Sunday, August 28, 2011

Change (again)

Last Thursday, we at Slide (now a part of Google) got word that we were officially shut down, and we'd be moving to other (very interesting) opportunities within Google.  Slide is over, and it's been an interesting and educational run.

Last January, my team was directed to a new project: Photovine. We launched to the public just over a week ago, so one week from launch to dead-pool is about the quickest death of a project I've yet to experience. It was also the best product I've been a part of, and one of the ones about which I'm most proud ("Just Three Words" being the other, outside of a couple of my music projects).

During the time to launch, from January through last week, I had the opportunity to learn how to develop software for the iPhone (iOS, Objective-C), how to be a better engineer in python, and had the opportunity to take what I'd learned from my previous products at Slide and apply them - and so improving overall as an engineer. If any mistakes were to be made, they'd be new mistakes and not repeats of old ones.  ("Tomorrow, make better mistakes". - old sign at old Slide offices)

The Photovine team was comprised of some of the smartest and most talented people I've ever had the good fortune which which to work. To say that it was a collection of creative, smart, hard-working, professional, self-directed and pleasant people would be an understatement.

In the end, we delivered an absolutely fantastic product. Here's what some of the tech writers and bloggers had to say about it during it's short run:

"...and we think it goes without saying Photovine was Google’s best designed piece of software. Period."
"The concept is certainly fun...Definitely worth checking this one out."
" Design-wise it’s beautiful....The community is growing at an exponential rate and there are some seriously clever, interesting and beautiful photos being shared already."
I'm very proud of the work we did on this app. It could have been just another photo-sharing app, but it was most definitely not that - it was a way to discover people via the medium of a topical, shared photograph. The fact that a community sprung up almost immediately around Photovine (within days of launching our restricted-access beta version) does not surprise me.

As an engineer, I had a great time - we went from knowing next to nothing about iPhone development to becoming very proficient in a very short time, and I had the opportunity to work with engineers whose styles and proficiencies in many ways complemented my own. I learned a lot from those guys, and I can only hope that they in turn learned something from me as well.


So now, on to new things. I don't know what these new things are yet - the upcoming weeks are filled with meetings and planning - but I'm certain it will be interesting.   New opportunities, and new possibilities, and although every day offers nearly endless possibilities, at the moment that fact has a clarity of focus that is pretty exciting.

In the meanwhile, I've started up some music projects again. It's been six or seven years since my last music work - you can hear it over at www.jasonrubenstein.com and all of my music is free for download, and free for listening. I'm seeing more and more work being done (and more and more companies started) in the intersection of music and social, and am keeping my eyes open on this one.

And I'm still fiddling around with the website project I started many weeks ago. It's on my personal (non-public) server at home, and now that I'm out of a "OMG we're launching a product" kind of schedule, I'll get back to it.


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