It’s with mixed emotions that I’m leaving Ireland and headed to the exciting world of Redmond, WA, USA. I’ll be moving in early May to the IE Developer Marketing team joining such great folks as Justin Garret . This is the team that’s doing some amazing work such as http://modern.ie and http://arcade.atari.com to name two high profile projects. If you haven’t played with either of these, you should go look at both of them. The partnership with Atari is not only a ton of fun, it’s educational. I’ve used the material there to figure out handling touch behaviours in Win8 apps and more. The http://modern.ie project gives you quick and easy testing of your site for IE with or without you having to run IE and advice on how to fix common issues.
The past 2+ years here in Ireland have been an amazing experience.
From a work perspective, I’ve met and worked with some of the smartest and most passionate people that I’ve ever had the pleasure to know and had a lot of fun. I love Ireland’s tech eco system, particularly the start-up scene which is well outlined by Frontline Venture Capital (check slide 24 – 🙂 ). I’m going to miss being a part of that scene. I’m not going to get into name dropping here because inevitably I’d miss someone and there’s too many to name but I’ve met and mentored some incredible people at companies. Some of them have ended up installing hardware and software in the Microsoft Technology Centres around the world or high profile projects for Cadbury’s or Lufthansa Airlines or have become the default mechanism for navigating Dublin or are the best way to book a tee time or listen to the radio on Windows Phone and I could go on and on and on. I’ve keynoted a number of great conferences around Europe, spoken at the local Google Tech User Group (yes, they knew that I work for Microsoft and I survived… 🙂 ), spoken at Dublin Web Summit multiple times, met Bono, run envisioning sessions with organizations from Failte Ireland (tourism board for Ireland) to the largest bookie organization in Ireland to many of the top end design firms, ran data centre tours through the data centre based here in Ireland, run international conferences from clubs here in Dublin, written prototypes for apps for banks, local government and more… Additionally, I’ve learned a ton about what it’s like working in a small country and in a small subsidiary of a large company. Both of these lessons have been very interesting, both challenging and exciting at the same time. It’s been a fun and impactful 2 years that I’ll never forget.
From a personal perspective, I love Ireland. It kinda goes without saying that Scotland is the only place in the world that can rival Ireland for golf. I’ve also found a new passion in mountain biking here and there’s a ton of opportunities to do that. I’ve found rugby as a fantastic spectator sport and I wish that I had grown up playing it (unfortunately my knees are too bad to do so now). But the real impact has been on my family. As you might know, my youngest daughter has special needs (my wife blogs about it at http://www.phoebeholmes.com) and the programs here for her have been unparalleled. The St. Michael’s programs and schools are amazing and if I ever get to an independently wealthy status, I want to try to found something like it in the US. She’s learned to swim, work safely in the kitchen, potty training and more. I could rave on and on about the systems here but my wife does a great job capturing it on her blog. My other daughter has taken up Camogie which is a brilliant, vicious and fast paced game. She’s in the theatre, dancing and has taken up a ton of other hobbies. My boys are doing very well here also. My oldest is in “transition year” which is a brilliant concept. In short, it’s a renaissance year. The year is broken into 4 modules and in each one of these they take different subjects. They try many different types of sciences, maths, arts, sports and so on. A different set each module. They take a ton of field trips to all the museums, parks and more. They are required to do at least 2 weeks of work study where they find a job in a company for a week at a time to learn what different types of companies do. My son did work in a game dev company called BitSmith Games who produces a fantastic game called Ku: Shroud of the Morrigan. He got to do a lot of testing and learned a lot about Unity game development. And my wife fits right in here. She’s half Irish by decent so she looks the part but more so her language, mannerisms and more have all taken on a distinctively Irish slant. She’s not picked up the accent but everything else is spot on. 🙂 She’s gotten involved in the PTA, run fund raisers for the school, toured most of Ireland, been on the radio, been on TV, was interviewed for an international magazine, written large portions of a book, had several blog posts go crazy viral and been very active in many different social circles.
I’m really looking forward to the challenges presented by the IE Developer Marketing team. I’ll be based in Redmond which is a new place for me. I’ve visited a number of time and it’s beautiful. The last time I was up, I went to a huge bike swap which was awesome and really endeared me to the area. From a team perspective, I already mentioned some of the things that the team does and I’m really looking forward to working with some really brilliant people. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of the people across the teams that I’ll be working with on a daily basis. I think I can learn a lot from them which always excites me.
BTW – I’m starting in Redmond on May 6th so I’ve got a few more weeks to catch up with folks here…
I’m going to miss Ireland but A: I’ll definitely visit (invite me to come speak at your conference… 😉 ) and B: in this fantastic digital age, it’s not hard to keep in touch. I’ll still be blogging here at http://www.joshholmes.com. I’ll continue to be on twitter at @joshholmes and I’m on LinkedIn at http://ie.linkedin.com/pub/josh-holmes/0/39/791/.
Looking forward to connecting with you and staying connected,