Making stuff as a founder of Avocado. Former music-maker. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

His Shoes, the Color of Dreams

(otherwise titled On Evan's Evolution From Blogger)

Some months ago and seven minutes into a light sleep on the Blogger couch after successive nights spent without rest at the Googleplex, I awoke (while dreaming of archiving and path interaction with our then new move to Post Pages) and realized the entirety of my field of vision was filled with the sight of Evan Williams' shoes. And in addition to being close enough to be my sight's locus, they were also remarkable for their color and exhuberence and daring - a nice pair of shoes, to be sure. Oddly, they matched his pants in a way that peanut butter matches algebra, which is to say they didn't. Much.

Actual size. We shrunk him so we could be more scalable.
With few exceptions, that series of morning-nights and my subsequent vision of Ev's shoes was an unusual development in my professional experience. And one which set the tone for our new relationship at Google as boss and stooge. I closed my eyes, slept an additional four minutes, and thought of when I'd get to post about my vision. Deep in my heart, I suppose I'd known I'd save it for a week like this week, Evan's last as the boss of Blogger.

I shall greatly miss Mr. Shoes' presence in Google. And ever since that one blurry morning I pride myself in never having judged him on his footwear alone. I now comfortably believe that few others will do so, in fact, I'm confident that tomorrow's chroniclers will judge him as equitably as myself, that is, without questioning his choices of shoe too harshly.

Now for those who are interested in what I'm talking about (at all), well, some years ago Evan Williams started Blogger with the help of some fantastic people and has today let everyone else know what we've been privy to - namely that he'll be departuring from full-time involvement from the product whose development, iconography, and identity have been intertwined with his name like some strain of orange-colored DNA. Bye to Blogger, but "hello" to the tabula rasa the rest of us know from picturebooks and fables as "more free time."

Thankfully, Google employees like us who get to work on Blogger's future won't be burdened with unwelcome spare hours. :) Blogger's evolution has been meticulously prepared for since the day I began at Google and since Pyra's acquisition - for years at Google there were plans and dreams and big ideas and Blogger began to seem to me like a wooden airplane where each meeting wound the rubber band of software development tighter, waiting for the chance for enough dependencies to move forward for the potential energy to convert to its more impressive kinetic result.

It gets to take flight now, which is pretty exciting - a whole host of changes to the approaches of how we interact with our ideas and communities online, and were I Evan - it'd be hard, hard, hard for me to leave.

But we're at different places - his sight-line is quite a bit higher than mine and so the horizon he sees in his professional development's a bit farther out right now. I know, in part, because I've known Ev for a while now. And like many of his close associates, I expect great things from him in the future. It's a very natural evolution, and I can't stress enough that there was no harshness or animosity in his decision - exactly the opposite - and this change seems to mirror some of the thoughts on graceful foundership and transition that Ross Mayfield's talked about thoughtfully. (Ev's transition being an example of the graceful kind.)

Yes, I expect Ev will find a way to contribute again to our technological progress ... despite the fact that he really actually needs to get some serious game on in his life. Meaning, I expected he would get better at Mario Kart if not while at Blogger then at least while working at Google. However, last weekend's fun with Goldman and Ev has proven that particular milestone to be futile and it is my sincere hope that with his new (and ample) discretionary schedule that he'll place a little more effort at this sagging part of his CV.

Oh, and I kid because I love. Thanks, Ev for your hard work and vision.

And the hoodies.
posted at October 5, 2004, 1:57 AM


  • At 11:15 PM, rick said…

    Why has no one commented that Evhead is leaving Google and Blogger a millionare several times over? I think he'll be okay too. I'd say he's in the most envious of positions: an excess of money, intelligence and now, free time. One of my favorite sayings I ever heard was this: "At either ends of the social spectrum, there lies a leisure class." Congratulations to Evhead for reaching the better end.
    In other news, Google beware, the new search engine Clusty is going to make some big waves if it can get its name out there. As adulterous as it seems to me, Clusty's feature of organizing your hits into categories, man, that's just plain handy. Next time you're discussing your latest tour at the water cooler, mention to someone you know on that side of the house that they may have some serious competition if "clustered" results catches.
    Luck in Life


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