Leaving the FT, joining Fastly

In April 2017 I’ll be leaving the FT and joining Fastly. I’ve had a wonderful time at the pink’un, made some lifelong friends and become a devout believer in the importance of independent, trustworthy and well informed journalism to a fair and democratic society. But it’s time to try something new.

People often ask me how long I’ve been at the FT, I guess because it’s a common ice breaker, and it’s actually not as simple a question to answer as you might think. The FT acquired my web dev startup in 2011, but we started working on FT projects in 2006. And due to the peculiarities of UK employment law the official start date of my current employment is the date Rob and I founded Assanka back in 2003. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a long time.

For the last year I’ve been incredibly lucky to live in Tokyo, working with FT’s parent company Nikkei, and also participating in the W3C’s Technical Architecture Group with FT’s support. The Financial Times is a unique and special organisation, one that has not lost sight of its responsibility and mission to cultivate high standards of independent, accurate journalism. Within the news media, it’s also a company that natively understands technology, has its sights on the future and knows the value of giving good people space to do great work. If you have the chance to be a part of that, you should jump at it.

The FT and Nikkei are both customers of Fastly, and I’ve been consistently impressed by how Fastly operate. I’ve never found a supplier as proactive, or a technology platform with this combination of power and openness. At Fastly’s annual customer conference, the hosting was so low key that I didn’t notice that we’d started. This is a community with an attitude to technology that I love – taking on a big problem, being satisfied with nothing short of the best possible solution, and then selling it on its technical merits, without unnecessary gloss or drama. Operating a CDN feels like doing the plumbing of the Internet: if you do your job right, no-one is aware that you were there. Equally if your product is good enough, it sells itself.

My role at Fastly will be to work with customers to explore some of the most complex use cases for the Fastly platform, make it easier for developers to build those solutions and generally push more stuff to the edge. More stuff at the edge means faster websites, less origin traffic and ultimately a more secure and reliable web for everyone.

I’m still in Japan with the FT until April, then with Fastly in San Francisco and London, but I’ve fallen hard for Japan and I expect I’ll be back as often as I can. It’s been incredibly hard to make the decision to leave both the FT, and Japan, but I’m excited by the change and what Fastly has in store.

It’s been a privilege to work for the FT, and I’m certain I’ll be a subscriber for life. If you want to amplify the voice of trustworthy, ethical journalism, you should be too!