Goodbye Trello, Hello FullStory

Earlier today I shared with my coworkers that I'll be leaving Trello and joining FullStory here in Atlanta. Here's what I shared (edited slightly to keep specific names private):

Trellists,

I’m leaving Trello on Friday, September 9th to work for FullStory, a local tech company here in Atlanta. I’ll share more about that in a bit, but first, story time!

When I joined Fog Creek in 2011, I took a big bet—personally and professionally—that working as a support engineer for a first rate software shop would accelerate my career faster than working as a developer at HoneyBaked Ham (yes, HoneyBaked Ham). Even though my wife had just had Sophia a few months prior, we decided to move the family from the suburbs of Atlanta to New York, settling in Astoria (at the time, there were only two other Creekers with kids). We were terrified to move away from family but excited by the opportunity for me to work at Fog Creek.

Needless to say, I’m really glad I took that bet. For the past five years, I’ve worked with the most amazing people and have grown professionally in ways that I could never have imagined. The best thing about working here has always been the people. Perks are great, but nothing compares to working with amazing people. Fog Creek and Trello have truly given me a new baseline for what to expect from companies I plan to work for.

The people on the support team are the reason that you can trust that our customers receive exceptional support. Check out the #support-praise channel in Slack and you’ll understand why the future is bright and great in their hands.

One of my long term personal goals has been to work for a great tech company here in Atlanta. It was an incredibly difficult decision, but when an opportunity presented itself to work at FullStory, I decided this was the best move for me and my family.

Thanks to Fog Creek and Trello for taking a bet on me and to everyone here for making Trello such an amazing place to work. Always feel free to reach out to me if you need anything at all.

All the best,

Ben McCormack

I'd like to use this post to add a little more color as to why I'm making this change.  This is going to be a rambling post. It's as much for me as it is for the reader interested in my career machinations.

When I started at Fog Creek in 2011, it was actually the second time I had applied for the Support Engineer role. I first heard of the role in late 2009, applied, took a trip to NYC, didn't get offered a job, and then went and found a job as a junior developer at HoneyBaked Ham. That's a fun story in and of itself and you can read about it here: Finding a Job the Unconventional Way.

The TL;DR of how I ended up back at Fog Creek is that they reached back out in late 2010, and after getting an offer similar to what I was making (more money, but had to move to NYC), I accepted because I wanted to work for a great company. I can't overstate this point. It's better to pinch hit for a major league team than to bat cleanup for a AA team. When you work for a great company, it completely changes how you think businesses should be run and how you should approach your career. If you don't work for a great company, do whatever you can to change that. It will change your world.

Let's skip all the way to the very recent past. If you want details of what happened at Fog Creek and Trello, my LinkedIn Profile is a good place to start (and don't forget I went remote and moved back to Atlanta in 2014). At this point in the very recent past, I've built out and managed the support team at Trello, we've set some goals for where we want to be by summer of 2017, and things are looking optimistic.

Enter FullStory.

It's at this point that I receive an offer from FullStory, a local tech company here in Atlanta. Do I stay with what I know or do I pursue this new opportunity?

This time, it wasn't just about working for a great company. Trello and FullStory are both great companies. Deciding to go with FullStory came down to two things: seeing my coworkers everyday and applying leverage. There's also a bonus that's all about empathy.

One of my long term goals has been to work for a local tech company in Atlanta. Don't get me wrong, working remotely for Trello has been great (and not commuting is awesome), but I would be lying if I said I don't miss seeing my coworkers every day. There's a lot of communication that happens outside of Slack and video chat when you see people in person, and I've been missing out on that. Working at FullStory offers an opportunity to be physically present with my coworkers again, something I'm not going to get at Trello without moving back to New York (and now that we have three kids, that's out of the picture).

The second thing is applying leverage. At Trello, I've been figuring out how to manage a support team each step of the way. It's been a rewarding process, but also a lot of trial and error as I figure out what works and what doesn't. Each time the team grows and takes on new challenges, I have to put one foot forward and hope I land on solid ground. At FullStory, I have the opportunity to take what I've learned at Trello and Fog Creek and apply it in a smaller setting. Put another way, my experience and skill set in support is likely going to have more leverage at FullStory than it is at Trello. That's exciting because it means my work should have a greater impact.

As a bonus, I'll share two more things about FullStory that I'm excited about from a product and culture perspective. Their product is all about empathy. When you watch how customers use (and misuse) your product, it generates a tremendous amount of empathy and a desire to make the product better. Their culture is also all about empathy. This blog post is a good place to start. Everyone at the company does support, but they also have a position called Hugger—yes, that's my new title; yes, I've shared a contrary opinion about "creative" titles in the past. Enjoy the dissonance— which is all about empathizing with the customer to improve customer experience. That resonates strongly with me.

Although I'm leaving Trello, I'm excited for the future of the support team there. They have great leadership in place and an enthusiastic team with a ton of potential energy to solve new and interesting problems for Trello's customers. My only regret is that I won't be there to participate in their success.

In a few weeks, I'll enter the doors (real, physical doors!) at FullStory and begin a new journey working in support for a great company. I'm excited about what the future will bring.