A few months ago I made the decision to begin transitioning out of my role and position with The Iron Yard. I had successfully fulfilled my mandate to grow and scale the organization and my partners and I were actively discussing what the next role would be.
The organization had changed dramatically in the last year and a half; we had grown faster than we had originally planned or even realized was possible. What a rocket ship!
Along the way I had the pleasure of hiring 40+ staff and overseeing the growth of our human capital which was a new type of role that I relished greatly. It’s honestly hard to describe the feeling of hiring talented people to a worthy mission and seeing them accomplish great things.
But, in not so many words, the timing was right to exit the company and find a new challenge outside of the TIY family. It wasn’t anything complex and it wasn’t a terribly difficult decision – the organization and business had changed and her needs were just different.
Although, if there was anything difficult it was the fact that I had made many new friends and had been able to partner with people that I really loved and cared about.
Peter and Eric especially were two guys that I had met a few years back when I first was asked to mentor and advise the now Iron Yard Ventures in 2012 – we had discussed many times working together and when the timing was right we made it happen.
Seeing them grow as leaders and being able to work alongside them was an incredible honor. So, if anything, not being able to work with them on the daily is going to be the most difficult change. They are some of the hardest working people I have ever known.
With that, I just want to say “Thank you” to my partners and my team – what a ride, what a gift, and what an opportunity to work on something that really matters. I’m going to cherish the time that I’ve had with all of you for the rest of my life.
Over the last few months I’ve had plenty of time to meditate on my time with TIY and have much-needed healthy conversations with my wife, mentors, and family about what I should do next.
In all reality, there wasn’t a whole lot of pressure to do anything for a bit as my exit of TIY aligned with a significant venture capital raise and secondary, allowing a liquidity event and some breathing room.
But, like many of you, I’m not one to sit idle and I began a few private conversations with industry friends, colleagues, and peers to see what was what. I had an incredible time chatting with a ton of great people; there’s so much going on in the world of software and technology and I was powerfully reminded that this is really the best industry in the world (especially for someone with my background).
After a ton of dialogue and thought my wife and I realized that instead of heading to Austin (which was the original plan) this would be the very best time to instead make our way to the San Francisco Bay Area so that we could experience first-hand (and get my fill) the center of software, technology, and innovation universe: Silicon Valley.
I began centering my conversations with opportunities in that area and had a few options on the table pretty quickly. But there was only one that really captured my head and heart and that was with Assembly.
They were a YCombinator company and have since gone on to raise $3M in a Series A round from Union Square Ventures, Thrive Capital, Box Group, and Collaborative Fund.
But more importantly, they were in the process of building and launching a new communication tool and product that was right up my alley.
Matt and the rest of the small team needed someone with my product development background that could help them get to the next level and it sounded like a helluva lot of fun, especially since it centered around things that I’ve been so passionate about (e.g. blogging, publishing, storytelling, digital communication).
And so my wife and I made plans to pack up and move the four of us to San Francisco and give the left-coast a serious shot.
As you might imagine, it’s been a whirlwind of activity and I have since started with the team while Sue is finalizing our move from Atlanta. Come next month, July, we’ll all be here (finally) and getting ourselves settled.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
Over the last few months I have had a difficult time qualifying the difference between “courage” and “stupidity” because there have been moments when they have felt very, very similar.
But, my hope was, and still is, very simple: I want my life (and my family’s life) to expand in all the ways that it can expand and that we can continue to make our decisions courageously, wisely, and together as a team.
We are really excited about our next adventure out west and I’m so grateful for my wife who has allowed me to pursue a ton of strange and ridiculous opportunities and interests over the years. Sue, you’re my best friend and I couldn’t do any of this without you.
If you’re in San Francisco or the Bay Area I’d love to meet up, talk shop, and share with you what my team is building @ Assembly. And, if you’ve got any tips or advice on how best to get settled I’m all ears too.
To infinity and beyond.
Humbled. I’m going to miss working with those fine folks. Tons of amazing memories, too many to count.
— John Saddington (@saddington) May 16, 2014
— ericdodds (@ericdodds) December 3, 2014
— John Saddington (@saddington) November 24, 2014