Monday, October 12, 2020

Leaving Linguamatics


The big news in my world at the moment is that I'm leaving Linguamatics. It's a massive decision for me because I'm one of the founders and I've ploughed untold time and effort, blood, sweat, and (yes) tears into it over the years. 

I realise that I'm very fortunate to even be able to contemplate leaving the company given the global situation. However, despite all that's going on and the uncertain future, now still feels like a good time to part ways, for me and for the company. 

I'm immensely proud of what we've achieved at Linguamatics and what the company is set up to achieve next. My Test team have been challenging and inspiring in equal measure (if you don't like everything you say being questioned, don't  build a team of excellent testers) and I am confident they can continue to do good work without me. I also manage a small team of technical authors and I've been delighted to see what people who agree what a good job looks like and care to do it efficiently can achieve.

I was going to write a blog post about this, but I realised that I'd said it all in my email to the company already, so below there's a lightly-edited version of that.

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Hi everyone,

I wanted to let you all know that I'll be leaving Linguamatics at the end of the year.  As you can imagine, that'll be a moment of very mixed emotions for me.

Linguamatics was started around 20 years ago after me and the other founders were made redundant from our previous employer. I think our first meeting as a company was around a dinner table and we sat back-to-back in a tiny office in St John's Innovation Centre for years as we created I2E from the ground up, learning how to build software, how to be a business, and how to work together.

Along the way were moments of great tension (like the time I accidentally unplugged the indexing servers) and great innovation (like the time I took the case off the web server and gaffa-taped a desk fan to it for cooling) and great satisfaction (like getting our first patent for the technology we invented).

We've taken on many wonderful people over the years - and that includes you all. I'm thrilled to have been involved in a significant amount of that recruitment and proud when I see how colleagues that I helped to hire have contributed and grown and become key to the company's success. With your help we've turned one product into a suite of products which are dedicated to the same vision we had originally: using natural language processing to extract information from unstructured text powerfully, efficiently, and with the ability to tune precision and recall to suit any need.

Where we've ended up is amazing. We have made Linguamatics into an incredible international business with a top-notch reputation doing work that helps make the world a better place. That's not to be sniffed at. When the opportunity to become part of IQVIA appeared there was a tough choice to make but I believed then, and continue to believe, that the two companies are a strong strategic fit and complement each other well.

On a personal level I've learned a tremendous amount from working at Linguamatics. I've done pretty much everything in the company at some point, including accidentally becoming the health and safety officer because I happened to pick up the phone when the local Council called asking for one. I'm always delighted when a colleague does something that I didn't know how to do, or shows me where my knowledge is lacking, because that's an opportunity to improve my skills and add to my toolbox. There have been lots of those occasions in the last two decades :)

Which brings me to today. It's been a long journey for me and, frankly, I'm now very tired. I want to take a break and then I want to look for a new challenge with new opportunities to learn. I'm extremely conscious that my entire working career has been at Linguamatics and I wonder how much of what I know is specific to here, and what could apply in other contexts, and what I could find out about how to test from other people in those other contexts. There's also a bunch of courses I have wanted to do for years but not found the time for, and I want to put some energy into my role as Vice President of the Association for Software Testing.

As I said, it's a time of mixed emotions, but after Linguamatics was basically my life for so long I think I can now move on without the company and I'm confident that the company can move on just fine without me too.

Thank you very much for being great colleagues and making Linguamatics a great place to work.

James

Image:https://flic.kr/p/57p1gv

1 comment:

  1. Exciting stuff! I really enjoyed our brief time as colleagues and feel like I learned a lot from you in that short time. All the best for this next chapter and I hope you'll keep up the blog as it is really good.

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