Silicon Mills

Posted on Thu 30 September 2004 in general

Last week I got an email from someone who came across my CV via the magic of href="http://www.google.com/search?q=software+engineer+cv+manchester&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&start=10&sa=N">Google.
Now I'm not actually actively looking for a new job but a couple of things grabbed my attention. The main thing was the guy had actually read my CV. You would be surprised how many agencies spam me with jobs for Windows Database programmers in London. Looking at the website the stuff
they are working on looks quite (technically) cool. The guys approach was quite informal and friendly. The company is based in the centre of Manchester so I emailed him back asking if I could come in for an informal chat which I went to this afternoon.

I can't say much about who the company is or what they do because its all under NDA however I can talk about what the place feels like. My first impressions were very "Silicon Valley". They have an engineering friendly organisation, so all the way to VP level you can earn the same being an engineer as you can being a manager. There was a fully stocked R&R room with iMac jukebox, TV, Air-Hockey, Pool table and the like. The average engineer age is 29, so I'd actually be old in comparison to the core workforce. The office is in the centre of town and quite spacious. The pension scheme is very good. The work patterns are flexible so commuting in on public transport would be very viable.

A few things do concern me. What they are trying to achieve is very ambitious and I'm not sure how I'll match up against the best of the best they seem to of assembled. The work would certainly be stretching, but I think that is a good thing, I couldn't be lazy. They work on very tight cycles so it could be quite high pressure. Although I can pull (and still occasionally do) long coding sessions my free time is still important to me. Its VC funded so its another risky move (although probably less so than leaving Marconi without a job to go to and then working for a small VC backed company).

Now the meeting was informal, there is a formal interview to do before I could join. However the guy was very open about the interview offer being there for as long as I want it. In fact he'd be happy for me to interview and if I pass stay in the pipeline until I felt like a move. If I said I wasn't tempted it would be a lie. However we are not quite
at the end of the release cycle so I'd be leaving the current guys in the lurch if I left now which I'd feel guilty about. Having said that I'm not sure how appropriate guilt is is to this situation. I certainly have a lot of things to consider.