Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Sailing on…

I wrote this post in 2008, more than 16 years ago. It may be very out of date, partially or totally incorrect. I may even no longer agree with this, or might approach things differently if I wrote this post today. I rarely edit posts after writing them, but if I have there'll be a note at the bottom about what I changed and why. If something in this post is actively harmful or dangerous please get in touch and I'll fix it.

Almost four years ago, Adrian posted about a job opening at this little newspaper in the middle of the country. He wrote that

World Online is […] one of the most innovative online-news operations in the world. Our main sites […] have garnered an impressive batch of industry awards – and tremendous industry attention – over the past few years.


We strive for innovation, nimble development and the use of best practices. We have a near-religious focus on doing things the right way – clean URLs, CSS, separation of content from presentation, accessibility, solid application design, etc.

Simon put it more bluntly:

This is a job like no other. […] Our unofficial mission statement […] is to “build cool shit” – and we do.

I emailed Adrian and Simon, and a few days later was flying out to Kansas for an interview; I moved to Lawrence in July. I quickly found that Simon and Adrian weren’t exaggerating in the slightest. A year later, of course, we got to show the world that cool shit we’d been building.

(If you, too, would like to get paid to “build cool shit,” check out the current job openings!)

At the very end of that job posting, Adrian wrote:

In the interests of fairness and honesty, I should mention this: There is one bad thing about working for World Online. After working here, you won’t want to leave.

With that setup, you can see where this is going. That’s right, I am indeed leaving the Journal-World. Adrian was completely correct: this is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

However, I’ve been offered every Open Source developer’s dream job. Starting in March, I’ll be spending the majority of my time working on Django.

Officially, I’ll be a software architect at a startup called Whiskey Media. Nope, no link yet. Actions speak louder than words, so we’re going to be in a quiet mode until you can see those actions. You’ll be hearing much more about Whiskey in the future, though – I promise!

I can’t overstate my gratitude to Whiskey for their vote of confidence in Django. They’re making a financial investment in Django not as some warm fuzzy charity donation, but as a calculated invested in a platform they (we!) believe in. No, Virginia, Open Source is not communist; a vibrant Open Source community creates new markets, and I’m thrilled to see that happening with Django.

So what exactly will I be doing? My job will entail a bit of internal-only closed-source development, but nearly everything I write will be Open Source. Most of my time will be spent improving Django. In the short term that’ll mean fixing tickets, working on new features, getting active branches finished and merged to trunk, and getting a one-point-omg release out the door.

I’ll also be stepping up and taking a more active role in the community. I’m only one programmer, but Django’s community is chock-full of ridiculously talented people. I hope to spend some of my time helping like-minded developers get their itches scratched. Last year I spent a few days in Boulder helping the Front Range Pythoneers kick off the Oracle backend for Django. It was a huge amount of fun, and I’m going to make myself available to other groups wanting to working on other similar problems.

Most importantly, though, I’ll be listening to Django’s community and trying to work in its best interest. A private company will be writing my paychecks (thanks!), but I’ll primarily be answering to the public, to the community. I’m counting on that community to guide me, to help me figure out how I can best spend my time. So if you’ve got ideas, let me know – don’t be shy!

All in all, this is a very bittersweet move for me. I’m terribly sad to be leaving my job at the J-W; it is, without question, the best job I’ve ever had. I’ll miss it terribly.

At the same time, I’m thrilled about my new gig. I can’t wait to spend my days hacking on Django. The best part is that this isn’t the only piece of good news about Django I’ll get to share this year. Stay tuned: 2008 is going to be huge.