On Leaving Yahoo!

After five years, I will be leaving Yahoo! at the end of this month.

I’m not a fan of candy-coated, platitude-filled departure announcements that coyly avoid revealing actual opinions, so this is not one of those. I have many opinions about Yahoo!, and they have led to my decision to leave.

I’m not leaving to “explore new challenges” or “spend more time with my family”, and I’m not leaving because someone offered me a better job. I’m leaving because I no longer want to work for Yahoo!.

To be clear, I’m not leaving Yahoo! because I dislike my job, or my coworkers, or the projects I’ve been working on. I love my job. I love my coworkers. I love what I get to work on. For the past two years, I’ve had what is essentially my dream job working on YUI. Nothing I’ve ever done has been as much fun or as fulfilling as getting to wake up every morning and spend all day making one of the world’s awesomest open source JavaScript libraries a little bit awesomer.

What other job would pay me to write open source code, design, build, and perform sysadmin duties on a popular website, and even shoot and edit videos (one of my favorite hobbies)?

But as much as I love YUI, the team behind it, and the fantastic community of third-party contributors and users, I no longer believe in Yahoo! as a company. Yahoo!‘s corporate goals have taken some alarming turns recently, in particular with the reprehensible patent lawsuit against Facebook and the most recent round of senseless layoffs. Yahoo!’s actions violate my personal values and don’t reflect the values of the company I joined five years ago.

That said, my time at Yahoo! has been amazing, and I’m not exaggerating. When I joined Yahoo!, I thought I was hot shit. I wasn’t. I’ve learned and grown more as an engineer and as a person in the past five years than at any other time in my career. I’m grateful to have gotten to work on so many interesting projects with so many talented people. I don’t regret my time here.

Yahoo! has treated me well, both as an employee and as a human being. My managers and coworkers rewarded me and recognized me when I did great work and gave me honest criticism and guidance when I needed it.

When I told my manager in 2008 that living in the Bay Area wasn’t working out for me and Felicity and that I wanted to work remotely from Portland, Yahoo! was incredibly flexible and accommodating. They didn’t have to let me do that, but they did, and I’m very grateful.

When I’ve taken huge risks (like the time I developed and launched Yahoo! Search for iPhone — and announced it on my blog — without asking permission), Yahoo! has backed me up. Those gambles didn’t always pan out, and sometimes I got privately scolded, but I was never punished for pushing through the bureaucracy to do what I thought was the right thing, and in many cases I was rewarded. I respect Yahoo! for that, even though I wish it hadn’t been necessary.

I still think Yahoo! is a great place to work, and I mean that; the YUI team in particular (hint, hint). It’s just not the right place for me.

I don’t know what I’ll do next. I’m thinking about that now. If you’re looking for an awesome frontend engineer in the Portland area or are open to remote workers, get in touch.

Update (April 16): I’ve been completely swamped with job opportunities since this post went up. If you’ve reached out to me about a job, thank you! I feel incredibly fortunate to have so many exciting possibilities in front of me.

There have been way more opportunities than I can possibly pursue over the next few weeks, so I’ve had to start declining requests for coffee, phone chats, etc. If you haven’t already gotten in touch with me, please hold off for now.

It feels really weird to ask that people stop throwing fantastic opportunities at me, but I’ve spent the past few days answering emails and phone calls almost non-stop, when I should really be focusing on finishing up my work at Yahoo!. Thank you again to everyone who’s contacted me. I really appreciate it!