And the Winner Is… Me! (and Mosso)

I have just accepted a position as Director of Software Development for Mosso.

Mosso is based in San Antonio, and is part of Rackspace.

So, why did I choose Mosso?  From the web site:

We started Mosso because we knew there were web developers who wanted a reliable platform for their applications and email–without being the ones responsible for all the technology.

Basically, Mosso does, on a much larger scale, what I have been doing as a consultant for the last few years – stripping as much of the technology details as possible out of the lives of people that have an idea and/or dream – they want to build the idea, not manage the server, or the databases.  They want to be able to focus on building what they envision.  I’ve helped people focus on that – Mosso lets thousands of people do the same.

That’s what Mosso does.  And more.  And in very cool ways.

Mosso also passed all of my test points:

  • I need to build teams.
  • I need to work with smart people.
  • I need a voice.
  • I need responsibility, accountability, AND authority.
  • I need the security of a larger company with the atmosphere of a startup.
  • I needed a company that is nimble – it can quickly adjust to change, and new ideas.
  • My work must have value to me, and to others.
  • The impact has to have a large footprint.  I like building big!

So, how did Mosso do on this list?  Extremely well.  I will not be building one team – but several teams.  I have met some of the smartest people – all in one company in downtown San Antonio.

My position is a senior one – I will eventually have a large team – and many of them I will need to hire.  That is important work that is important to the company, and to my new coworkers.  I’ll be allowed to run my teams and do my job – I’ll be helping grow/invent/implement some very cool technology.

The work environment is amazing – we have real humans at Mosso 24/7.  We have developers on call 24/7.  We work 24/7 (so you don’t have to!).  Developers build their own schedules for covering “on call” – they don’t need a “manager” – they are managing quite well right now :)  So I will focus on improving our processes and hiring more talented people (call me if you are interested – 210-845-4440).

New employees get their choice of computers.  You want a Windows desktop? – no problem.  One monitor, or two?  You want a 17” MacBook Pro (I Do!) – that’s cool as well.  One monitor, or two?  It’s really up to you.  Since we are building computing for the cloud, the systems we personally choose don’t really matter (except for where you feel most productive!).

Like any startup, you have a lot to do – your job description might as well read, “Succeed”.  I like that.  But we’re also backed by Rackspace – a very strong company (and a very cool company to work at in their own right – they’ve won a lot of awards for being a cool place to work).

I first met the Mosso crew when I invited Robert Scoble to come to San Antonio – I was just introduced to a couple of them – I didn’t get a chance to talk to them.  But a few weeks later I looked into what they were doing.  I became a customer.  I was (and am even more so now) impressed.  Those blog posts started a conversation that eventually led to here.  It was not planned.

But I am very pleased to be in an exciting position at Mosso – and am very happy to be part of the Rackspace family.  I am a Racker, and already proud of it 🙂

I won’t be able to talk much about what I am doing for a while.  But once I can, I’ll be sure to share my experience with you.

But as I learn more about Mosso, and what my teams look like – I’ll share that with you. 

Because I wouldn’t go to work for a company that didn’t excite me   And challenge me.

This one does.

Story Time

I haven’t written a story in some time.  So here is one. Kind of.

In 1995 I was a Mayor.  Of a Military Community on Fort Shafter in Oahu, Hawaii.  I can’t remember how large the community was, but it was at least a few thousand people, I think.

Anyway, being a Mayor of a Military community wasn’t very taxing.  I wore the white hat.  As the civilian mayor I just did good (or tried to).  We had the Military Police and the Military Chain of Command to deal with the unpleasant side of things.  As well of the Command Sergeant Major – an intimidating person no matter what base you are on.

When I first got to Hawaii my son entered the first grade.  He had to ride a school bus about a mile.  And he had to have two quarters every day.  One to get on the bus, and one to get home.  Parents could not pay in advance, not even in the morning for the afternoon ride.

As you might imagine, it is difficult for a 6 year old to hang onto a quarter all day, every day.  They are upside down on the monkey bars, wresting with their friends, etc.

Since I walked my son to the bus (and many parents let their first graders wait unattended), I quickly realized I needed extra quarters.  Every day 4-5 kids would not have bus money.  So I paid.  The bus driver was a regular, and she knew me very well – she knew I paid for a LOT of kids, not just my own.

And that is exactly why I was so irate when the school called me one day and told me that I had to come pick my son up because he didn’t have bus fair.  The school buses and the bus system were not controlled by the school.  A private transportation company (or the Honolulu bus system – can’t remember) ran the school bus system.  And eventually the bean counters realized that the bus driver wasn’t bringing back as many quarters as she should – even with my help.  So they pressured her into enforcing the "no quarter, no ride" policy.

We had one car, and my now ex had it.  The school was a mile away – down the mountainside.  Which meant I had to walk with (carry) my son uphill for a mile.

The next day I began a year-long campaign to get the rules changed, and to allow students to pay per semester.  Eventually they agreed to "bus passes" which you purchased (at no discount) in advance.  Still not a great solution for first grade kids to have to carry anything, but since the bus drivers had a list of who had paid, it was much better than carrying two quarters.

It took a lot of phone calls and letters but none of that really worked – until I found that telling the schools that "the mainland figured this out decades ago" caused some reaction.  I guess they didn’t like to be second to the mainland.  Whatever.  Life got easier.  And I was saving about $2.00/day giving quarters out to neighbor kids.

I can’t believe so many parents put up with that crazy system for so long.

It reminds me of the US Tax Code.  Nobody knows why it is what it is.  It just is.

And nobody thinks they can do anything about it.  So few try.

I really wish more would try – I wish they would let their candidate, and their elected official know that they are tired.  Tired of a confusing tax code.  Tired of spending so much money collecting taxes.  Tired of being surprised by what they owe, or what they are getting back. 

Our contribution to maintaining our government should not be a surprise to us.  We should know today, tomorrow, and two years from now what we are going to pay.  This is a simple math problem that has been corrupted and broken by politics.

I don’t think there is room for politics in our tax code.  Our tax code should be simple.  And it could be simple.

If only people demanded that.