Leaving Friends – 10up Web Engineer to Freelancer

It is with great excitement and yet equal sadness that I am moving on from 10up starting April 4th. The past year with the company has been amazing! I have learned so much and made so many friends. I feel like I have really been able to grow with the company and have been able to work on some mind-blowing projects.

10up has tripled since the day I was hired but I know that my competency level and experience has gone way beyond that. Yet even with all that change, it remains a welcoming and exciting place to work due in no small part to the talented leadership and amazing people that they tirelessly seek out (I bet you didn’t know that 10up is still hiring – shameless plug).

Nevertheless, I feel like it is time for me to move on. Not to greener grass (if there is such a thing), but rather to the wild west of freelancing where I hope to hew out a career that matches my family’s lifestyle and supports (hopefully) the other passions that I have, namely my church and music.

Hard Choices

My time at 10up really has been amazing. It is hard to fathom the amount the I have learned from everyone that I’ve worked with. I still don’t exactly understand what Jake saw in me last year when he asked me to work for him, but I know that I will be forever grateful for the chance he’s given me to work with such an awesome team.

Below I have listed a few of the factors that made this decision really difficult. More than anything, I hope that this communicates that I am not leaving 10up out of any ill will and that I continue to hold Jake and the rest of the team in the highest respect.

Awesome Projects

Working with a company like 10up has many advantages and one of them is the opportunity to work on some amazing projects. I have been able to work with top-notch clients on some of the best platforms in the world (enter WordPress.com VIP). My confidence level has skyrocketed as I see my code deployed to some of the most popular websites in the world. How cool is that!

Employee Investment

While I could talk here about good salary, flexible schedule, vacation time, and medical benefits, that is not what I think about when reflect on what 10up has given me over the past year. Sure all those things are great and a necessary part of living, but what I remember is the dedication that 10up has towards fostering the continued growth of its employees. I was really struck by the effort that Jake and the other leaders put in to make sure that I was continually challenged and learning. My favorite manifestation of this would have to be the 10up developer summit that happened last year in Portland. I am super sad to be missing that this year.

Amazing Friends

Definitely the most difficult part of this decision is knowing that I won’t be working each day with the amazing people who I have relied on and am honored to call friends. Here’s a shout out to the Orca pod – Caaauuuuw, Qaaauww (or however you do that, Heather) – it’s been really a pleasure working with you all (looking at you Drew, Mary, Luke, Heather, Alison, Grant, and most recently Scott). Also a shout out to the DevOps team that was so generous to put up with all of my ignorance. You all were really great to work with (looking at you Zach, Doug, Kailey, Kelly, and Chris).

I could go on naming everyone at 10up who I had the privilege to get to know and work with, but instead I will let you look up that list for yourself.

The truth of the matter is that the secret to 10up’s success is not in engineering talent or project management skills. It is the uncanny ability that Jake and the rest of the leadership has to hire workers not based on what they can do but on who they are and then give them the tools to succeed.

I wish 10up the best of luck and am excited to see what the future holds for them.

Why I’m Leaving

After all of that, you are probably wondering why on earth I would ever want to leave. I asked myself that question over and over and the answer is twofold.

First off, I love the adventure and excitement that comes with building my own thing. I had a brief spurt of freelancing before joining 10up last year and I really enjoyed the challenge that went beyond building a great program or website. I look forward to the challenge of building a company and career around my strengths.

The other reason (and probably more dominant one) is that I hope to build a business that will eventually allow me to be able to give more focus to the other passions that I have, namely my church and my music. I’m still not exactly sure how this is going to work, but I am excited to see how things unfold.

Meet iWitness Design

So if you are looking at where you can find me now, I will be freelancing under the alias of iWitness Design. I hope to focus on complex WordPress applications but am undecided whether that means applications with events, communities (BuddyPress, bbPress), e-commerce, or something else. I’ve had experience in each of these areas but am not sure where I will settle yet. Also, I’m very tempted to try my hand at a premium theme or plugin, so you may see something like that coming from me at some point also.

If you find my story interesting, question my judgement, or have any freelancing advice for me, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

8 comments

  1. Jake Goldman says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Tanner – our success is just as much about the effort our team puts in as it is about our recruiting. 🙂

    We’ll certainly miss you, while watching fondly as you take the next step in your career.

  2. Watching you from the time you began your WordPress journey till now has been inspiring. I am excited to see where you land from here and am confident only good things will happen. Best of luck in your new venture!

    • Tanner says:

      Thanks Ben! You’ve been such a tremendous help throughout that process. Thanks for all the encouragement, pointers, and advice!

  3. DrewAPicture says:

    Wow, I can’t believe you actually typed out the Team Orca call! But kudos for the effort. You know you’re always welcome back on Team Orca and team10up. Best of luck, dude.

    • Tanner says:

      Thanks Drew! I thought that maybe if I type it out it would appease Heather and she wouldn’t try to make me do it vocally. 😛

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