Almost three weeks ago, I quit my job as a Software Development Manager at Amazon, after four years there. I've always said that my true "dream job" would be working for myself: making my own decisions, mistakes, and direction... but working at a place like Amazon was the next best thing.
There are stories of people crying at their desks because of how brutal Amazon culture can be (tight timelines, incredibly high expectations, and ambitious projects that seem impossible at times). I'm not too proud to admit that I once broke down in tears in my office from the pressure. I had snapped at my manager from the stress, and he [privately and correctly] got after me for it. It was so out of my "calm, cool, and collected" nature that it made me question what the heck I was doing there, and I broke down. After that, I picked myself back up and pressed on for another couple of years. The volume of things I learned and the growth I experienced there is astonishing. I don't regret it for a second.
June 18th, 2021, however, was my last day there. I'm now working for... no one.
I'm now doing what I've wanted to do since I was 12 years old: start my own business, on my own terms, making my own mistakes, and hopefully building something that people love. It was only because of Amazon that this is possible, so I'm incredibly grateful every day.
How did Amazon make this possible? Luck and good timing, mostly. I joined in 2017, when the stock price was at around $800. I was granted enough shares and rode the stock wave enough to allow me to quit and give me about a year of runway doing my own thing. That gives me a year to build, launch, and start making enough to support me and my family... not much time at all, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I can't miss out on.
Officially, I'm on sabbatical due to health reasons (the stress at Amazon often caused my high blood pressure to spike), but I'm taking this opportunity to do what I have been unable to do working "nights and weekends" for the past 20 years on side-projects. By going "full time" on my own project, my hope is that I can extend that year-long runway long enough to turn it into two years, then three, then... we'll see.
Ideas are cheap, and building is the easy part, so I'm not shy about sharing my idea. I'll post next about how I settled on my current idea, why I think it'll succeed, and what my plan is. For now, though, this is how I ended up here, and I plan to #buildinpublic here and on Twitter as @PocketBryan as I go. I will also be posting video updates on my blog as I go.
Edit: I spent the day yesterday setting up a blog where I can post long-form updates and videos. I didn't like the idea of using something like Medium that throws up paywalls, and I wanted to have one place to link to my video updates, etc. I'll continue to post milestones and interesting updates here, but keep an eye on PocketBryan.com as well if you're interested in following along.
Edit 2: I just posted a quick update about what I'm building, why, and why I think it'll work this time (as well as a list of my many failures before now 😂): https://www.pocketbryan.com/2021/07/08/the-idea-invoicing-for-freelancers-and-why-i-think-it-will-work/#more-64