Nagoya in 2010

Thoughts of Isilon skyrocketing to a glorious future have turned out to be premature - but that future is still very much a possibility.

It is worth pointing out that not only is Isilon still facing a great opportunity, but so am I; it is unlikely I will have the energy, time, nor fortune to follow a company from an early-stage startup through its transition to a (prosperous) public company while being in a position of leadership - the position I will soon be given (in the next week) may be temporary or it may be permanent, but in either case it is a great opportunity.

All that said, this post isn’t about where Isilon is or that future - it is about a future beyond Isilon.

I’ve talked for some time about attending graduate school and working towards a PhD. I almost did this in November of 2005 (right before the IPO) but realized it simply wasn’t the right time - I wasn’t ready and the opportunity at Isilon was too good to pass up. Since then I have known that I will need to dedicate some time and study to discover what it is that I’m really interested in pursuing in great detail.

I thought that I could do this part-time (or more appropriately, in the background) to working at Isilon and raising Jerry but that has proven to be unrealistic. My position at Isilon does not provide me with opportunities to discover and consider this and neither does my time with Jerry. Given that I typically have only spare moments, I have been unable to dedicate those moments towards anything but escape (i.e. leisure reading, keeping up with technology.)

That led me to conclude that I would take some time off of after Isilon to prepare - but how much time? How will I continue to support the family? What will Jerry be doing? Where will we live?

My brain finally connected this period of time with my desire to live in Japan - this seems like wonderful timing. There are a lot of things that have to go right in order for this to be possible:

  1. Isilon needs to be successful - enough for me not to work for a few years.
  2. Costs in Nagoya need to be low - Eriko’s grandmother has an apartment we could live at, Japan has socialized medicine, etc.
  3. I need to obtain permanent residence status in Japan - I’m not sure what is required for this.
  4. We’ll need to sell our house in Seattle, store our belongings, etc.
  5. Jerry would enter a Japanese kindergarten.

If this were all to go well, I would have the time and resources to decide my next move in terms of education and career, the immersion in Japanese would improve my language learning dramatically, and Jerry and I would get to spend lots of time with Eriko’s family. If it were possible for me to have 8 hours a day for myself, I would even be able to take a real focused stab at becoming fit.

The vision is exciting! It excites Eriko as well and it will help our decision making process for the next few years. Will we still buy a house in Seattle? Probably not. Will I keep the MG? Probably not.

A few quotes for inspiration:

A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.
Vision without a task is only a dream. A task without a vision is but drudgery. But vision with a task is a dream fulfilled.