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If you follow me on twitter you might already have understood something: last week I gave my two months notice to my employer, Avanade Italy. I've been working with them since the end of 2007, and during the almost 2 years and half I learned a lot. Especially I added to my skills-set some competencies I never had the chance to practice working for a web agency and for a product company: the so called consulting skills. I also had the great opportunity to coach on the job some junior developer that just come out from university (or with little experience): some were more receptive, other less, but at the end I hope they learnt some of the principles of good coding and software design.

And also worked with many great colleagues, some which I’m really going to miss.

So, why am I leaving?

Avanade is a great company, so why am I leaving?

  • Web Development - In Avanade one thing was really lacking: some real web development. I'm a web developer at heart, and in Italy all of the "real" web development (where with real I mean big B2C websites or big online magazine/newspaper) is developed by web agencies like the one I worked before going to NZ.
  • Product expert vs software developer - It seems like all the big consulting companies are trying to sell solutions based on products that require very little to almost no development work: like SharePoint, CRM, BizTalk, Commerce Server and so on. I’m not interested in becoming an expert on customizing a specific product: I’m more interested in “custom development” and in the way people work together.
  • Italy is getting worse and worse every day - Italy is a mess: it might have great natural and historical places but if you are not a tourist Italy is not a good place to live.
  • No “my office” - And the last reason is that the working condition of the consulting industry are really bad: 90% of your time is spent at the customer site, working a small 15” laptops, sitting in temporary places, with just enough space to fit your laptop and move the mouse. And I really miss a place I can call “my office”.

And where am I going?

I think you might have heard of my new employer: it’s called the European Union, and specifically I’ll be working in at the Council of the European Union.

Avanade-To-EU

I applied to the open competition for becoming an EU official in the field of IT when I was still in New Zealand, in summer 2007. It took one year and half to pass all the stages of the competition, and then one year for someone to pick me up from the pool of possible employees. Starting from the the 1st of April, I’ll join the IT department as Team Lead and Architect of the team that is building all the public facing web sites of the Council… and as you have probably seen yourself, there is lot of work to do.

So, after more then 3 years I’ll work on public websites again. And my first task will be moving the team away from the VSS Hell and trying to steer it to a more Agile way of developing software.

Moving away from Italy

But I’m not only changing job, I’m also changing country: I’m going to live in Brussels, Belgium.

Unlike 3 years ago, I’m not going abroad because I want to live in that specific country, but because I want to go away from Italy: I already know I’ll miss the Alps, the lakes, but, as I said before, living here is becoming very difficult. So I’ll consider myself in self-exile and I’ll come back to Italy if/when things get better.

And, if you were wondering, I’m moving with my wife Daniela, which resigned as well, and will look for a job as UX in Belgium after she learn some French.

What changes in my development community involvement?

A nice thing about Belgium is that there is a vibrant development community, both in the .NET space and in the opensource space. I already know some developers from Belgium, like Ivan which I met in New Zealand, and some other MVPs I know through blogs and twitter. And I’ll try to know more of them at the upcoming MVP Summit in two week.

And also being in the middle of Europe, it means it will be easier to go to all the conferences held in London, Amsterdam and in Scandinavia.

But I’ll also keep on working together with Emanuele and Claudio to organize the future editions of the Italian ALT.NET Conference.

PS: Since many people are asking: “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” is the title of a book from the  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series written by Douglas Adams. But also a geeky way to say goodbye with an hidden meaning.

PPS: If you know Italian, there is also a similar announcement on my Italian blog: Self-Exile.

posted on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 2:38 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Si Philp at 2/3/2010 2:56 PM

oooo big changes. Congrats :)

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Keyvan Nayyeri at 2/3/2010 2:57 PM

Congratulations, Simo :-)

I'm glad to hear that things have been fine on your side. Wish you continue your success there.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Shiju Varghese at 2/3/2010 3:00 PM

Good luck on the new job.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Alvin Ashcraft at 2/3/2010 3:01 PM

Congrats on the new job! I hope you enjoy Brussels.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Kris van der Mast at 2/3/2010 3:02 PM

You're welcome to come to live in the country where we honored by Julius Caesar, have great beer and also a lot of cultural activities.

See you there buddy.

Grz, Kris.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Justin Etheredge at 2/3/2010 3:06 PM

Congrats! I hope that everything goes great with your new job and your impending move.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Gianluca Gravina at 2/3/2010 3:06 PM

Congrats Simone ... really ... CONGRATS !

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Andrea Balducci at 2/3/2010 3:09 PM

Congrats Simo!
Totally agree with "Italy is getting worse and worse every day", maybe one day I'll leave the "Riviera del Conero" too... who can say?
See you in Belgium for a beer or in Portonovo for more fish ;D

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Diego Guidi at 2/3/2010 3:14 PM

Good Luck :)

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Barry Dorrans at 2/3/2010 3:23 PM

You realise those weird Belgium freaks have mayo with their chips/french fries? Are you sure your Italian tastebuds will be able to cope?!

Congrats, and good luck. As I'm not an MVP from Monday when I take my implant I won't be at the summit party - unless I can be someone's date, but I think they forgot!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by raffaeu at 2/3/2010 3:34 PM

Congrats and you know already my opinion. Great choice and great job. I hope people in Italy will understand one day why we moved to a different country ...

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Tim Tyrrell at 2/3/2010 3:41 PM

Awesome! Congrats!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Nic Wise at 2/3/2010 3:44 PM

good on ya, Simo (and Dani!). We'll have to come see you in Brussels (and Ivan of course :) ) - or the two of you come up to London :) It's only 2 hours on the train.

I'd expect lots of posts about how to make .net sites seriously multi lingual.... I had a look at the current site - wow. I18N and L10N to the extreme!

@Barry: doesn't everyone eat chips/frittes with mayo? (I'm a kiwi, and I do - none of that tomato crap thanks.... :) )

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Charles Nurse at 2/3/2010 4:01 PM

That was an awefully long application process - typical of governments :).

Good luck, and hope to see you at some of those conferences.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Jef claes at 2/3/2010 4:27 PM

Good luck!

I'm from Belgium as well. Looking forward of having you participating in the Belgium community. Feel free to contact me for a list of stuff-to-see in Belgium ;)

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Javier Lozano at 2/3/2010 4:28 PM

Congrats on the move (both job and scenery)!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Jon Sagara at 2/3/2010 4:31 PM

Congrats, and good luck at the new gig!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Damien Guard at 2/3/2010 4:45 PM

Congrats, that's quite a position! Hope you still have time to blog :)

[)amien

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Roberto Valenti at 2/3/2010 4:53 PM

Good luck ... sigh sigh sigh...

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Silvia at 2/3/2010 4:53 PM

In bocca al lupo!!!!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Ryan Lanciaux at 2/3/2010 4:55 PM

Congrats Simone! That sounds like a very great opportunity!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Simone at 2/3/2010 5:21 PM

To all: thank you everybody

@Kris: You also have chocolates. Too bad the tallest mountain is 654m :)

@Andrea: Sure... mi casa es tu casa

@Barry: I'll have to drop a few kgs, so less fries is better :)

@Nic: yeah, lots of I18N and L10N. But their SEO sucks at the moment. And the site looks soo '90s.
And yes, London is only 2hr away with the super-fast train. Hopefully we'll meet before you go back to NZ

@Charles: During the process the selected 420 people out of 11k that applied to the competition.

@Jef: Looking forward to meet the Belgium community. I'll ping you once I get there.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Carl Hörberg at 2/3/2010 6:20 PM

are the conditions in italy that bad? in what way? apart from that your president seems totally nuts :P

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by lacri at 2/3/2010 6:31 PM

Congrats....:(((

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Carl Hörberg at 2/3/2010 6:42 PM

I'm very sorry to here that. I'm positive that you will make a great work in the EU!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Sergio Pereira at 2/3/2010 6:47 PM

Congrats, man. I hope you feel quickly at home in Belgium and do some exciting work.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Gian Maria at 2/3/2010 9:24 PM

Good Luck Simone, We'll miss you.

Alk.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Mahdi Taghizadeh at 2/3/2010 9:34 PM

Congrats! Wish you luck :)

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Alberto Casu at 2/3/2010 10:19 PM

Who did tell you that SharePoint require little or no development?!? ;-)

Good luck for your new adventure Simo, I am quite sure you'll have time to keep us updated on your progress.
Albert

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by El Bruno at 2/3/2010 10:38 PM

Good luck ... I'm sure u'll have a great time i your new job/life :D

Regards from spain

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Marco De Sanctis at 2/4/2010 12:04 AM

Hey Simone,

so we didn't manage to work together... that sucks!! ;-)

However, wish you all the best for your new job! I'll miss you!

Ciao!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Dino Esposito at 2/4/2010 10:43 AM

Wow! Great opportunity and great responsibility, all the best!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Fedespagno at 2/4/2010 11:44 AM

Good luck Simone; this is a great opportunity. I'm really interested in your position about living in Italy. I Hope you have time to be more specific: I may agree with you but maybe for different reasons.



# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Mads Kristensen at 2/4/2010 7:42 PM

Good luck, buddy

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Simone Malvassori at 2/4/2010 8:35 PM

Congrats & good luck...
I just see your post because it isn't true that SharePoint requires little code development ;-)...

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Matteo at 2/5/2010 11:07 AM

Hi Simo,
working with you during the last (nearly) 2 years was great.
I believe I've learned a lot from you and I fear I'll have to wait long time before meeting a colleague with your skills and comprehension of the problems.
Congrats and good luck for your new job

We'll miss you :-)
Matteo

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Filippo at 2/6/2010 1:09 PM

Simone, good luck for your new life!
I'm sure you'll find life in North Europe interesting. No Alps (and no serious mountains) in this area, but you'll be able to spend your weekends in many interesting places and cities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France.
Just be sure to bring all your umbrellas :-|

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Giorgio Sardo at 2/7/2010 7:01 PM

In bocca al lupo Simone!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Andrea Angella at 2/8/2010 12:39 PM

Congratulations Simome for this new adventure !!!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by mario at 2/11/2010 12:58 PM

Ciao, io sono stato a Dublino a lavorare nel 2009 proprio per questo... ma una ?, come si sta in Belgio e come si fa l'apply al Consiglio della UE, magari aggiungi un posto x me ahaha.
Grazie!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Matt Joe at 2/15/2010 8:43 PM

Big news Simo! Avanade will miss you but trust me when I say you can never really leave :)

Best of luck and keep kicking *ss.

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by Antonio at 2/20/2010 2:39 AM

Another "brain" that leaves Italy.

"Moving away from Italy"
"Italy is getting worse and worse every day"

exactly what I was thinking 2 years ago when i left Italy. this is the sad truth.

Can I add one thing?
Is not only Italy a bad place to work, but the italian community on internet, and in web development and web design in especially is ... worse than work in Italy, so "close", and there's no way to get away from this mentality.

You've done the best choise!

I'm really happy for you, congrats and whish you all the best.

P.S: I've been in brussel some months ago, awesome city and great, great beers and chocolate!
visit Ghent and Brugges(beautiful) too, they are really good cities!

Cheers!

# re: So Long Avanade, and Thanks for All the Fish

Left by roberto at 2/26/2010 8:23 AM

Hi Simone,
thanks again for your work in AIS.
I wish you all the best.
;)

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