Leaving litl

June 13, 2011

After three years at litl, it’s time for me to move on. Writing a blog post to announce that you’re leaving is always a bit tricky. In this case, it’s because the experience at litl was so rich in so many ways that to it’s hard to know where start from.

Back in the beginning of 2008, I had already decided to leave the Maemo team at Nokia and started looking for my next gig. I heard about litl for the first time from OpenedHand’s Matthew. He said Havoc was working on something pretty cool there. I had started conversations with a couple of prospective employers but I thought it would be cool to talk to Havoc and get to know a bit more about the company’s plans anyway. I honestly thought it was very unlikely that litl would be my next thing mostly because I was under the impression that they were only hiring in the US.

Fast forward several weeks, I accepted an offer and started working at litl—a few months in Helsinki waiting for my UK work permit then finally in London. And I was not alone, the whole Maemo UI framework and toolkit teams—Tommi, Xan, Johan and I—got hired at the same time! Interestingly, this was not a collective move in any way. We only found out about each other’s interest in litl once we started having our first interviews. It was funny to see the rumors that were founding a Maemo-focused company of some sort.

The first two years at litl were quite intense! Each of us would be working on something totally different each week or month—cache management, webcam, photo app, contacts app, sync protocol, web browser, core UI, plugin framework, etc. All this while we were still trying to finalize the design and interaction model for the product. We finally released the litl webbook, our cloud-based computer, in November 2009. This is, by the way, long before Google actually released Chrome OS.

litl’s team is just awesome, full of extremely talented and generous people—quite a few of them are well-known for their contributions to GNOME and other F/OSS projects. Throughout those years, the team gradually grew on all fronts with people coming from Amazon, Novell, Red Hat, OLPC, US startups, and many others.

I’d like to make a special mention of a few people with whom a worked more closely since I joined. First of all, it was a great pleasure to work with Johan B. and Tommi for almost 5 years, both at Nokia and litl. I learnt a lot with them. Secondly, working with Havoc was an awesome experience. He has this huge talent for solving complex problems besides being simply a nice guy. Last but not least, I loved working with Marco. He is, with no doubt, one of the most passionate developers I’ve ever met.

A lot has changed in the company since the release of webbook. litl is now starting to explore new areas and markets. I feel that I have now ended an important career cycle and it’s time to move on to something new. All in all, I can only thank everyone at litl for the great time I had!

What I’ll be doing next? I guess that’s a topic for my next post :-)

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