Today is my last day at AutoTrader.com. I've been here just shy of two years and it's been a fantastic experience. I've learned, grown, and met some wonderful people with whom I hope to remain friends for years. At ATC, I was able to truly able to embrace the discipline of UI Engineering and learn so much from so many people that I'm ready to take that next step.
The first year was simply the best work experience I've had. I met people who twisted my mind in ways it'd never been twisted before. I learned about enterprise software architecture and the unique challenges faced in that type of environment as opposed to client work. I attended my first major web conference in nearly 10 years, and, of course, I made some fantastic friends along the way. I participated as a lead engineer in one of the greatest feats of enterprise web engineering ever accomplished; one that won't be talked about in engineering circles, but if you were there, you knew what we accomplished was truly incredible.
Over time, I came to the realization that despite my and others' efforts, the company would never shed it's very conservative nature. And frankly, it's hard to argue that potentially putting off many millions of unique visitors a month by becoming more "cutting edge" is a great idea when revenues are at stake. But the inescapable fact, as famously explained by one of the executives, is that "AutoTrader.com is an advertising company," not an engineering company. As such, after a time, an engineer is going to begin to feel somewhat "stifled" in that environment. Once I began to feel as if it were sapping my motivation, I knew it was time to move on.
All that said, I did not look for a new opportunity; one fell into my lap at the right time and I've chosen to seize it. I'll write about my new company in a separate post; and I'm very exciting about the whirlwind of change it means for my life!
Goodbye AutoTrader.com and the wonderful people I've met there along the way; you will very sincerely be missed.