At this moment, I’m less that 6 hours away from leaving a gang of some of the most brilliant, creative, collaborative and hardworking people I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. My 13 year tenure at VSA has been a hugely formative experience for me, and it has been really difficult to articulate why I’m leaving. I think I’ve probably generated one of the largest Pros vs Cons lists ever in making the decision to leave.
I’ve never been a grass is greener kind of guy. Over the course of my stay at VSA, I’ve looked at things my peers have been doing out in the world at large and have seen many interesting, inspiring things, as well as, many, many scary things that I would never want any part of. Where I’ve seen good stuff, I’ve worked to bring things into the fold at VSA.
Most recently, that has been in the form of responsive and adaptive design paradigms along with the workflow and processes to support these new practices. Historically, it has been an unrelenting drive to adopt best practices and standards for web development for our corporate clients ahead of anyone else in the marketplace. It has been the act of making sure that developers are more than just the production labor at the end of a waterfall process, and are taken seriously as creative contributors, collaborators and thinkers.
I’ve been able to work on a staggering amount of high profile work for clients including IBM, BP, Caterpillar, First Data Corporation, Shure, Avery Dennison, AOL, Netscape, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Electric, GE Healthcare, GE Energy, Harley-Davidson, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, USAA, Segway, Wilson Sporting Goods, Western Union, Time Warner, MeadWestVaco and others small, medium and large. With only a few exceptions, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with all of these clients. Every new engagement has brought new and interesting technical and design challenges which VSA has solved by partnering with our clients in thoughtful collaborative ways.
The reality is, I’ve spent some really happy and rewarding years here at VSA and if I were to stay here, I’d likely be in for finishing out my career here in a very happy, very comfortable place enjoying the fruits of the labor I’ve put in along side my VSA peeps over the last decade. And that’s the rub. I’ve realized that I’m tremendously uncomfortable with this whole comfort thing. So, I’ve chosen to make the leap away from a hugely successful digital practice at VSA Partners that I have helped to grow over the last decade to a nascent digital offering at HY Connect.
Am I diving into some uncertainty? Yeah. Am I confident in my decision? Absolutely. Those that know me, know that I’m nothing if not pragmatic, but sometimes you gotta look over the edge and step on the crank. When I gave my notice to Pat Heick, the leader of the digital practice here at VSA and my friend and partner of 13 years, I told him that this isn’t about me being unhappy here at VSA, it’s about realizing that at 41 years, I’m not too old to charge once more into the breach for glory and honor.
I suppose that it’s my running that has brought that out in me and racing especially. There’s nothing like looking through race results and realizing how many of those folks that were breezing past you on the course are 10 or 15 or even 20 years your senior. Point being, if you have your health and the wherewithal to chase a dream there is plenty of time to try new things, to face new challenges and to try to do something awesome (again).
Be driven. Don’t be afraid to give up something great to go after something even better. There is so much opportunity here in Chicago right now to build a really great digital marketing community and revitalize the advertising community here. I’m hoping that by joining HY Connect, I can play a big role in that.
Here’s to the future. Cheers!