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The past December 31 was my last day at Ironhack. A meditated decision that marked the end of an unforgettable journey. It meant leaving behind the best job in the world.
As I partially disclosed in the Now — 2020 post, on January 1, I officially joined an incipient Gamestry team. A new personal and professional époque. The challenge? No other than to build a product that would help gamers around the globe become better players.
At this point, Gamestry is no more than a "crazy idea" that holds up because of its founders' faith and a shaky WordPress template. Coming from a well-established Ironhack, the maneuver depicts a retreat (again) to the earliest of the stages. One that would contradict conventional wisdom around properly climbing the professional ladder. A risky move no caring mother would approve.
By the end of wintertime of 2019, I met Gamestry's founders through a friend that was formally advising them. He encouraged me to go meet them. Share product guidance at their new idea. He knew I'd enjoy it; he knows me well.
What started as an informal chat, over time, the relationship kept evolving — as well as my involvement and enthusiasm. We immediately clicked, and I found myself spending more and more time with them. I was having the time of my life helping with their nascent product.
The project was at a sparkling stage every pioneer has experienced starting a new venture, or launching a new feature. Truth be told: the stage I love the most. Ideas splash from all directions and everything connects chaotically. It is the PM job then to bring the room's entropy down and start shaping this stream of creativity.
Amid the summer, I took a few (deserved) days off from Ironhack to spend more time with Gamestry. A bittersweet situation that presumably (not that I know first hand) felt like cheating to your loved one. It started to feel inevitable. The desire to build bug me again, I couldn't help it.
The freshness of creating something from scratch. The freedom that comes with dealing with a blank canvas. The creativity of upbringing an idea from 0 to 1. The personal growth that one experiences getting out of the comfort zone. Even going back to the code editor — something I missed, and boy, I enjoyed it.
It got me thinking of the early days at iomando and Ironhack. They used to be like this. Companies evolve, though. Sometimes you don't even notice. Change happens slowly, then all at once. As Hemingway said, "Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly."
This is how I found myself after a deep Ironhack immersion. Which led me to a profound musing around what makes me happy in life.
I won't presume to hold a conclusive answer. Not even close. However, I tried to evaluate what I valued or enjoyed in life; which activities or patterns brought me joy, which did not; and how to align it all with my systems, routines, and daily affairs.
I'm certain of very few things in life. I consider all my strong beliefs as "loosely held". They are permanently and forever up to review. Most of them have evolved since they were first formulated.
Yet there is one thing I've learned over time that has endured the test of daily life's experiences: the directional nature of happiness. It doesn't matter "where you're now standing", but "where you're headed towards". It holds true for health, wealth, learning... anything.
Following this rationale, I applied a simple formula: evaluate what makes me happy, and what does not. From there, try to do more of what makes me happy, and less of what does not.
Below there is an (oversimplified) list of the activities or patterns that bring me joy — in no particular order:
I realized that my current life's anatomy was not actively nurturing those endeavors. Ironhack has given me one of the best rides of my life. I feel grateful for the opportunity Gonzalo and Ariel gave me almost five years ago. I will keep it dear and close to my heart, and always bring it with me wherever I go.
However, something was telling me to get out of the comfort zone; broaden my horizons; discover unexplored territories; learn new things. I wanted to realign life and work again, and I had been presented with the opportunity to do precisely that.
Gamestry had it all. A project where, product-wise, everything was to be done. An industry I knew nothing about. Starting from scratch. The challenge to assemble a brand new team. Exciting, uncertain, and frightening at the same time.
I gave it a lot of thought before making the jump. This is just the second career decision of my entire professional life. However, when incentives are aligned, decisions become rather easy.
Hence, officially starting on January 1, 2020, I'll be joining Gamestry to make it happen, to build the product that would help gamers around the globe become better players.
Update from 2020-02-15: some readers and listeners from Radio Lanza have pointed out that I haven't actually mentioned the specifics and key responsibilities of the role itself — and they are right. In this post, I focused mostly on the emotional, passionate side, rather than the actual "job to be done". To read more about the quirks of the role itself, I wrote a followup post that specifically deals with that.