Bon Voyage Jim and Mia

I remember when Jim and Mia started with Critical Mass.

Mia was an import, from our sister/spin-off company Large Medium in Stockholm, Sweden. Back then we were doing exchanges with Large Medium as a form of cross-training. (Web Development was the only group never included in that exchange — I’d have loved to have gone.) We definitely got the better end of the deal. Not only did we get our people back, but we got to keep Mia.

Jim was one of the last of our “attitude” hires. Today, Jim might have some difficulty getting through our screening process, but back then we were more concerned about people blending in than understanding the XHTML 1.0 Strict specification. Jim didn’t really know what he was doing when he started years ago, and I had my doubts that he’d last long.

Mia become one of our best PMs, running the Rolex account until her departure. (She was even our yoga instructor for a couple of years after Lori decided to cut back on the teaching she was doing.) Similarly, Jim rose through the ranks of Web Development, becoming a very adept Web Development Manager. It wasn’t time that got them there — it was skill, knowledge, and ability. Things that are hard to replace. Jim is one of the few people who would work overtime on his last day. Which he did — speaking on behalf of Critical Mass at the Search Engine Strategies conference in New York.

Tomorrow, they leave for Vancouver, and then for Silicon Valley. Jim’s heading, like so many other former Critical Mass employees, to work at Yahoo. Mia’s going to be doing things a little differently for a few months until her visa comes through, but she’ll not be without things to do, I imagine.

Naturally, I’m sad to see them both go. I’ve worked with them both for years, and while I haven’t seen Mia regularly in a few months, her (effectively) permanent departure won’t go unnoticed. Jim’s absence I’ll feel much more directly, as I’ve been leaning on him for months in the regular operation of the Rolex development team. I can’t slack off anymore, I guess.

We saw them briefly today, as they went through their day of Moving Hell. Packers showed up late, and when they did it was only one person, who promptly broke a china cup. Not a good way to start. Then the Calgary Police Service closed down 17th avenue in anticipation of the Red Mile forming again. That cut off the moving truck from getting to their house. Jim we’d seen for about 30 minutes. Mia only five.

Farewell, dear friends. May your journey go well, and may the border crossing go with the minimum amount of agony.