The New Gig

I haven’t had many jobs in my career, so changing jobs feels pretty momentous: two weeks ago I had my last day at Boundless, and today will be my first at CartoDB.

I started with Boundless back in 2009 when it was OpenGeo and still a part of the Open Planning Project, a weird non-profit arm of a New York hedge fund millionaire’s corporate archipelago. (The hedgie, Mark Gorton, is still going strong, despite the brief set-back he endured when LimeWire was sued by RIAA.)

For that six year run, I was fortunate to have a lead role in articulating what it meant to “do open source” in the geospatial world, and to help to build OpenGeo into a self-supporting open source enterprise. We grew, spun out of the non-profit, gained lots of institutional customers, and I got to meet and work with lots of quality folks.

After six years though, I feel like I need a change, an opportunity to learn some new things and meet some new people: To move from the enterprise space, to the consumer space.

So I was very lucky when a new opportunity came along: to work for a company that is reimagining what it means to be a spatial database in a software-as-a-service world. Under the covers, CartoDB uses my favorite open source spatial database, PostGIS, to run their platform, and working for CartoDB gives me a chance to talk about and to work on something I like almost as much as (more than?) open source: spatial SQL!

The team at CartoDB have done a great job with their platform, providing a simple entry-point into map making, while still leaving the power of SQL exposed and available, so that users can transition from beginner, to explorer, to power user.

As someone who currently only knows a portion of their technology (the SQL bit), I’m looking forward to experiencing the rest of their platform as a beginner. I also know the platform folks will have lots of good questions for me on PostGIS internals, and we’ll have many interesting conversations about how to keep pushing PostgreSQL and PostGIS to the limits.

My two week between-jobs break was refreshing, but sometimes a change is as good as rest too. I enjoyed my last six years with Boundless and I’m looking forward to the future with CartoDB.