with my vast range of other skills and experiences (resumé) I’m pretty happy to chip in with just about anything, including:
- Public-facing blogger/developer/community out-reach and evangelism
- Technical team mentoring (standards, best practice, etc)
- Mash-ups, prototype hacking, etc
- Accessibility and usability best practice
- APIs, Web Services, developer networks
- Press/Media relations, public speaking
- Working my contact network to bring in high-quality employees/contractors across multiple disciplines
At this point in time I am ideally looking for a position with salary in addition to some kind of small equity element. However who knows what amazing opportunities are out there – so I’d be delighted to hear from anyone, from pre-funded start-ups all the way to corporate level work.
- Self motivated, self taught programmer from the age of 14
- Launched my first start-up in 1998 at the age of 17 (free email service)
- Product Development @ BBC News Website and BBC New Media – including websites, mobile/PDA, BBC Blog Network
- Project Lead, backstage.bbc.co.uk (BBC Developer Network) – community liaison and evangelism, web services + APIs, etc
- Partner/Consultant, Citizen Agency – community orientated approaches to product development and innovation – esp developer networks.
- Public speaking – including Computer Human Interaction Conference 2006, New Media Days (Europe), Open Tech, d.Construct 05
- Established blogger and industry commentator (67th most influential British blogger according to PRBloger)
I am currently located in San Francisco and looking for opportunities in San Francisco or the wider Bay Area. I currently have a visa to work in the US for Citizen Agency and can re-apply for one for a new company relatively easily.
If you would like to get in touch please send me a mail: ben [at] benmetcalfe.com
I wish Chris and Tara all the very best for the future with Citizen Agency.