Monday May 18th was my last day at Parse & Facebook. At the time of my departure I was the longest tenured non-founder within Parse, so I was not surprised when people demanded why I left and where I’m going. The simple answer to both is that I left Parse because it was the only way to come back to Google.
In my post Job Satisfaction, I explained that I loved Google but left largely because I wasn’t passionate about Image Search and wanted the time I spent commuting back. In Parse I found my passion in developer tools and cloud platforms, but Facebook’s acquisition of Parse added back my commute. Parse is still a great organization and Facebook has been supportive of the team. After two years I realized I had to either move near Facebook or find another job in San Francisco.
Google reached out around this time to see if I would be interested in coming back. I wasn’t sure I would find my passion within Google, so I brainstormed a list of what I needed to be happy in my job. If you haven’t come up with such a list yourself, I highly recommend it. Honestly articulating your needs helps you be objective about whether they’re being fulfilled. The Google coordinator recommended a few teams which matched this list, and on that list was the recently acquired Firebase.
Firebase and I have a small history. They are in the same domain as Parse but have a narrower focus on data. They stand out because their database tells you when new data meets your query rather than you needing to repeatedly ask what the latest results are. I had previously helped people achieve similar results with Parse Push, but the ease with which one could use Firebase made me uncomfortable. Eventually I had to admit that I had product envy; as mentioned in Recent Talks and Reading Between the Lines, Firebase has made realtime so practical that it will soon be a commodity. Frankly, they impressed the heck out of me.
I have run into Firebase employees in the past and was struck by how nice they had been. During my Google team exploration, I agreed to meet with some team members over coffee. The more I got to know the team, the more I realized that I didn’t just respect the Firebase product, I respected the Firebase team. They are some of the friendliest and most energized people I’ve met. They were smart, grounded, and focused on building both a great technology and a great team. I’ve said before that the three most important things for job satisfaction are the product, team, and environment. In Firebase I saw a home run: I could continue my passion with a narrower focus that matched where I believe the industry is headed, I could work with a team that seems awesome by all accounts, and I can walk to the Google SF office faster than the bus to Facebook. I’m grateful for everything Parse and Facebook has meant to me over the last three years, and I’m equally excited for what this next chapter in my career will bring.