j.j. toothman

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Category: Stanford

Bye Stanford. Hello Ticketfly.

While some of my close friends, colleagues, and trusted peers have knowledge of this, I have yet to publicly disclose that I parted ways with Stanford University at the end of March.

So I’ve taken some to recollect.  Even did some exploring regarding what I want to do nextSpent time with my kidsWatched the Red Sox pretty much every dayGot excited to go see Phish at Fenway.

Sadly what I found in the I spent working at Stanford’s Office of Development is that, institutionally speaking, they are an enterprise not ready to explore the utilization of the web and social media technologies in the same fashion that I am. There is interest to be sure, but there is not an equivalent amount of action supporting that interest.  I will say that much of the responsibility for igniting that interest fell upon my shoulders and while I was able to get certain corners activated and excited, doing so on a broader level was something I did not achieve.

What’s next

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I’ve accepted a contract position with Ticketfly. And I have to say, I’m bursting with excitement.  Ticketfly is a startup still in stealth mode so I won’t be writing too much at this time.  I will say that their business is centered around live music, which couldn’t be more of a perfect fit for me.  I’m also excited to head back to an office in San Francisco, to an office on 2nd Street to be precise.  Keturah and I were chatting yesterday and realized that I’ve been working down in Silicon Valley ever since we began dating.

So to all my friends working in South of Market, lets grab lunch!

Leaving NASA

“This has all been wonderful, but now I’m on my way…” – Phish

Has it really been six years that I’ve been working at NASA Ames Research Center? Wow. That’s a long time to be doing anything. If I think about the things I’ve been doing for six years or more, the list gets short real quick after breathing and eating.

Let’s see. I started at Ames in August, 2001…

  • I had just started dating Keturah (who is now my wife)
  • I was sharing an apartment with Chris (who is now my brother-in-law) in the South Beach section of San Francisco.
  • I had never been to Europe
  • The Red Sox still hadn’t won a world series since 1918
  • I came to Ames as an accomplished web programmer who knew his way around code, web servers, and Adobe Photoshop.

And, of course, that was the pre 9/11 world

Fast forward to October 2007…

  • Keturah and I have a 14 month old son(!)
  • We live in a house in Half Moon Bay
  • I’m about to take my third trip to Europe
  • The Red Sox actually won a world series in 2004
  • My interests with the web have grown from a web production guy into a web strategist focused on helping people use the web for communicating and sharing knowledge

My years with NASA have provided me a wealth of learning opportunities and professional growth. For that, I am most grateful. There’s a ton of people I’ve enjoyed working with and getting to know personally. I’m leaving knowing that there are some excellent (& positively disruptive) people in place to stir the drink. Quite honestly, there’s plenty of shaking and stirring left to do. I wish them all the best.

So what’s next for me?

I’ve accepted the position of Senior Web Technologist at Stanford University. I will be helping Stanford utilize the web to achieve its mission of “to teach the world” with a particular focus on Stanford’s relationships with their alumni. For the record, I wasn’t actually in the midst of a job search when Stanford gave me a call one afternoon. And I didn’t even read the job description until after my third meeting with them. But it wasn’t until I made the decision to move on that I realized just how much I need a change of scenery. Six years at NASA has worn me out in some ways and my enthusiasm and energy levels were reaching some low points. For me, it’s definitely time to for a new scene and new challenges.

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