September 2009 Archives

1 Year @ Tinyprints

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About a year ago I left Big Blue (IBM) for a much smaller company (Tinyprints). In that year I have experienced and learned a lot. Hopefully I can document what I've seen and maybe my experience can serve to help someone else that was where I was a year ago wondering if they should make the jump to a much smaller company. First, I don't regret the jump at all. I have really enjoyed my first year at Tinyprints and fully expect to spend many more years here growing the company and helping it succeed. Overall here are the main benefits of coming to Tinyprints, and I suspect going to small companies in general:

1. There is no place to hide for people that don't pull their own weight. Large companies are great, IBM is certainly a great company, but at a small company everyone knows what you did and what you've been up to. There is no way to hide between organizational layers or get away without having any interaction with your coworkers or manager for a while.
2. Small companies don't have the legacy of certain technologies or methodologies. At Tinyprints we are able to take the best practices, open standards, open source software, etc... and run with it and fit it to meet our needs instead of having to fit the way we do something to a particular tool or way of doing something. It is kind of like going from walking to flying without having to run, bike, or drive a car.
3. Small companies have way less layers of management than large companies. This is obvious. When I was at IBM I was on a conference call with the CEO once and I didn't have any direct interaction with him (or anyone else very high up in the company), but at Tinyprints the CEO knows my name and knows what I do. I think this is a good thing.
4. Small companies seem to work at a much faster pace. You don't get all the layers of things you have to do before you deploy something, you just get it done. If some process needs to be fixed, you just fix it and move on. I like how it is "a little less talk and a lot more action".

My boss at IBM told me that I would put in a lot more hours but I would also have a lot of fun by going to a small company and he was right. I did that and I have learned a lot about myself in the process. So if anyone out there at a large company is faced with an oppurtunity to go to a small company I say go for it.

September 2010

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