Over the past month or so, I have wrestled with one of the hardest decisions I’ve faced in my career. I’ve spent just over one-fourth of my professional career with Moontoast—4.5 years. This is a long time in Internet years. During my time here, I’ve learned a lot about startups, building Internet products, running in the cloud, and much more. There are great things happening at Moontoast—changes that make it a stronger, more effective company with an awesome product. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the company! For me, it’s been an excellent ride, but it’s time to move on.
I do not currently have another job lined up, though I do have a number of opportunities that are under discussion. One of the primary reasons for this career move is my lack of involvement in the greater PHP and general open source communities over the last three years. I believe my visibility and personal brand have diminished, and that’s something I want to change.
In particular, here are some areas I want to focus on:
Blogging: In 2009, I made 24 blog posts. In 2008, I made 27. In 2007, 43. Notice a trend? Since January 2010, I have made only 17 blog posts in four years. Blogging is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader; my lack of blogging shows that I’ve not been leading any thoughts.
Speaking at Conferences: I enjoy speaking at conferences. I enjoy teaching. Over the last few years, I have done very little of this, and that’s been bothering me. I want to return to the conference circuit in a big way.
Thought Leadership: Thought leadership is one of those areas of personal branding that helps set you apart from other speakers and writers. It’s a way of defining your niche and making you one of the “go-to” people in the industry for a particular topic. I have focused little on my personal thought leadership over the last few years, and I will be changing this. I will return my focus to APIs and HTTP, but I will be focusing more on practical integrations and real-world applications, rather than theory and design.
Writing a Book: I am currently working on the outline of a technical book. I hope to finish the book this year. More details on this later.
API and Integrations Consulting/Training: I have given thought to consulting or training on APIs and integrations. If this is something that interests you, let me know, and we can talk specifics.
Hacking on Open Source Software: I’ve made small contributions to the PHP core, as well as other open source projects, but I want to begin contributing even more to open source libraries, tools, and SDKs.
I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year holds for me. It’s an exciting time, and I can’t wait to get started!
In evaluating opportunities, I have been asking about potential employers’ comfort level with all of the above. As an employer, if these are things you like, encourage, and think can make your own brand stronger, then I’d love to talk to you. Feel free to reach out to me via email at ben at benramsey.com.