Skip to content →

I’ve decided to leave Citizen Agency…

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.

An abridged version of CV can be accessed here (more detailed on request) and there’s also my LinkedIn profile. However a quick overview of the key points are as follows:

  • 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)
  • Software Engineer @ BBC News Website – dev work (Objective C, Java, PHP, Javascript/AJAX, xHTML/CSS) through to leading dev teams on large + significant projects
  • Product Development @ BBC News Website and BBC New Media – including websites, mobile/PDA, BBC Blog Network
  • Project Lead, (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]

I wish Chris and Tara all the very best for the future with Citizen Agency.

Published in Citizen Agency News


  1. Suw Suw

    Good luck, Ben! I do hope you find something exciting in the San Francisco area – I totally understand why you want to stay! I’ll keep my fingers crossed and if I come across anything I’ll pass it your way.

  2. Ben Ben

    Thanks Suw!

  3. Shocking I have to say. Everything sounded like it was going very smoothly. I wish you the best in your quest for the ideal position and still hope to drop by on my journey in March.

  4. Good Luck Ben.
    I’m sure it was a hard decision to make but with one door closing another door opens. etc etc
    Basically all things happen for a reason.

    Good luck with your search

  5. Hey Ben, we’re sad to see you go on the one hand, but really excited and supportive of whatever you end up doing next.

    I think it shows a lot of character to be willing to give something a go and then decide that there may yet be opportunities that fit you better out there.

    Good luck and feel free to call on us if you need anything. We’ll practically be neighbours soon so I expect we’ll be seeing other around plenty.

  6. Best of luck Ben! It’s a long way from here, but like Suw, I’ll keep my ear to the ground. I’m glad that you and Sofia are happy, and I hope you get to stay in San Fran.

  7. good luck! – am sure something with be flying your way shortly!

  8. Ben Ben

    Ian, Adrian, Lee, Chris, Kevin, Riaz…

    Thanks for your kind comments. It’s a bit scary, I’ll be honest, but remaining positive and looking forward to getting stuck into something new!

  9. Best of luck Ben. Big decisions always involve trepidation, but the jumps themselves are so exhilarating, and I know you’ll do well.

  10. Wow, this is so sudden.

    It makes sense to handle this up front rather than drawing it out and creating tension. I know what it’s like to be in a a role that doesn’t fit well with a person.

    Best wishes to all three of you.

  11. Good luck! I hope everything works out smoothly.

  12. Ben you are a clever guy and will find an even better niche down there in Silicon land. Best of luck to you!

  13. Clever, graet work i ciuld never do something like that in 1,000,000 yeas

  14. Flotsam Flotsam

    Good luck, Ben. There’s no worse job than the wrong one.

  15. ????????? ???????? ????????? ????????

    ???????? ??????? ?? ??? ?? ? ??????!

  16. Thank you for the post. its very intresting

  17. I appreciate, lead to I found just what I was looking for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

Comments are closed.