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I Quit

Last month I gave notice at Hewlett-Packard, and yesterday was my last day.

I left on good terms. I continued to enjoy working with the Tabblo team through the last day. I’ve never been a part of a group that can just make things, and make them with something close to ease. Websites, products, and experiences: We’d start with nothing, and a few weeks later we’d have it all done. It felt powerful. It was fun. The timelines we worked on, the things we created – I’m proud of it. I’m sure I’ll work with some of them again in the future.

So if the team was so great, then why leave? Oh, let me count the whys. The commute was a problem, both in duration and destination. There were, of course, the big-company frustrations, too. Why is the IT group so uninterested in helping us meet our goals? Do I really need a building-wide memo to remind me not to park my car in the motorcycle spaces? Why couldn’t Finance figure out a way for us to ship our books out of the United States? Are Razor scooters really that much of a health hazard that you’ll threaten to fire me for zipping down to the production room?

The biggest problem, though, has its roots back in acquisition itself. Shortly after we were acquired the Senior VP who sponsored the acquisition left HP. He was immediately followed by his VP. That left us without the backing to execute on HP’s business plan. That plan could be mildly described as ambitious, and without a strong backer it was totally doomed. In the 13 months since then we had 6 new executive leaders with more than two strategy shifts each. The lack of stability is demoralizing. At some point you decide that it’s time to find something new.

So, what’s next? I think a leisurely June sounds very good. Today, for instance, I biked 17 miles, read a book, did some cleaning, and wrote this blog post. Dinner tonight is with friends at Scutra, celebrating my unemployment and their honeymoon. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

I’m also starting a job search. If you’re founding a startup, or are in a startup, and are looking for someone with a great track record and fantastic recommendations, please drop me a line. I’m looking for product management or business intelligence. I wouldn’t rule out a return to more customer-facing areas, or maybe a return to QA. The only requirement is that I’m staying in the Boston area.

A post-script: Dave St. Germain posted some pictures he’s taken of me over the last couple years. He’s such a good photographer.


Comment from David Pitkin
Time: June 3, 2008, 10:33 pm

All that free time and I think you missed a critical typo in sentence two.

Pingback from » Linky Goodness – 6/4/2008
Time: June 4, 2008, 12:46 pm

[…] Dan Dunn leaves HP Dan’s golden hand with acquisitions continues. […]

Comment from melisa
Time: June 5, 2008, 1:30 pm

Congrats on this new chapter of your career.
We’re due for another breakfast.