New Adventures: Joining Agrilyst

A little over a month ago, I decided to move on from doing full-time consulting and take a new job:

I actually love consulting and the work was going well. Finding clients was hard but I was lucky to have some stable gigs that I enjoyed. I liked being able to spread my expertise around multiple teams and get to learn and absorb a lot at once. I didn't like the ratio of work to meta-work. The amount of time I spent getting, keeping, and prospecting clients far outweighed the amount of time I got to spend working with them. I'm aware this is often the nature of the work, but it was just starting to get to me.

At the same time, I started to feel this yearning I hadn't felt in a couple years - the strong desire to build. I wanted to be a part of a small team again: have a big impact on a product, celebrate all the shipping, work with peers and mentor younger devs. I reached out to a bunch of friends and Charlie O'Donnel introduced me to the co-founders of Agrilyst.

I was immediately interested in Agrilyst because it checked a large number of boxes for the team I wanted to join:

  • An industry that I am interested in, though knew little about: Indoor Agriculture and Hydroponic Farming.
  • A product that could have an impact on the physical world and had a reach beyond the internet: Growers use the platform to manage and optimize their operations, leading to more cost and energy efficient crops.
  • A plan to generate revenue: The product is a SaaS that growers pay directly for.
  • A good team: Allison Kopf (CEO) and Jason Camp (CTO) managed to build and grow the beta version by themselves and even win TechCrunch Disrupt last year.

After talking to the team, it wasn't a hard decision. It's been a big transition for me but I'm loving it so far. I've had to go heads down and write code for the past couple weeks (something I haven't done for an extended period in a long time) and it's been fun. We've had to do some technical planning and we're proud to be choosing a boring stack. It's allowed us to get to a point where we're almost ready to release the real v1 of the product in the next few weeks. Any time that hasn't been spent writing code has been learning about the industry and visiting farms. I can tell you that indoor farming is an industry with amazing engineering feats and real innovation. It's incredible to see first hand.

When joining I was aware that my role wouldn't stay the same for very long (it never does, but especially not is such a small team). The heads-down coding is hopefully going to shift into leading a team in the very near future. We're looking for a couple of strong people to join the team and help us continue to build and improve this awesome product. I'm looking to build a unified product team that encompasses design and development so that we can work closely together to ship beautiful and functional features. If you'd be interested in working with me or hearing more, contact me.

It's still early, but it's been a while since I've been this excited about work.

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