Why I quit my Software Engineering job at Facebook to start my own business

Coding origin story

Like most stories, this one started long before I ever joined Facebook...

So where did it begin? I was passionate about coding before most others. In high school I created a handful of successful websites (using the tried and true: Vanilla PHP + jQuery + AJAX + FTP). I really enjoyed building a polished useful tool for others and owning the process end-to-end: support, marketing, design, implementation, architecture, you name it. I got my first online dollar from my popular tool: iUnfollow that simply was a way to bulk unfollow folks on Twitter. My summers in high school were always dedicated to spending 3-4 months building and launching something, it became ADDICTING :)

Young SaaS builder

Ever since I tasted my first internet dollar, I had the spark. I built a few more websites during high school that did exceptionally well financially and drove me to learn how to scale web applications, learn how to optimize databases, and manage change and curveballs as single person "business".

College and post grad life

I was lucky when I went to college, since I knew exactly what I wanted to learn and major in... yup: computer science! I attended UC Santa Cruz and continued my passions of building while in school, creating a popular website tool for students to get into their classes, called SlugWatch.

After graduating, I joined PayPal as an iOS Software Engineer. I was deciding between Twilio and PayPal at that time, one being a backend PHP engineer and one being an iOS engineer. During my college years I got more and more interested in iOS apps, since mobile was the trend at that time. Swift 1.0 came out around that time so I gave it a try and loved it (& hated it, iykyk). I ultimately chose PayPal as my first job post graduation since I wanted to learn new skills.

In my transition to join PayPal as a full time Software Engineer in San Jose, I sold off my prized baby iUnfollow.com. It marked the end of my solo builder phase and the start of my corporate life. If you want to read more about that event, check out my article here.

My professional software career

Needless to say, I enjoyed my time at all the companies I've been lucky to be a part of: PayPal, LinkedIn, and Facebook. There are always pros/cons about each one: people, product, pay, scale, priorities, organizational structures, incentives, you name it. There was one single thread that tied them all together: I knew I wanted to start my own company and get back to my roots, similar to high school me. I wanted to gain more knowledge and expertise in industry and bring that back to do my own thing. I found it extremely rewarding to join these companies, learn their issues, and compare that to my future and past jobs/companies.

There are so many similar systems at various companies, since problems with building, releasing, and scaling mobile apps are similar: how to structure a codebase in a modular way, how to not have slow iOS builds, CI/CD, feature flags, experimentation, release tooling, etc. Not to say you should job hop often, but it's very cool to see different approaches and scale of problems at various companies with various sizes (of employees & customer scale).

Making the leap to quit my job

After 6 years in industry, I decided to make the leap! TLDR: Lots of thinking + conversations with my partner at that time, since our life would change, especially financially. I think most folks at work were not super surprised about my departure and foray into my own business, as I had talked about it before, I just didn't know when.

Pro tip: there never is a right time, don't wait too long and go for it!

Am I exactly where I want to be in my business? Hellllllll no! But I'm closer than if I didn't start at all. Trying my best is all that I can do :)