June 3, 2008

I want to start a company!

Posted in Category: Work — Amr Awadallah @ 5:45 pm | link | | comment (0)
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For many months now, well before the Microsoft saga, I have been thinking about starting a company based on my Stanford PhD thesis with Mendel Rosenblum (using virtual machines to do cool stuff). Today, my employment with Yahoo changes from full-time to part-time, which allows me to start my new company. I am also taking an Entrepreneur In Residence role at Accel Partners, which gives me access to great people whom can advise me on how to further develop my idea into a good business plan. Accel also gives me the opportunity to assist with the technology needs of their portfolio companies, which exposes me to the challenges they face, allowing me to home-in on common problems that need to be solved.

I joined Yahoo on June 1st, 2000, so this marks my eighth anniversary, but it is really the ninth if you include the year I spent co-founding VivaSmart (which yahoo acquired in June of 2000). VivaSmart was a 7 person startup which built a catalog management system for shopping information, we became the backend of Yahoo Shopping (the internal product is now called Catzilla). Two and a half years after finishing the integration of Catzilla I took on a new role to make a science out of optimizing the Yahoo Search product, this implied building a metrics, analytics, testing, and reporting system. Over the course of the last six years I expanded that team from a few folks to become the PIE group (short for Product Intelligence Engineering), a 60 person organization for which I eventually served as VP of Engineering.

If you are an avid reader of my blog, then you know that I bleed purple blood. I am not leaving because I think Yahoo is not doing well, on the contrary, I think Yahoo currently has an excellent plan and a very bright future (if left alone to execute on that plan, please read my previous blog post). I am really leaving because the window of opportunity for starting a company in the virtual machines space is closing and timing is of the essence, hence why I need to make this move now.

I will continue my part-time employment with Yahoo at least until the end of August. It is very impressive that Yahoo is supporting my career goals of starting a company, only a great company would treat its folks like this, though I would like to think it is partially because I am a rare species 🙂

I will keep you posted about details of the startup on this blog, until it has one of its own.

Cheers,

— amr

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