So, at the end of 2017, I joined Penumbra in order to build up a software team for a VR system they had started working on.
Over the last two years, I built the team up from nothing to something like 38 developers. We figured out how to build a series of VR activities to help with upper body stroke rehab. We restarted big chunks of the product that had been in development by other teams, and brought them in-house to get them up to the necessary quality.
I ran the software side of the project from zero to the point where it was ready to go out the door. I built up a team of people I loved working with, and through that network, made a lot of new connections with people I now love working with.
It was difficult. It was stressful. 2019 was hands-down the most professionally challenging year of my career, but we got it done.
And now I’ve left.
Well, officially, I wanted to spend more time with my family. And while that’s true, it’s obviously not the whole story. For those who know, there are echoes of the past in there. Suffice it to say, when you build something that’s as valuable as what we built, there are always people who want to control it.
But, I can rest easy. After Wonderspark, my confidence was utterly shattered. Now? It’s totally fine. Give me a problem space with a really high degree of uncertainty and enough money to fund a team of 5-20 people for a few years, and I’d go toe to toe with anyone in the world.
I’m sad to not be able to be part of the iteration that’s necessary to make the thing we built truly great – that’s unfortunately the nature of these things – you launch, and *then* it becomes great. But the thing we built? It’s the best thing like it in the world, by far.
I hope it reaches the people it’s supposed to. As for me, I’m sure the same thing will happen as before. It’ll go on to be worth a bunch of money, I’ll be erased from its history, and that’ll be that.
I don’t care. I know what I did. I know who helped me do it.