Today I joined Kinvey, a Cambridge-based company that provides a complete backend for mobile app developers. What does that mean, exactly? It means that individuals, agencies and enterprises that want to build iOS, Android or Web apps need only to focus on front-end development. The time-consuming, costly and largely uncelebrated back-end (APIs, libraries, hosting, database) is handled entirely in the Cloud.
While the announcement that I joined was just issued today, I’ve discussed this move with several close friends and mentors. Each has asked, “Why?”, especially given my former employer’s recent IPO. There are at least six reasons for this move. Here goes:
1.) The space. I do a fair bit of public speaking, and at least half of the sessions end with the obligatory, “What’s next in tech” question. At this point, every panelist, myself included, responds with either mobile or “the cloud”. Both converge at Kinvey.
2.) The recruiting. Being recruited is strange and flattering. It’s like an alien form of courtship, and like courtship, what matters more than being wanted is the reason behind the desire. Kinvey’s CEO Sravish Sridhar made it very clear that he wanted a content-driven, community-building marketing program. His vision for marketing lined up nicely with my experience and interests.
3.) The team. Sravish and I clicked immediately. He also saw what others would consider to be a “bug” (the fact that I am not particularly technical and Kinvey serves a developer audience) as a feature. I blogged about this insight today in a post titled, “Sometimes the Best Thing to Know is Nothing at All”. Also my team is killer. Brian Whalley runs inbound marketing, and unlike me, he is technical. Kelly Rice has that can’t-be-taught quality you love find in a colleague: She genuinely loves what she does and for whom she does it.
4.) The role. Before joining my last company, I read a controversial article by HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan. It was called, “Is PR Dead?” Having build my career in PR, I cannot tell you how many hours’ sleep I lost over this post. Later I read the book “Inbound Marketing” by Halligan and his partner Dharmesh Shah and the hook was set. I knew I had to land in a new boat. So I focused on a career “re-boot” with the ultimate goal to be in a position to run marketing at a venture-funded start-up. Kinvey provided that opportunity.
5.) The objective. This reason is derived from a question Valley A-lister Peter Thiel asks entrepreneurs. There’s really only one reason to leave a high-profile role at a company that just went public, and that’s because you believe in the more-risky venture you are joining. I believe that Kinvey is meeting a real need — that is, making it easier to bring valuable, feature-rich apps to market more efficiently — and I am eager to help build it. Simply put, building is more exciting than sustaining.
6.) The location. Boston is home. My wife and I thought about moving to the Bay Area last year, and although we are habitually indecisive, we ultimately arrived at a (rare) firm decision. We live in Boston, we plan to stay in Boston. Committing to staying was liberating — it freed me to focus more on the start-up scene here, and, with a little luck, play a role in the resurgence it’s undergoing.
So there you have it. The six reasons I joined Kinvey today. I am absolutely thrilled. And a bit overwhelmed. Ok, now back to setting up my computer …