With the turn of the new year it got me thinking a bit about the change in the decade. Hard to believe it has been over 20 years since I was celebrating the change of the century with my friends in Minneapolis. Things have changed drastically since then. At that time I was 6 months into my career. I had joined a telecom startup and moved to Texas after graduating from the University of Minnesota. The 2000s were a decade of change and growth for me. It had me working really hard to get established in my career. Going through a couple of acquisitions and finally moving into my second startup. I met my wife then and got married, and we transitioned from apartment life to having a house. We traveled as much as we could. Mexico was much safer back then and we explored a lot of central Mexico as well as trips to Europe every year.
Along came the 2010s and it was another big shift for us. The 2010s were the decade of having children with 4 children to join our family. It is also when I got really career focused as well and decided that I didn’t just want to be a coder, but I also wanted to really move up and make an impact at work. I started focusing on what I could do to drive more value individually which lead me to moving into architect roles, team leads and technical leadership type opportunities. I also left my 2nd startup and took a corporate role which taught me many things that I needed to be a more effective technical lead and a better software development process. I then left that corporate role for startup 3. This was the first real turnaround startup that I did and we successfully turned the company around and were able to bring it to an exit. I also worked on the highest performing software team of my career at that point there and really saw how to build an engineering machine that could consistently crank out software and value for a business.
After we sold that company I needed to land a job as we were expecting our 4th child. That resulted in me taking another corporate job. That role had me with a great team, but in a business that had all sorts of issues. My main learning there was in many ways things not to do. I left there with some really good friends, and really happy to be out of an unhealthy work environment for me to take on startup 4.
Startup 4 was the first time I was the first engineer, and really got to build a complex system from a founder vision into reality. It has been extremely rewarding and I have learned a ton in the process. We took a vision and have driven it to an early access release that we are evolving into a full featured product.
That leads me into where we are now. I have started to think about what the focus of this decade will be. This next year is going to be crazy and we are going to accomplish big things as we hit product market fit and our startup takes off. In many ways this is going to be a hyper focused decade when it comes to career. I am at a point where I can make a huge impact and I need to really dig deep in my growth areas and help bring us to the next level. I think your 40s are really your prime earning years as you have so much experience you can really drive huge value to a business. Ideally we will have a huge success in my current company and maybe another startup by the end of the decade. Whatever happens I am sure it will be interesting.