More than five years ago I started a marketing company. Today I’m officially leaving it. It took two years to figure out that running a marketing agency wasn’t really my true calling in life and then three years after that to fully come to terms with this truth and act on it.
Starting today, I am working full time at Sandhills Development on a product called Easy Digital Downloads. I’m joining what I consider to be a Justice League caliber dream team of the brightest and best in our industry. I’ve been counseled before to gravitate constantly towards groups which consist entirely of people who are smarter than me. That is definitely the case here. I look forward to learning a lot from this outstanding crew.
I’m also just as excited to begin working on a product that I love for a company that I believe has incredible potential. Sandhills already has a few products which are well known and respected amongst WordPress professionals. But I am extremely confident that we’re only getting started. You can expect a lot more from this bunch in the future.
How this drastic change came about
Five years these days is actually a pretty long stint at one gig it seems. Some may be curious about why I made this switch so I’d like to shed some light on it. At the end of the day, it is two things:
- I do want to build amazing products
- I don’t want to provide client services
I’m still a pretty young guy but I think I’ve been doing this long enough to understand the difference and to feel confident about my position. I’ve served hundreds of clients and built or contributed to dozens of products. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my talents and my personality and now I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.
In March of 2015 I started doing some part time support work on the side for Easy Digital Downloads. In that time I’ve been able to learn a lot about the company, the product and the team and it has been a wonderful experience. So after years of soul searching and long conversations with my wife and business partner, when the day finally came that I made up my mind to pursue something different, there was no question who I wanted to talk to first. I pinged Pippin and we started talking. Then a few weeks later, on exactly the two year anniversary of my first day working with EDD, we agreed to make it official.
My decision to make a change definitely preceded any discussion with Pippin and if he had been unable to offer anything or was not interested in having me join the company full time, I would have begun exploring other opportunities. I was prepared for that and had a long list of people I may have contacted. But thankfully I didn’t have to. There is literally no company I would rather work for than Sandhills.
What this means for Real Big Marketing
Real Big Marketing will continue operating just as before, with my business partner of five years, Steve Bennett at the helm. The company still employs two of the most talented developers I’ve ever met and without question the two main reasons I didn’t make this change sooner. Steve, Joel and Eric have been absolutely incredible to work with. Words can hardly express how highly I think of these guys. Their future is bright.
The company is also quite healthy. In fact it’s probably never been in better shape. I have the utmost confidence that my former colleagues will continue along this exciting path and keep growing the company by building amazing things everyday.
I will have no role within the agency any longer. Other than referring anyone who needs advanced WordPress development or marketing services, I’ll have no involvement. I leave it all in their capable hands.
What this means for our plugins
Among the cooler things we’ve accomplished over the past few years was create a nice plugin store with a small catalog of premium WordPress plugins. I will remain involved in this project for the time being. It isn’t a serious time commitment but we all enjoy working on it.
What this means for my other responsibilities
Apart from running a business, I’m also a co-organizer of the Jackson WP meetup, an organizer of WordCamp Jackson, an organizer of WordCamp Ann Arbor, the VP of Memberships at Energizers Toastmasters, host of a WP community podcast, co-host of a WP advice podcast, a frequent WordCamp speaker, a WordPress plugin developer and a musician. The short answer is: no change. I’ll be continuing with all of this at least for now. My involvement in some will change over time but nothing major is shifting right now.
I’m both incredibly grateful for the past and excited about the future. I want to thank Pippin and the EDD team for welcoming me, my RBM colleagues for being so amazing during this process, and all my friends and family for supporting me as I begin a new chapter in my career.
2 thoughts on “It Finally Suddenly Happened”
Congrats Kyle! You’ve made a name for yourself in the WordPress world and now you get to work for one of the best teams on one of the most popular products. Awesome!
Great story – totally on board with moving from client services to building cool SaaS. Enjoy the transition!