Leaving Carbonmade

It's my time.

This article was published on October 19, 2011.
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Some of you know this already, but most of you probably don't. I've left the day-to-day operations of Carbonmade after four unbelievable years. It's bittersweet. I don't regret my decision — it was my time — but I certainly miss Dave, Jason, Mike, Kyle, and the rest of the folks at Carbonmade.

Leaving Carbonmade

A Little Background Story

I "met" Dave and Jason while I was wrapping up the sale of my previous company TypeFrag in late 2006. They were running a two person design and development shop called nterface at the time. I got word from my friend Matt Brett that Dave would be the right person to design business cards for me. Boy, was I wrong. Dave, for one thing, doesn't do business cards.

In the course of our conversation, he upsold me from business cards to $50,000 worth of design and development work for a new startup idea I was pondering called Uncover. Being upsold from a $500 business card design job to $50,000 worth of work was the best thing that ever happened to me, because I met Dave and Jason, which led to my involvement with Carbonmade.

TypeFrag was sold in January 2007 and by late spring, most of the work on Uncover was complete. We launched it, iterated on it, and got just under five hundred users in the first month. Not so good. As I was slowly chugging away on promoting and iterating Uncover, Dave reached out to me in early August while I was on vacation about whether I'd be interested in joining nterface as a one-third partner and the Business Guy — the title I'd later carry over to Carbonmade.

Carbonmade was a functioning product that Dave and Jason had created in their spare time, but wasn't getting much tender loving care, as they had to continually push out client work to pay their bills. Soon after joining nterface, I started working on Carbonmade full-time while they banged out client work for the rest of 2007. It wasn't until early 2008 that we were all able to focus our full attention on it.

As stressful as those early years were — we were ramen profitable, but split three ways there wasn't much to go around — they were some of the happiest years of my life. The three of us had very distinct roles and together we could handle everything as a team. We kicked ass.

I don't want this article to be about the history of Carbonmade or too sappy, but I do want to say that there's nothing quite like working with truly great people. Dave is the best designer I know. Period. He doesn't get the fanfare that comes from hanging in celebrity designer circles, but the guy is a genius. Often times I wish I could see inside his brain to know how he looks at the world and design. I've taken a lot of what I think about product, marketing, branding, and design from spending four years with Dave – one year when we were roommates.

Jason is equally smart. His developer skill lies in the fact that he can build anything. If the three of us can conceive it then Dave can design it and Jason can build it. Anything Jason puts his mind to he can accomplish with near perfection.

What's Next?

I'm not sure what's next for me, but one thing is for sure, I will miss working with Dave and Jason. They impacted my life in so many ways, building Carbonmade together being only one of them. For now, I remain on the board and continue to be a part owner. I'm excited about some of the recent hires and the direction the product is taking. Carbonmade will be around for a long time, and I'm so excited to have been a big part of how it got to where it is today.

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