Returning to Portland


There's relatively big news in my small corner of the world. My family is moving back to Portland, Oregon. Amy and I lived there for eleven years before moving to the Bay Area. We've learned a lot from the Bay Area, and we don't regret spending time here, but we're excited to return to the city that feels like home to us.

One of the things we learned is how unique Portland is. It's hard to find human-scale walkable and bikeable communities in the Bay Area, and while there are a few pockets, they are small pockets in an overall car culture, where it's considered normal to drive more than a half hour just to see friends. I'm looking forward to selling my car and getting an awesome cargo bike.

There's been a lot of noise lately about working remotely. I'm about to start a personal experiment. As a cofounder of Couchbase, it's important that I'm able to drive forward technical and cultural projects, even when I'm remote. We already have a remote team, and here's what I said about them on Hacker News:

They can get a perspective on your product and the perception of it in the marketplace, that you just can't get when you set in a room with the makers all day. That is, they see the world more like our users do, so it's often the remote folks who come up with big innovations.

So I'm hoping by joining our existing remote engineering team, I get more of this kind of perspective. Also, I'm naturally a squeaky wheel, so hopefully I'll have a chance to make things smoother for our existing remote folks.

One reason I think being remote helps with perspective, is that it puts you much closer to the user's shoes, so I'll be more likely to interface with my team via mailing lists and other public forums. This should benefit our mobile development community by making our decision making process more transparent.

What am I going to work on in Portland? Now that our mobile backend is stabilizing, I'm going to spend time on our HTML5 developer experience. Everything from PhoneGap on the mobile, to hybrid sync and web apps. I'm hoping by narrowing my technical focus, I can drive a lot of mobile web developer friendly features for Couchbase.

If you want to picture me in my new home office, here's a picture from the backyard. We're moving in the second week of March.

Home Office