Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Why I take the path less travelled? (Part II)

After I left my first company, I choose to join a GLC subsidiary. Till today, I can’t really say whether that’s a good or bad decision, but surely it’s an ill-informed one. Well, during the interview, I was told that I will be in-charge of a certain project that is graphics intensive. I was thinking, “Wow, I would be in-charge of designing and developing a project of such considerable scale. That would be quite a breakthrough for me as I had been assuming a team player role in my previous company.” But it turn out that, their understanding of “in-charge” is quite different from mine. I was tasked to “maintain” the software that is already developed and delivered by some foreign company. That is, if there is any minor modification required, I would be expected to do it. If the manager or customers wanted to know anything about the software, I would be expected to answer it. But no design and development is needed from me. And that was not what I really wanted.

Anyway, throughout my stint in the GLC, I did eventually get my chance to do software development. And since the company frequently worked with foreign companies, I did have the opportunities to interact with developers of other nationalities and learnt the various software designs and programming techniques from the source codes that I had access to. And one thing I realised about the difference between foreign companies and local/GLC companies, is that foreign companies invested a lot into their R&D and had genuine concerns about building up their own technological assets and capabilities, while local/GLC firms are normally more business-oriented and concerned more about short term gains. Well, of course there are exceptions and that’s just my own little observations.

There was one incident that really triggered me into thinking about my future in that company. There was a mass promotion and several of my colleagues were promoted to senior engineers. But I wasn’t in the list. I was told that it was because I did not join the company long enough (less than 3 years), though my performances were far better than others. But considering the fact that some of my colleagues joined as fresh graduates while I joined from another company, my total years of experiences were actually not less than them. Furthermore, what’s happening to the performance oriented environment that I was promised during the interview? It seemed to me that it was based more on seniority. Although I was promoted half a year later, I felt that it was time to get out of my comfort zone and seriously think about my future. I was able to foresee that I would meet with a bottle-neck few years later, if I continue to stay in the company. I would have to choose between going into junior management, or remained as a condemned senior engineer.

So eventually, I decided that I shall set up my own company. I came to realize that there isn’t exactly a perfect company, other than the one you set up yourself. Since I do not agree with the way the company is run, I shall set up my own company and run it the way I deemed correct. Since I do not agree with the company culture, I shall set my own company culture. Since I felt that my effort wasn’t adequately recognized, I shall create my own series of products and let the market recognized me. I wanted to take on the world and ready to take on the world. The decision was made and I started planning. That was August 2003.