Well, this is it. After four and a half years at Catalyst IT on and off since I was merely 17 years old, I have resigned in order to found a startup. More on that in a future post, for now what I want to do is write about what leaving Mahara is going to mean for me.
Actually, regardless of what it means, I'm going to miss it.
I think that's it in a nutshell. I'm basically leaving a community of people that I have worked with for a significant portion of my life, to forge a path into the unknown. Who knows what lies this way? One thing is for sure, at the start it's going to be pretty lonely - totally unlike the friendly community I've been used to for the past few years.
And what a friendly community it is! I think you'd be pretty hard pressed to find a nicer group of people on the internet - and if that's true of the internet, imagine how it would be if we all lived in the same neighbourhood.
I know that initially, Mahara borrowed a lot of the community ideas, and even people, from the Moodle community. That's because they're such a top notch community to be a part of. If you haven't already, heap plenty of thanks onto Martin Dougiamas for that. He may not have known it initially, but building a tribe of progressive teachers, developers, businesses and educationalists was a masterstroke for Moodle, and Mahara is lucky to benefit from that.
But now Martyn Smith and I are heading off to carve our own little niche out of the internet. More on that in a few days .
I want to thank everybody for being a part of this world for the last few years, no matter how small your involvement. There have been a few people who have stood out even from the rest of the great community, and I'd like to publicly (and personally, if I ever meet them in real life!) thank them. In no particular order:
- Mike O'Connor, my boss, who left me a lot of leverage to work on Mahara how I saw fit from day to day. I think I would have... "struggled" under the oversight of a project manager, to be fair ;). Mike - I wish you and Catalyst the very best for the future. If they were rating companies on the good to evil scale, I'd place Catalyst slightly to the "good-er" side of Google.
- Heinz Krettek, our first fan and loyal supporter. He was the first person to inhabit our IRC channel, and been a great advocate for us in Europe. Things like the German language pack are just the icing on the cake, really. I remember us trying to teach him linux commands for his new ubuntu install that he got because we told him Mahara was better on linux. It was totally worth it. I've never even met Heinz in real life, but one day I'm sure we'll catch up, and finally enjoy a drink together. Heinz - keep on rolling mate, maybe I'll see you in Germany some time :)
- Penny Leach, core developer on the original project that created Mahara, and has remained heavily involved ever since. We had some pretty heated arguments early on, but out of that and a mutual love for Mahara has come a good friendship based on trust and mutual respect. I think we've both learned a lot from each other, and Penny has certainly helped me grow as a person over the last few years. Penny - I can't thank you enough for being passionate about Mahara, being a friend and just being there in IRC when I've needed to vent.
- Andrew McMillan - you gave me a shot, which is more than I deserved at the time. But it's sent me off down this road, which has been worth every moment. Meeting you was a life-changing event for the better - thank you.
- Richard Mansfield, core developer - we've had many great conversations about Mahara's inner workings and ways it could be improved, and between us written a shitload of code - on time and on budget. Except releasing 1.2, which is my fault for delaying everything in order to squeeze more features in, but I know you have plans to fix that issue when I'm gone :). I'd work with you again for sure. Good luck with the reins!
- Richard Wyles, and in more recent times, the Mahara governance - you trusted the developers with the project, and apart from usability, I think we haven't let you down (and we're fixing that usability as we go ;). I hope Mahara continues to be a developer-lead, academically-guided project like it is currently, because it's a winning model.
Yep, the community will be the thing I miss the most. But also, Catalyst itself. Catalyst doesn't try to be groovy, dramatic, evil or sneaky. It's full of good, hard working, geeky and sometimes quirky people, and this is reflected in the company itself. Catalyst isn't corporate, it's defined by it's people - and who wouldn't want to work at a place full of open source geeks? "Why, you!?" I hear you say. I'll cover that in the next post.. stay tuned .
|||Martyn isn't actually leaving Catalyst, but he and his girlfriend Kate are putting me up while I work on things full time.|
|||Here's a teaser: the truth is more that I'm leaving in spite of working at a company full of open source geeks, mainly because I'm stupid.|
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