My new project: Tact, a simple chat app.

A new chapter

May 31, 2007

Today, I am beginning a new chapter on this blog. And in my life.

I’m leaving Skype – at least for this time. Today is my last day. And more importantly, I’m going back to school in August.

Back to school

For this summer, I’m going to take things lightly. I’m going to spend a lot of time doing nothing and playing silly computer games. Perhas travelling a bit around some forgotten places in Poland and the rest of Europe. Working on my health. Chasing some hobbies and personal projects. I may be open for some more work stuff in the form of short projects, it never hurts to ask, but I’ll be picky – it has to be extra interesting or you’ll have to pay extra well. For the next two months, I’ll prefer my own time and goals over working for other people.

And then in August, I’m off to Carnegie Mellon University for a bit over a year to study in their Master of Human Computer Interaction program. There’s a whole set of reasoning about how and why I chose this and ended up there, I’ll probably post it here sometime later. But when I learned a few months ago that they have admitted me, it was one of the happiest days for me in a very very long time and a great culmination to the days and nights I put into all the studying, tests, applications and things late last year.

I’m not leaving Skype because I don’t like the place or work any more. I’m leaving because I really want to go to school while I still can and have the guts and means for it. When I joined Skype three years ago, we talked about how long is my career perspective. I set the lowest limit to one year – changing jobs is a big thing for me and its unlikely that I’d want to bother staying anywhere less than a year. But I have no upper limits, and I don’t want to have a lifelong career in the same place (yet?). So, it’s been a great ride at Skype and maybe the most exciting and cool thing that I’ll ever do, but it’s time now for a little break without any binding commitments.

I’m going to be done with my Master’s studies sometime in late 2008 or early 2009. I have absolutely no idea today what I will do after that, and where and on what continent or business. I have some ideas about where I might end up, but these will surely be in evolution as things go along. But I do know that good things have simply come my way in the past, and I’m hoping this pattern continues. :)

Some people have asked me if I’m sad to be leaving. I do know that I am going to miss a lot of things here – the great offices in all the countries and continents, the brilliant and fun people, the work. But at the same time, it’s a good time for me to stand down because I know the company generally and also regarding my own work is in great hands. The business is doing fine, the products continue to evolve, and there are many more great things coming up from Skype. There continues to be massive innovation potential in the company and the question continues to be simply how to match that potential with staff skills and business interests and how to execute it all in the best way. And it’s not like I’ll myself be dead or anything – I’ll surely keep in touch, just as I have kept in touch before. And just as I have met people at Skype who I have also previously worked with, I’m sure this will also be the case going forward, so I’m sure I’ll see many people around somewhere, sometime.

Skype definitely continues to be a great place to work. If you haven’t yet worked here but might consider it, I’d encourage you to go through the Skype experience and come give it a shot and work for us. You’ll surely learn a lot of things no money can buy or no formal education can give. I know I did, and perhaps I’ll also post some of these learnings here one day.

I’m an obscenely lucky person. I have many things to choose from in life and I’m grateful to everybody for everything that has enabled me to get to this point. But this also means that the multitude of choices can be a bit overwhelming and decisions become harder. I’ve thought whether this going back to school for masters thing is really the right thing for me to do, even though I knew already for a long time that I want to do this. And here’s what shows me that it’s the right thing: because when I found out I was admitted to school, I suddenly found the peace and confidence that for a while I wasn’t sure that I still had. I simply felt in my heart and gut that this really was and is the right thing for me to do.

So long and goodbye, Skype, at least for this time. I remain grateful for the opportunity to be part of this journey. I hope I could help with some little things here and there. See you around.