Do you know the way to San Jose?

I love challenge. I love adventure. And I love to travel. If you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that.

Critical Mass is giving me an opportunity to do all three. It’s going to shake up my life a lot (not to mention Alex’s). But we’re having a lot of trouble saying “no”. They’re sending us south of the border. Really south.

In 2007, we ran a couple of experiments with outsourcing — trying to work with other companies in other countries, in the hope of changing the way we work. It’s a grand scheme: find others to handle the lower-level grunt work, and allow our own people to think about processes at higher levels. It’s called “improving the value chain”, or something like that.

We had some trouble with those vendors, though. Partly our own ignorance. But partly a realisation (and a validation) that outsourcing companies are often hard to work with — too much documentation, not enough process, and often you spend more money integrating the end product than you would have if you’d just developed it yourself.

We think we can do it better. And to prove it, we’re opening up a shop in Costa Rica. The first goal is to provide an offshore shop for ourselves. Second goal? Do what we do best — find clients and make a mark.

It’s not as easy as hanging a shingle on the wall, though. You need people who know processes to help set it all up. And that’s where I come in.

When Cory told me that we’d be going down this path, I threw my hat in the ring. I’d had a chance like this a long time ago, when we were going to open the Toronto office (the first time). I backed out because I thought I had something else going in Calgary. I ended up staying. This time is different — we’ve learned how to open offices. And to do it, we send out people who already know how everything works. That includes me.

So sometime in the 2nd quarter of this year, Alex and I are relocating to San Jose, Costa Rica. It’s likely to be a two-year contract. We’ll have to find a new place to live, new places to shop for food, even new friends. We’ll keep our house here in Calgary — I’m nowhere near done with this place yet — we’ll need a place to come back to. But we’ll have to rent it out.

For the moment, this is kind of hush-hush. Only a few people know. It’s going to suck majorly to leave the Rolex team, though — they’re highly talented people and it’s been a great account to work on. When opportunity knocks, though, you have to answer the door or always face the question of “what if”.

Stay tuned…

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