I had to make a choice. If you’ve known me the past couple years, you’d have seen that I’ve spent a lot of time away, and that I’ve been doing two different jobs. Well, instead of living a second life, I’ve opted for some changes.
As of July 17, SET Consulting has a new owner. As of August 30, I’ll have a new city. (this logo above is SET’s original 2002 logo…)
SET Consulting is a New Company
I’m excited to still be part of SET, a business that began 8 years ago and inspires me to this day. I’ve spent the past week introducing SET’s new president to clients, responding to leads together, and building a plan for the next several months and it reminded me just how much I love the team I’ve grown up with, the clients who have become family, and the meaningful challenges we’re solving. From 2 hours per week at $50/hr to 6 figure contracts with Fortune 500 and government clients, it turned into a real business.
And SET now has a chance for its second life. John Lucke is the new owner and president, and he has the chance to grow SET into an even more successful company. I’m happy to say that our existing clients have nothing to fear and new business is coming at a rapid pace.
If you spend a long time on proposals or reports in Word, or presentations in PowerPoint…or if your company is migrating from Office 2003 to 2007 or 2010, please let me know. The SET team is ready as ever to help you kick ass with Microsoft Office templates, automation, and training.
In case you were wondering, AwayFind is now a fully independent business. We’ve got 10 people pounding away at something beautiful, and I’m of course still serving as CEO. I’ll keep pounding away on AwayFind, just in a new city.
I’m Moving, but not Leaving DC & Baltimore Behind
I’ve made DC and Baltimore my home for the past 11 years. In the past 3 years I’ve traveled about a quarter of the time, and tried to come home and share what I learned. I don’t plan to stop, at least not in 2010.
I’ll still be hosting Ignite DC 5 on September 30 and Bootstrap Maryland on October 27. I’m participating as a mentor in DC’s next Founder Institute and I hope to check in with the Greater Baltimore Technology Council and the Baltimore Angels regularly. I’m not selling the house or taking the car just yet, either. I’m going to try to still play a role here.
Last summer I was deciding between San Francisco and Barcelona to spend a couple months. I went with Barcelona because I thought that I wouldn’t get an escape in SF, that I’d be too immersed in the technology scene there to get a chance to breathe. I’m really glad I spent my summer in Spain , but I was wrong.
This past year I’ve taken many trips to San Francisco and realized that while it’s got a strong tech scene, it’s got much more. I’m excited about the dance scene, the perpetually perfect running weather, the diverse beauty of Golden Gate Park, the European cafes, and the healthy and balanced lifestyle that people respect and appreciate.
But I’d be lying if I said that Silicon Valley wasn’t a big part of my move. And I know I may end up as yet another example of the inability to run a startup in DC. But that’s not so. Silicon Valley does justify a move at a time when I have to be careful with my finances and my company’s direction, but I’m going there because of the whole picture and the fact that I’m ready for a change. But back to the eternal San Francisco and DC/Baltimore debate.
DC and Baltimore are Great Places to Start a Business
Certain things are easier to do in San Francisco and certain things are easier in DC. Raising money, finding distribution partners for the consumer internet, or staying up on platform changes are unquestionably easier in San Francisco. But finding technology talent, spreading a message, or effecting policy change are likely easier here.
Both DC and San Francisco are cities that people come to from far away to make a difference. Both are full of independent, liberal, idealistic people who want to make their mark.
And don’t forget Baltimore—it’s got a small technology community, but it’s the most cohesive technology community I’ve witnessed. There aren’t factions, there are just friends. The respect I have for people like Dave Troy and Mike Subelsky in the way they’ve put on events that really bring people together…I just don’t know a community so giving and with open-arms. Starting a technology business in Baltimore you’re going to find real support. And you can buy a row house there that won’t break the bank, a block from the water, and with neighbors that want to know you.
I love you, DC and Baltimore.
I just feel like the difference I want to make will be easier in San Francisco. While I’m proud to have sold a small business where I made a good living, I want to grow a big business where I make a big impact. It just so happens that most of the companies and people who are involved with email and communications workflow are out there—and I want every advantage I can bring to AwayFind as I want to significantly impact the way people communicate for the better.
Lunch together, Party Time, Cole Valley, Etc
If you’re in the area, I’d love to meet up on August 28th when I have a little informal going away get-together. I’d love to catch up a little and also introduce you to some other great people. You can RSVP at this Facebook invitation.
Also, if you want to meet up in August and if you’re willing to come to College Park, I’m happy to buy you lunch. Old friends and new are welcome.
Or come visit in San Francisco after the summer—I’ll be in Cole Valley, near the N Judah and Golden Gate Park!
Sorry to cram so much into this blog post. While only a few of you will likely notice my move, I do care a lot about the DC/Baltimore community…and want to share what led me to these decisions.
I hope to see many of you in the coming weeks. And this is far from goodbye!