Making stuff as Founder and CEO of Avocado. Former music-making person. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

Leaving Google

How can I accurately summarize such a cardinal set of events? It may take me years.

An intense era of personal sacrifice and accomplishment is about to give way to something new. After about four and a half years at Google working with amazing people and ground-breaking products, I've decided that this Friday, June 20th, will be my last day at Google.

Describing the decision as difficult would be weak understatement. Google has been the most fun and fulfilling work experience I've ever had. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have been given. I have loved being at Google and I'm lucky to have helped build things that seem to be useful and fun.

Mostly, I will miss working with people whose skills I'll only achieve as aspirations. People like the Google Reader team members (and I'm including those volunteering their help) who are each incredibly, jaw-droppingly talented. They deserve all of Google's support and help. They take considerable risks personally and professionally and without their leadership and effort, Reader wouldn't exist.

My Dad and I have been talking about posts like these as part of the obsequies of leaving a job and about how to talk about the obvious bits often un-spoken e.g. difficult personal decisions or financial windfalls or wanderlust and desire. Yes, all of those apply here, too. Mainly though, I've often been frustratingly more curious than careful and this decision is made in the hope that I find a better balance.

You know... I really struggled with making the title of this post "Unsubscribed" but I've apparently managed to quell that impulse.

Here's some answers to questions that I suspect might be common.

What will you do next?
For my next trick, I will be thinking about what to do next.

What will happen to Reader?
Fewer bugs will be created as a result of my not coding. :) Seriously though, Mihai Parparita and Ben Darnell have always been the technical leads for Reader and each is a genius. My only (slight) concern is that this leaves a team smaller that's already small for the scale that Reader requires. But Reader's future is likely to be intense and I'm really excited to follow its development knowing what's ahead. More importantly, the team is happy to await my inevitable bug reports! (Update: "Happy" is a not entirely accurate way to express their feelings about that.)

Man, this seems abrupt. Is there a problem at Google? Dork fights?
Heh. No. Everything's ok. Don't go looking for conflict where none exists. I'm grateful to have been at Google.

Are you going to travel?
Not right away.

Are you going to make a film?
...

Are you going to be present online?
Sure. I'm still actively involved in various sharing services. I wonder if I should spend time doing a few more posts about things I learned at Google, like the previous post about my musing about first principles for building a feed reader? If, by some crazy chance, someone has a suggestion about they'd like to know more about, please let me know.

Thanks for listening. Reminder: you may want to move my feed out of your "googler" folder now.
posted at June 18, 2008, 7:32 AM

23 Comments:

  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger Notheory said…

    Reminder: you may want to move my feed out of your "googler" folder now.

    Amusingly accurate/prescient. The question is, where, now, should you be put?

     
  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger louisgray said…

    Wow. I'm both excited to learn what you do next and saddened to know Google, one of the great companies out there, is losing you as a resource. I expect to soon hear what you choose as your next path, and that you will be as successful as you have been with Google Reader, even if you start out with a lot fewer eyes watching your every move.

    Good luck!

     
  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger ThomasHan said…

    hey @cw,

    Wow, shocking news to a devote GR user since the beginning.

    Best of luck!

    Wanna join MobileMe @ Apple? :-)

     
  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger Jason said…

    As you know Chris, best of luck always.

     
  • At 11:11 AM, Anonymous kazi said…

    good luck!!

     
  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger Graham said…

    Thanks for all the great stuff you did with Reader (and Blogger, too, back in the day). Have fun with the next phase!

     
  • At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Joe Lazarus said…

    Google Reader is one of just a handful of web apps that I've used consistently on a daily basis for over a year. You should be proud of the work you did at Google. I'm psyched to see what's next for you. If you ever want to grab coffee in SF and talk interwebs and startups, give me a holler...

    http://joelaz.com

    It would be great to meet you and get your thoughts on what I'm working on (I'm a former Yahoo! turned entrepreneur). I'm exploring an area that I think you would find interesting based on your previous work.

     
  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Daniel said…

    It was the new favicon, wasn't it?

     
  • At 2:53 PM, Blogger Mai said…

    Congratulations Chris! I remember taking the F-Market with you in the morning and your excitement to just be a part of something so great as Google. Good luck on the next phase.

     
  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger NeilK said…

    Is tin-smithing is a dying art at Google too? Alas!

    It's just a job, and I'm sure you'll go on to other great things. But I still think of guys like you whenever I use a Google service, especially Reader. Now it's just anonymous electrons!

     
  • At 4:35 PM, Blogger Scott Dunn said…

    Google Reader on my mobile changed how I lived and ran my role as prj mgr because I suddenly was able to stay up on the blogosphere despite short, splintered time. I became aware of how much was going on out there and starting bring all these fresh, new ideas to mgmt. Incredibly useful products like GR can make massive differences.

     
  • At 9:55 PM, Blogger Robert Konigsberg said…

    Good luck Chris. I've always been impressed at the quality of Google Reader, and how you were able to turn the product around to make it such a success. Thanks for that, and also for the other unrelated things you helped me with.

     
  • At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You should give a shout out to Bloglines, who created the category in which you worked. And copied.

     
  • At 12:41 AM, Blogger Chris said…

    thank you, congrats and good luck

     
  • At 3:13 AM, Blogger Hez said…

    Chris, is there a part 3 to the Birth of Google Reader story? That was some seriously entertaining writing. I'm hooked, dude.

     
  • At 3:41 AM, Anonymous Joshua Porter said…

    Really enjoyed your post the other day...

    I would love to hear more about how you evolved from version one to version two of the Reader. I thought the transition was brilliant, and would love to know what mix of data/gut-feeling you had as you decided to completely change your software.

    Best of luck in whatever you do next!

     
  • At 5:17 AM, Blogger adamzhu1986 said…

    Google Reader is my favorite rss reader and my favorite in so many google products. Thank you and Good luck!

     
  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger snekse said…

    I think you missed an FAQ bullet:

    What should a potential Googler think about before accepting a position at Google?

    Your decision to leave might provide some insight to things some of us Google hopefuls haven't thought about yet.

     
  • At 8:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    First off, I want to tell you thank you. For Google Reader. I use it daily...and have switched from ...

    Secondly, I find you are such a humble person...and just the other day...I was showing my friend your blog...saying "Look this guy...created a wonderful application..." and now this...Needless to say, I am a bit sad that you are leaving Google because I have held you high...Mostly, because you managed though there is nothing hard-core computer science stuff in what you do (html, rss) but you do it with such passion and with such an humble spirit...that I find truly inspiring...

    I am going to stop now, before I scare you... :)

     
  • At 10:14 AM, Blogger Melissa said…

    Congratulations and good luck on your next phase... Hope to see you at the Beach!

     
  • At 12:34 AM, Blogger Andy said…

    Google Reader is the best feedreader ever made, and I spend more time in Reader than any other website. You created technology that made my life better, and I'm very grateful.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next. Congratulations!

     
  • At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    SON,
    Well said. No utterance can say it all. Though you leave something wonderful behind, the more wonderful thing is that you take you along wherever you may go. I have no idea whether life is a journey or just a random set of events, but whichever, if you keep wondering you will live a wonderful life.
    God will be with you because I asked her to be!
    dad

     
  • At 9:36 PM, Blogger Rampy said…

    As many spelled out, GReader happens to be our one of the most used products of Google after Gmail... as you being the founder (which I learnt only now), Google would miss you and we just wanna thank you for the work you have done for us...
    Have a great life ahead...

    With best wishes,
    Rampy

     

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