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Southward Ho!

No, the title of this entry is not a reference to the 1939 Roy Rogers Film of the same name.

No, the title of this entry is not a reference to the 1939 Roy Rogers Film of the same name. In an effort to get myself blogging more often, I want to give more frequent updates about myself and the organization. In this case, my personal move to Atlanta in April of next year, and our related Delphix investment in the Atlanta area.

Within engineering, we don't view ourselves as geographically limited when it comes to recruiting. That is, we don't sit around and ask ourselves "if only we opened an office in XYZ we could really build a better team." We are willing, however, to invest in great talent where we find it, and focus recruiting efforts to build local critical mass when it makes sense to do so.

The result is our current offices in Menlo Park, San Francisco, Boston, and Colorado, with additional remote individuals. Within engineering we seek to maximize individual impact, and avoid barriers (such as geography) that get between people and their potential. We've built a very online organization, making heavy use of Slack and Google Hangouts to help people connect, along with frequent forums, huddles, and "fireside chats" to make ideas and updates available to everyone regardless of location.

I was the first Delphix employee in Boston after I followed my wife (admittedly back to our families) as she pursued her postdoctoral fellowship at MIT in neuroscience. Marrying an academic, I knew that the traditional mantra of "pick a location and then find a job" would necessarily be reversed, though I was hopeful we could end up in the Bay Area or Boston when her postdoc wrapped up.

When my wife received an offer from Georgia Tech (one of the top Biomedical Engineering programs in the country), she was thrilled even as I viewed the potential transition with a bit of trepidation. I knew very little about Atlanta, and was wary of leaving a known tech center near my family for unfamiliar waters. Within a few weeks, however, that trepidation quickly changed to excitement about the opportunity not just for my family, but for my career and Delphix:

  • I realized there were already seven current Delphix employees in the Atlanta area, on including the one engineer and two support people I was familiar with.
  • I knew Georgia Tech was a good engineering school, but I didn't realize how great it was. After looking at the program in more detail, and talking to CS faculty at other schools who saw GT as a growing presence, it was clear that we needed to add GT to our university recruiting program ASAP. Everyone at GT has been awesome at helping me connect with all kinds of people and opportunities inside and outside of GT.
  • I didn't know much about the tech scene in Atlanta, but thanks to our GT contacts I had the opportunity to sit down with people from GT VentureLab and entrepreneurs in the Atlanta area. In addition to learning about the established tech scenes (such as security and payment processing), I got to see first hand the emerging startup scene through Tech Square and Atlanta Tech Village (including joining the Friday startup chowdown at ATV). The tech (and startup) scene is very real in Atlanta.
  • I learned that Atlanta ranks #3 on the list for Fortune 500 headquarters by city, with a staggering 424 of the Fortunte 500 (85%) having a presence in the metro area. It helps having a great airport from which you can travel to (or from) anywhere.
  • We loved the city when we visited, particularly the feel of local neighborhood centers within the perimeter. They reminded us of San Francisco (including artisanal popsicles and vegan juice bars), where we met and lived together for 4 years. Only here, there were affordable homes in walking distance that could accommodate our growing family.

The lifestyle is a very real draw - once I announced my move, Seb quickly followed suit, and I've heard of interest from one or two other engineers as well. The services organization had already been looking to hire a group of co-located people outside of the Bay Area and the Pacific timezone, and latched on to Atlanta as a place with great talent, lower cost of living, and easy travel.

Our university recruiting efforts went from exploratory to full speed and Amanda is excited to grow our program with amazing candidates from Georgia Tech. What started as "let's get a temporary office and then evaluate down the road" has quickly become "we need a real office to house a growing team", and we're actively searching for space that straddles the boundary between our current employee base (northern OTP) and potential recruiting base (midtown / ITP).

I'm personally excited to make the move, but even more excited to be the catalyst for a real Delphix investment in the Atlanta area. While our headquarters will always be in the Bay Area, Atlanta could be a real cornerstone office location for us, one where we're excited to be a real part of the university and tech communities.