I apologize for the general unfriendliness or overall lack of formality in this, but this is the fastest way to get this story out to all our family and friends.
I posted on Facebook and Twitter and other outlets that I got a new job at Renovate America in San Diego. We’re moving in July. A lot of people gave me the good ol’ “Whaaaaaaaa???” and I think that’s reasonable. So here’s a rundown of what’s going on and what’s ahead for us.
What’s the company?
I’m going to work at Renovate America. It’s headquartered in the San Diego area.
What do they do?
They are the creators of the HERO Program, a financing option used for home renovations that include high-efficiency improvements.
It turns out that this kind of financing is extremely important.
Let’s say you want to put solar panels on your house. You talk to a solar company and, after they take some measurements, they guarantee that they can install a system that will eliminate your electric bill. Then, they show you the price: $25,000. Let’s face it, most of us on earth can’t afford a purchase like that. But, if your home is in a city or county that works with the HERO program, then you have another option. You sign for the loan, HERO pays the contractor and then notifies your local tax jurisdiction. At that point, your local jurisdiction starts collecting the loan payments as a line item on your property taxes. Your electric bill is gone, your payments are tax deductible. There are some cases where people can get solar panels on their home and never pay anything out of pocket.
So, what do you do?
The HERO program has materials and products that face each of the three audiences listed above: property owners, contractors, and local governments.
I’m a focused on the contractor experience. Every contractor that works with the HERO program has access to HERO-specific products. That’s where I come in. In particular, I’m working a lot on the system that contractors use to manage sales and financing in progress.
What’s so great about it?
This job really covered the basic, most important things I’m looking for in a job.
The people I’m working with are fantastic. Creative, driven, and focused, but friendly and easy going, too. It really is a great shop. They have a deep commitment, from the C-suite on down, to use design as a strategic advantage for their products. The co-founders are still actively involved.
The company is poised for significant growth. They take care of their employees. They made me an offer that I found appealing, coupled with the company’s existing creature comforts like catered lunch every day, etc.
It’s a good fit, culturally.
Oh… and did I mention it’s in San Diego where it’s 74 degrees and sunny almost every damn day? And that the tacos are amazing?
It’s pretty sweet.
How did you get set up with them?
For the last couple years, I have been working with the Mag7 Collective, a product design freelance collective. It’s a great team. For most of 2014 the co-founder of Mag7, and my good friend, Brent worked with Renovate, managing the relationship and demonstrating the value of UX for their practice. He asked me if I could come out to San Diego and help him with the gig and I had always said ‘no’ because we were dealing with my mother-in-law’s cancer and ultimately her passing, which happened in October. He asked one more time in November and I figured, sure, why not? That was a three-week gig that led to six months of living in hotels and getting to know the nation’s airports.
On a personal note
Eventually, after all that travel, I was exhausted. I was fried. My wife was fried. Our kids were fried. And all of this was in the wake of what was already a very tough year for our family.
My wife and I have lived in Arlington, VA together for about 13 years. It doesn’t seem like it could possibly have ben that long, but it has.
It’s time for a change. The wife and kids are ready and, honestly, so am I.
In the meantime, I have developed a little bit of a litmus test recently to gauge if I should be working on something. I ask myself, “If I do my job right, what happens?”
I have worked for lobbyists, so if I do that right, they get people to do what they want. Meh.
If have worked for a place that produces custom T-shirts, so if I do my job right, customers get their shirts and their events are better for it. OK, that’s nice.
I have worked on pharmaceutical marketing, so if I do my job right, we sell more pills. Hmmm… no, thanks.
Now, working for Renovate, if I do my job right, we accelerate the adoption of alternative energy. We give people a way to get off the grid and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. We cut down on carbon. We reduce water use. We generate un-exportable jobs.
I can get down with that.
I’ll miss you most of all
So now we begin the whirlwind of planning for moving, getting everything ready, and trying to desperately see everyone we know in our short amount of time left.
We’re leaving behind a great network of family and friends, not to mention over a decade’s worth of business contacts and professional networks. It won’t be easy. But we’re not interested in easy, not this time.