I left eBay. What’s next?

So, this is the situation: I left eBay Annunci (aka Kijiji) to join Neomobile to help the company stay agile & lean.

But this is just the surface, merely the part that will be visible on my LinkedIn profile. There’s lots more.

In 2012 I joined eBay Inc. to work as agile coach with the italian Kijiji development team. If you know italian or you can rely on a good translator, here is the post I used at that time to explain the reasons behind my choice. To sum up, at that time I set up a few learning goals which then I pursued and mostly reached. Introducing automated tests in a strategical legacy codebase, installing a proper continuous integration environment and ending up writing the first BDD tests with Behat wouldn’t have been anything new if I hadn’t had to cope with the amount of constraints that come along with a business big like that.

Coping with external pressure, while reducing internal pressure, has been my reward during my time in eBay. Reduced deployment cycle times, higher deployment reliability, better stand up meetings and a compact team of people playing BZFlag together every day, this were satisfactions I’ve got. Only the very big pressure applied on me by new opportunities made me leave that job. My experience in eBay make me recommend it to anyone willing to work in a very pleasant environment.

In spite of this, I increasingly felt the need to give space to a new Jacopo, which Cocoon Projects helped me discover throughout 2013.

Cocoon Projects is a company supporting value-driven innovation and its model of governance has deeply and very quickly influenced my way of conceiving groups of people and how they should act as a team towards a common goal. Since I started to collaborate with Cocoon Projects I have grown eager of helping orgs improving their governance to match the increasingly unstable nature of human global society and markets. But, as I said, I was working in a perfect environment: why should I leave eBay? Just for the sake of heeding the call?

In the last few years I have been studying and working with the black swan concept. As I kept talking with people about the vision induced by Taleb’s theory about economy and even storytelling, as an individual I realized I needed (and we all always need) some way to expose myself to positive black swans. All in all I just needed some way to create the safety net that lets any experiment free to fail. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, isn’t it? But how to unlock my freedom to experiment without killing myself?

It was the stubbornness of Francesco together with the opportunities generated by Cocoon Projects and ideato that created the conditions for the switch, for that click moment.

Neomobile carved out an offer that was impossible for me to refuse: starting on Jan 7 2014 I will be working with them 4 days out of 5, in their Milan-based office. Best news is that it’s not just a part-time agreement: it will be possible for me to aggregate those days off to get some valuable time every month.

This is perfect, it will allow me to get the best of two worlds:

  1. I will join a very skilled team featuring 3 or 4 of the best developers I know (maybe you met Giorgio Sironi on Dzone) working on some of the same premises that made me join eBay and some new ones as well: a stable team, a solid product to develop, a mature agile process and the chance to stay close to product ownership.
  2. I will be free to experiment, fail, succeed and improve the traction on radical management. Writing a new book, keeping this blog alive, attending conferences, coaching orgs about new governance models and fostering innovation for real will never be in the panic zone. It won’t be fly or die, it won’t be all in. My plan is to happily keep myself in my discomfort zone where I can maximize learning.

Is it going to be like that? Will this be the right way to optimize my potential, not (just) my progress? Who knows! This is the first experiment: wish me well, I’ll let you know!



11 Responses

  1. Hey Jak, the “optimize my potential” link is a 404.

    Good luck with your new life and experiments, hope to see you more often in rome now that you have more spare time 😉

  2. Great tack, Jacopo. I completly agree with you this settlement (and the good working environment) is perfect to nurture your and the company talent. Together with agile practice a way to be winning

  3. Great, it sounds like it will really improve the jr’s shared time! Congrats! Btw, according with the black swan, all that doesn’t kill you actually make you weaker 😉

  4. I’ll be joining the eBay annunci team, in part thanks to your endorsement, in February, so all I can say is thanks, and good luck 🙂

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