Posted on 16 September, 2016
This year I’ve noticed a few milestones and anniversaries crop up:
- my software-as-a-service side-business Flying Sphinx has been commercially successful for 5 years.
- My most popular open source work, Thinking Sphinx, began just over 9 years ago (and is still kicking along).
- The unconference Trampoline that I co-founded has occurred 20 times across three different cities.
- Rails Camps (of which I’ve run a few) are coming up on their 20th Australian edition in December.
… and at the end of this year, I will have been working as a professional Ruby contractor for 10 years.
However, I’m not going to reach that last milestone… while I’m still coding with Ruby, I’ve recently stopped contracting. It’s time for something new. Something that more clearly makes the world a little better.
Startups aren’t my scene - so much of it seems to be disruption for disruption’s sake, glorification of convenience at the cost of livelihoods, and acceptance of misogyny and bigotry in leaders as long as their businesses are successful.
But, I know that businesses - and startups - have the potential to be powerful tools for positive change. There are plenty of startups and social enterprises out there that are doing good things, and are thinking about the broader impact of their actions.
After several months of conversations, I’ve decided to join forces with David Chung on the mental health social enterprise/startup Limbr, taking on a co-founder/CTO role. We are working towards removing the stigma of mental health issues, providing safe and useful online spaces for people to be vulnerable and support each other, and also connect them with professional mental health support.
Mental health is something our societies are slowly taking more seriously, but depression, suicide, anxiety and other such illnesses are still too often treated as taboo topics, and we are losing far too many lives. There’s plenty of room to improve, and we’re aiming to play a part in moving things in the right direction.
CTO is a new position for me, and I certainly am feeling like I’ve dived into the deep end - there are moments where I’m overwhelmed and uncertain. However, I am relishing the technical challenges that lie ahead, and am motivated by the opportunity to both shape a diverse and compassionate organisation, and to have a broad, positive impact on the world.
The journey to this point started at Purpose in December last year, and since then I’ve had a great many insightful conversations with friends, peers and mentors. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some people, but I’d particularly like to thank Bruno, Col, Dan, Darren, David, Derek, Glenn, Jules, John, Kaj, Katie, Kim, Kunal, Lachlan, Luke, Matt, Mike, Nick, Paul, Phil, Pete, Richie, Sally, Sandra, Sarah, Sarah, Steve, Sven, and Tim for your time and perspectives. There are countless other friends and family members who have played their part in this as well - much love to you all. The biggest thanks go to Melina, who has been a constant source of wisdom and guidance over these past months.
The fact that I have the connections and support to get me to this point is partly due to the privileged life I have been gifted. I plan to put this privilege to good use, and I hope, through Limbr, to help make our world a little better.
And now a couple of hiring notes (yes, already!) …
We’re looking for a third co-founder to fill a role along the lines of Chief Science Officer - someone with serious professional experience in the mental health space. If that could be you, or you know someone who may fit the bill, do get in touch (via email or Twitter is best).
We’ll also need a front-end developer in the coming months as well (likely in a contract role), so if that’s your thing, I’d love to hear from you - especially if you’re familiar with Cordova or ReactNative.
Limbr’s web presence at this point is close to non-existent - I’ll add a link to a website when there is one! We’re certainly working on it.