austin entrepreneur

Austin on Rails and FiveRuns Featured in the Statesman

Posted in Uncategorized by efalcao on January 31, 2008

Last time I went to Austin on Rails (April ’06), it was about 20 people with only about 3 or 4 in the room getting paid to do rails development full time. At January’s meeting, there were 50+ people with more seeking rails developers than those seeking employment.

It’s an exciting time to be a rails developer in Austin, the city has a very vibrant rails community.

Anyhow, the Statesman was there and FiveRuns is mentioned a few times in the article. Check it out.

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Life Changes

Posted in Uncategorized by efalcao on January 11, 2008

After it became clear that Evenlevel was down in the dumps, it became time to regroup. I think that my wife and I genuinely mourned that fact that so much time and sacrifice had been poured into Evenlevel and it ended up not working out. One day I woke up and had to figure out what to do next. Do I keep consulting and work on a startup on the side? Do I get a boring job and work on a startup on the side? Or do I go back to a startup and beef up on my skills and contribute?

EJ also had to hit the job market post-Evenlevel. He found a great job at a startup very quickly and had multiple offers thanks to the story of Evenlevel as an interview tool. This steered me towards option #3: Contribute at least a few years to a startup, regroup and build my skills.

I had several interviews and had three offers on the table within a few weeks. I felt very fortunate to have three very different offers on the table:

  1. A 9-month consulting gig that paid very well. This afforded me more time to figure out what my next step would be and the work was going to be fairly easy. They used ASP.NET.
  2. A full-time position at a startup where I would be a more senior developer. They were doing ASP.NET and were looking to focus in areas in which I have a lot of experience (on-page search engine optimization, client side performance optimization, etc). They used ASP.NET.
  3. A full-time position at a startup where I would be the lowly developer on the team. They built their product on rails.

I think that given these three choices, there really wasn’t a choice at all. I chose a developer position at option #3. The company is called Fiveruns and the product is enterprise server management for rails. This has been my golden opportunity to do rails development full time, to really master an emerging framework and language, and to belong to an elite team of individuals.

I couldn’t be happier. There is something special about being surrounded by elite developers. I think it’s so important at this point in my career to not be on top. I could have been on top at option #2, but the amount of learning that I could accomplish in a day would be low. I would simply be taking plays out of a playbook. At my current employer, my skills are going to keep growing at a strong pace for a long time.

In terms of development philosophy, Fiveruns is also a very important fit. I have been doing .NET development as my paying job for many years now, but I have always been using open-source software for my personal projects. This is my chance to emphasize my passion for FOSS and to really hone my skills. I have also been given the opportunity to work full time with a MacBook Pro, a real treat 😉

In my heart of hearts I’ll always been an entrepreneur, and I’ll almost certainly start a new company years down the road. But for the time being, and for the foreseeable future, I’m ecstatic to hone my skills and be a part of a great team whose products I really believe in. I’ve always read that venture capital is an investment in people and I am really seeing that in the team at Fiveruns.

Given my post rate, I’ll see you in March 😉

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