I'm excited to announce that I'm joining Astronomer as a software engineer.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 59 seconds.
Astronomer is "Heroku for data" — modern data pipelines as a service.
I'll be part of the core data engineering team with a personal focus on Python. This represents a growth opportunity from building backend APIs and web apps which I've been doing for a few years now, as well as continued excitement about a language I first discovered nearly a decade ago and have enjoyed working with ever since.
Hello, world! 🔭
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The decision to join Astronomer was not a hard one — I truly believe in Ry, Tim, and Greg not only as co-founders but also for what they've accomplished in Cincinnati's startup ecosystem so far.
Astronomer has racked up impressive credentials such as being the first (and only) AngelPad company out of a startup hub like Cincinnati. If you don't follow accelerators closely, AngelPad is #1 in the country 1. Nothing guarantees success, but a highly selective accelerator choosing your company over so many other great ones is a useful filter to consider when joining a startup. While startup success is never easy, factors like this can bend the "luck" component in your favor.
I've worked for several startups in the city and have data points on many others from knowing the founders or engineers, being in accelerator networks, etc. I believe I have one of the most cohesive viewpoints on startups in Cincinnati, and a pretty well informed one on startups in general at this point.
Given that, three unique aspects of Astronomer convinced me to come onboard:
Cultural intentionality - The team is strong and the focus on intentional and transparent culture is above and beyond the startup norm. From team lunches and family dinners to monthly sessions of Astronomer Uncensored with transparent conversation about anything going on in the company from product to strategy to investment and finances.
Personal impact potential - Engineering talent has a strong core and is evolving creating mentorship opportunities. There are big problems to solve at scale. Our blog posts value high quality learning and are often pretty technical. I like to think that these three areas are a good fit for me to make a strong impact.
Market opportunity - Astronomer is one of the fastest growing seed-stage startups in the city. The data pipeline market is hot. Managing and gleaning insight from multiple fragmented data sources is a pain point many companies feel (and will pay for). I anticipate a big Series A relative to the region. These are some of the motivating factors.
In Q4 2016, I started running my own contracting business doing software development for startups. I was fortunate to have great clients, one of which was Astronomer. It's been a fun experiment and I learned a ton about running the non-technical side and operations of a small business alongside engineering. In running this, I learned counterintuitively that dedicating 100% of one's time to engineering work is a luxury that doesn't come easily running a one-person business — I'll write more on software entrepreneurship later, so subscribe at the bottom if you're interested. For now, I'm excited to get back to my roots and dedicate my energy to nothing more than architecting and developing great software.
Something I'd like to mention since my blog has readership in the Python community: I'm not sure yet whether we'll have the opportunity to attend PyCon in Portland next month. For a few years now, it's been my favorite conference and I always return from it with so much fresh knowledge and value. If we're there, I look forward to discussing all things Astronomer and data engineering with you! Either way, this year I plan to publish tutorials and what we learn with the Python community through blog posts and open source.
Meeting Guido van Rossum at PyCon 2016
Since making the career move from grad school into the startup world, I've found seed-stage engineering work to be the perfect intersection of passion, talent, and value for me personally. I'm looking forward to continuing this journey at Astronomer.
AngelPad was ranked #1 in 2015 per the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. In 2016, the rankings switched to tiers with nine accelerators in the top tier including 500 Startups, AngelPad, and Y Combinator. Startups coming out of the best accelerators have access to the best networks of investors, advisors, and talent. Again, there are no guarantees in startups (or in life!), but this can indicate increased likelihood for future success. ↩