New year, new gig

To hell with New Year’s resolutions. How about New Year’s actions!

Remember that post I wrote about “planting a flag”? Well, I kind of expected it to flap aimlessly in the wind for a few months, but turns out it really struck a chord. When you boldly signal your intentions, people take notice (which was my hope).

One of those people was Andre Torrez, whom I worked with at Federated Media. We’d kept in touch since my return to San Francisco, meeting up for lunch now and again. I’d tell him stories about what it was like being back at work after traveling, and he’d tell me stories about the ups and downs of running his own business.

Then just before the holidays, he let me know he was on the cusp of landing a pretty big contract, one that he almost certainly couldn’t tackle by himself. An opportunity was there for me, if I wanted it. This generated a lot of reflection and discussion while I was in Austin. Upon returning to work, I decided with heavy heart to part ways with Kiva. In the end I decided this was an opportunity I did not want to pass up.

So last Monday I joined Andre at Simpleform, the company he started shortly after leaving FM. It goes without saying that I already owe Andre a lot. Not only was he responsible for hiring me at FM, but I can say with complete seriousness that “he taught me everything I know”—about being an engineer on a team at a start-up. Later, when I felt like I had more to offer than just coding, Andre gave me the chance to lead the team.

Simpleform door sign
The Sign On Our Door by Andre

Now we’ll see if we can start over again. Andre has a genuine interest in rebooting Simpleform, learning from what worked and what didn’t over the last two years, and I’m looking forward to wearing multiple hats again, contributing in both engineering and management. In the short term, I’ll be coming up to speed on some new technology, and we’ll be working together on this big contract. Over the long term, we’ll be on the lookout for a steady stream of contracts to keep our mental tools sharp and revenue consistent. Given our collective skill-sets, we’ll probably be leaning more towards data-heavy, back-end web work, as opposed to front-end design projects. (This sound like something you need? Please get in touch.)

The big vision is that with regular client work, we’ll be able to fund internal “research” projects that either become revenue-generators in their own right or simply help us work more efficiently. To be honest, I don’t have any single outcome in mind. Kind of like traveling, I’m in this to see where it leads us.


Wow, congratulations. I’ve been following Andre since I discovered mlkshk. Sounds like a great opportunity!

haHa! Good for you.

Chris Newman

Congratulations, Jwatt!!! The journey is the reward!

Ha, sweet! Congrats to the both of yas. :)

Thanks all. I’m definitely looking forward to blogging a little more frequently and openly about what we’re up to.

May the contracts continue to roll! I suspect you’re not at liberty to discuss the current one at this point in time, else you would have.

Danny Dawson

Wow, missed this one. Congrats on taking big chances!


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