Why leave IBM?

Since announcing my departure from IBM, there have been many questions about the move:

“What happened?”
“Why are you leaving?”
“Is there a non-compete that keeps you from coming back and working for us?”

I want to put any speculation to rest and explain all this in one place so I can just send a link.  It’ll be easier for all concerned.  Let me take these in order.


What happened?

Nothing “happened”  in the sense of a precipitating event or ill will on anyone’s part.  Sorry but there is just no dirt to dish here.  If you want drama, go read The Odd is Silent and search for “Nosy Store Clerks.”


Why are you leaving?

Best explanation I’ve written is posted on Facebook:

IBM’s expectations of me in PLM were preventing me from spending as much time as I’d like in the WMQ community. As a PLM you are doing all sorts of behind-the-scenes work that takes time from public-facing activities and are often working on things that are unannounced and confidential and you can’t talk about at all. So it was actually difficult to do that and contribute externally. My intention is to work more in the community and be a bigger asset to WebSphere Messaging externally than I was internally.

Fact is I’m pretty good as a consultant and fairly suck as a product manager. It seemed like a good idea at the time, didn’t work out and neither I nor IBM have hard feelings about it. In fact, I’m cleared to work through ISSW so can continue to serve the same customers even as I’m out meeting new ones. It can only get better for me, for IBM and for the WMQ community out there with this move.

If you’ve worked with me as a consultant, you know when it comes to deep technical topics I’m in my element.  Give me a set of requirements to design from, or a misbehaving system to troubleshoot, or a security perimeter to penetrate, and stand back.  But whether it’s my Asperger’s, my temperament, or a deficiency in “soft skills,” or some combination of all these, I wasn’t nearly as effective as in product management as I am in a technical or teaching role.  Not that I was bad at it, but I can’t stand to toil away being merely good at one job knowing there’s another where I excel.


Can you work for us?

Yes!  I’m available as an independent or if you have a preferred vendor list, I have agreements with several established services firms, one of which is bound to be on your list.  As alluded to in the last section, IBM Software Services is one of the firms I’m able to sub-contract through.  In the few cases where there’s a non-compete issue, all I need to do is refer you to the IBM Software Services Practice Manager.


Bonus question: So why not go back to ISSW?

I’m extremely interested in Internet of Things, Personal Clouds, Vendor Relationship Management and Identity Management.  IBM doesn’t cover all these spaces and where they do they tend to specialize.    I’m a “deep generalist”.  I want to do all of these at once.  And, of those they do cover, IBM tends to work in the Enterprise space whereas some of the things that most entice me are happening in startups.

So who is my target market?  Anyone from my regular large enterprise customers all the way to the small startups at the other end of the spectrum.  And if you are located in one of the two states I have yet to visit (Alaska and Hawaii) I’ll figure out an incentive for you.


  1. How does your career evolve? Any news?

    • Thanks for asking! It turns out I’m able to make a living doing something I’m passionate about and that makes a positive difference in the world. What could be better? Someone asked recently when I plan to retire. My answer is that I’m not sure what that even means. Quit doing this so I can do something I enjoy less? If I had stayed at IBM long enough to retire, *this* is what I would have retired to.

      Engagements have run the gamut from short 1-week gigs to multi-month projects, and many of those are from existing customers. I’m grateful for all the work and try to earn the trust any client places in me, but nothing says “good job!” quite like being asked back. The work has been steady and at the moment I’m booked 8 months out and am working to close another month or two of work after that.

      That said, I still haven’t crossed Hawaii or Alaska off my bucket list so still offering cut rates to work in either location. In theory and given a sufficiently long engagement, someone could hire me to work remote, pay my travel to Hawaii or Alaska, and actually come out ahead on the rate differential. Just sayin’. 😉

  2. Thanks for the stock tip 🙂

  3. Dude, sorry to see you depart, although I understand your reasons completely. Security just won’t be the same without you fella

    • ##$^&^*$%#$!!!!! I’M NOT LEAVING SECURITY WORK! I thought this post was gonna put this to rest. This conclusion is completely backwards. The intent is security won’t be the same, but it’s because I’m still here and working on it. Now if you’d said “IBM won’t be the same without you” then I’d agree. In fact, if I’d thought about it, I’d have dumped my stock before announcing my departure and the stock price was $211. As of COB Friday it was $190. My advice is to dump all your IBM stock before next Friday, April 26th, which is my last day and probably the moment when investors really start to panic.

  4. Fiona Mader says

    Hey.. what about Australia .. Fiona

    • Hey, Australia is on the bucket list! I just need to figure out how to work out the work visa requirements and get paid. I suppose I could take it in Bitcoin! Then all I need is a sponsor for the visa. Want to sponsor me?

  5. Nice set of explanations. I am confident you will continue to be a great asset to the IBM messaging community.

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