A Status Update

TL;DR

  • Most plans for 2019 got canceled as a close family member was diagnosed with leukemia.
  • I quit my job at Microsoft, there are no hard feelings.
  • I took a break.
  • I joined Apple.

Some of you might have noticed I’ve been busy recently. I have been a little bit quieter on Twitter than usual, I didn’t frequent the usual watering holes Seattle Xcoders regularly and stopped being vocal about my work for Droidcon Boston 2019. So, what’s going on?

Fighting an Uphill Battle

At the beginning of the year – like an unwanted surprise for New Year’s – my mother-in-law was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. My wife and I flew to Germany right away. Fighting cancer and going down many rabbit holes related to it will require our attention for a long time. I don’t want to go into more detail but believe me, it sent us into a turmoil and we’re riding an emotional rollercoaster.

We changed our travel plans for this year and discussed every possible option, including moving back to Germany. Ultimately, we decided to stay in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is our home and we have grown roots here over the past 4 years. Actually, my mother-in-law doesn’t want us to move back to Germany either.

It Was Time for a Change

In March, I decided to leave Microsoft after working there for almost 4 years (plus two years before HockeyApp got acquired). In hindsight, I actually made the decision over several months without making any progress on actually making a decision. Surprisingly, once I overcame the initial shock of my mother-in-law’s diagnosis, I felt a certain clarity about my career that I had lacked before. I just instinctively knew what I wanted to do: take a break, recharge, and figure out what to do next. So I did what every sensible adult would do: I did some more thinking.

Eventually, I let people at work know well in advance what was going on. My team at Microsoft was very kind and supportive of my decision to leave. They really are a bunch of amazing people.

Looking Back

The decision to leave Microsoft and the App Center team has been a tough one and I left with a heavy heart. Let me explain why. I joined Thomas, Stefan, and the other HockeyApp founders as the first full-time employee in Stuttgart, Germany, back in August 2012. I started working, learning, and growing as a software engineer under their mentorship and wrote apps that were installed on millions of devices all over Europe. Eventually, I started helping with HockeyApp, saw the team grow, and the company being acquired by Microsoft in late 2014. I moved to Seattle and started working out of the Redmond campus in August 2015. What a ride it has been! I am incredibly humbled and honored to have worked with so many smart, kind, and supportive people at Microsoft. Thank you and all the best to you all, make App Center rock even more and stay in touch!

Looking Ahead

Just me, drinking coffee.
Just me, drinking coffee.

After taking some time off, I’m now super excited and happy to announce that I’ve joined Apple as a Software Engineering Author on the Developer Publications team. All I can say is that it really feels like “coming home”.
As a result, my Twitter account will become much more boring and I won’t be talking about Apple stuff anymore. You have been warned. It also means that I am not available for any freelancing, teaching or public speaking.
It doesn’t mean that I am relocating, though. We’re staying in Seattle and I am working remotely.

Cheers, and see you during DubDub!

Ben

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