(As an aside, said ecosystem is going through something of a renaissance. The quickly growing need for server-side software (where choice of tools need not impact the end user), the increased availability of low-level infrastructure such as the JVM and LLVM, and the ever-more-important challenges of concurrent and distributed programming have all contributed to this renewed interest in new programming languages.)
If Alex is going to spend his time working on things related to programming languages and developer tools, then I, for one, can't wait.
 - http://www.amazon.com/Programming-Scala-Comprehensive-Step-S...
I signed up a little over 2 years ago as when Al3x announced he was joining as a cofounder http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1355292, it seemed like a great product, and I couldn't wait.
Now, 2 years later they have begun to roll out invites to what amounts to a MVP. No way to deposit cash, no simple way to deposit checks (specifically the deposit via mobile app functionality), no goals or budgeting aspects, no joint accounts or lines of credit, no android app, just a nice looking card tied to an account you have to wire money into.
Don't get me wrong, simple is doing great things, and it could be huge. Two years of dev time for a product that is completely redesigning one of the biggest industries in the world is completely reasonable. I'm just worried the hype will run out or turn negative before they can ship something with enough value to convert the non early adapters. Having a cofounder leave doesn't help their image, regardless of the reasons for the departure.
Just got my invite an hour or so ago...Simple has a big section on "what's in the pipeline" for them.
• Android: click the link above and fill out your info through the "device" step. We'll reinvite you as soon as it's ready!
• Joint accounts: Sign up with Simple now and add your partner when we're ready!
• Mobile check deposit: Coming soon–sign up now and you'll have it as soon as it's ready!
• So much more!
All of that sort of went out the window when I found out they weren't letting me in because I don't have an iOS device and the Android app was 6-12 months out.
I don't know if there's another way, but that method seems less than ideal.
Seriously, those are all nice features, and the check depositing is a must-have that I'm sure they're working hard on, but for me and most of my peers, all I really want is a debit card I don't have to think about. That's Simple.
Wow. Okay, this is totally crazy: I also signed up for an invite almost two years ago (when it was BankSimple), and just checked the old confirmation email to see the exact date-- literally as I'm writing this comment I have received, 0 minutes ago, an email inviting me to register. I guess I'll find out how it works :)
The interface is gorgeous and intuitive and unlike anything you find at any other bank. It won't ever be for everybody, but I believe it will be the very best option for many that need only the simplest and smartest of banking options.
I recently needed to write a check for several thousand dollars to an individual for a service provided. This would have been impossible if Simple was my only bank, because they do not issue paper checkbooks. I either could have withdrawn cash each day over a week-long period ($500 daily max) or arranged to set them up to be paid electronically. But I don't think we are to a point yet where paying a local, small-business owner with an electronic transfer for a service is feasible. Can you imagine if someone you were expecting immediate payment from for a service you just provided said "I can't write you a check, but give me your email address or bank routing number and account number, and I will be sure to have that transferred to you, which may take two to five days." No way. Maybe someday.
I have found one bank that encompasses basically all the features Simple has promised from the beginning. Believe it or not, it is State Farm Bank. The interface is clunky compared to Simple, but they deliver on the product: iPhone app with photo check deposit, bill pay and transfers. Real-time account balance. Balance reflecting future planned deposits and payments. Through the website you can send money to anyone through PayPal or direct to their bank accounts, deposit checks by scanning and transfer in and out of your own external bank accounts. Reimbursement for all ATM fees. You get paper checks. I've never had any fees issued or any reason to contact support for anything. I have been extremely happy, but would like to see all of this combined with the technology and interface of Simple.
I wouldn't say "infeasible", I think-- it's basically an information problem, right?
If you think about it, it's very strange that we treat checks as "immediate payment" when they amount to a classy IOU: "I can't wire you the money, but here's a piece of paper with my account number on it, and if you take it to your bank they'll call my bank and they might give you the money in a day or two." Initiating an EFT from your smartphone should be at least that credible, right?
But of course, it will be some time before small business owners at large internalize that.
I guess one other option Simple and other banks offer is to mail a physical paper check to a person or business. Again, it is unlikely this would be acceptable when the terms are "due upon receipt" and credit/debit is not an option. I think we are moving away from these scenarios, but we still live in a world where paper checks may be a necessity in some situations and certainly very convenient.
I have a ton of respect for what Simple is trying to accomplish. When I joined a competitive service about 2 years ago, BankSimple was the benchmark for comparing the "new guard" vs. the "old guard". Unfortunately, the old guard progressed faster due to established relationship of 10+ years. But, what really turned me away were falling market caps for major prepaid providers as more and more big banks returned to their core product offering (personal banking, not high risk investment banking) and explored alternative vehicles like GPR cards.
In any event, Simple is something the consumer market needs and hat-tip to Al3x.
It sounds like Alex came to a similar conclusion. Being a CTO involves less programming than being an engineer. Sometimes it's an assumption that our career paths as engineers will take us toward being CTOs, but maybe that isn't right for everyone.
Given his previous posts regarding how much he likes Portland compared to San Francisco, I'm a little bit surprised to see him moving back to the Bay Area. Regardless, I'm excited to see what he does next and I wish him the best of luck.
Self-doubt is an evil, evil thing. Don't let it hold you back. I landed an opportunity to interview at $REDACTEDBUTITSATOPINTERNETPROPERTY. I didn't even want to fly out for the interview - I thought it would be a waste of time. It took lots and lots of convincing by my wife and other friends and family just for me to go out and interview. I guess you can see where this is headed - I start there in 2 weeks.
tl;dr self-doubt is evil.
Worst we can do is say 'no'.
Oh yeah, we're hiring too: https://cloudability.com/jobs/
At HelloWallet, our CTO does indeed do some programming some of the time. Since we are still somewhat a bootstrapped startup, everyone that has the ability to help out does at some point. Is it the overwhelming amount of time? Well, no, but still...
In regard to architectural and developmental goals, that job is the responsibility of our Chief Architect...who also does a very substantial amount of programming as well.
TLDR; Titles are not always one-to-one with roles.
I have worked in investment banking and private equity for a number of years and decided to make a switch to corporate development for a company (ie - doing acquisitions for them), so that I could spend a bit more time creating side projects such as http://drivingtests101.com/, a free driving test prep website for 11 countries, with apps in 4 countries and rapidly expanding. I was very fortunate for my driving test app in Canada to be #2 ranked education, #19 in Australia and rapidly catching up in the US and UK.
Life is short. Do what you want to do as soon as you can so you can enjoy what you do. It's that simple.
There are lots of opps he could have taken.
Sure, It might not have been a good role, but sounds like there were relationship issues as well. I wouldn't imagine his cut and run solely on "I cant program enough" -- He had to be either under performing or frustrated with the others' lack of leadership/performance/flexibility/ability to listen/you-name-it
There are too many reasons to leave a company, but who knows the truth....
Haven't looked at simple since we speculated over their biz model ~12 months ago on HN... and frankly, as i still perceive them as a simple proxy to Big Evil banks (TM) - I'll still never trust them....
Though that is not related to the story... I still have nothing to convince me to think they are not just trying to find a way to cash in on the most despicable industry in existence... banking.
And you can tell all of this because of your superior insight and the feel you've gained from participating in places like HN for how engineering teams really work.
This is a forum for discussion, and as such, speculation happens.
You appear to be more personally offended by whatever I said in a speculative comment than maybe you should be?
If you don't like being called out, consider starting future comments with the words "I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about, but just for shits, here's a theory:".
Do you know anyone who works at Simple?
Do you have any other sources for what's going on at Simple?
Alex is a real person. He is not an Xbox game. Internet or not: he is not up for your review. If you're going to "speculate" about his "performance" or "relationships", you should be ready to go to bat for what you said.
If he hadn't written a blog post, HN would be all abuzz about his name vanishing from their web pages.
There's no way to win this.
You're attacking me for not necessarily taking it for face value. Your language is belittling and confrontational and I'll just take it to mean you're probably an asshole, which, honestly is the only personality judgement I have made in this whole thread.
You've acted like I made some sort of character attack on Alex...
I've seen you do this before on HN, as I stated.
I concluded a few months ago that writing like yours (not yours in particular; it's an annoying HN trope) is actually more rude than a similar comment that outright called the author a liar. You not only did that, but in such a way as to imply that he lies so often it's a casual affair. "Of course", the sentiment you're expressing goes, "there's more to the story than he's telling us. Why would he tell us anything but what makes him look good?" That's what you've communicated.
Alex, I am 1000% sure, does not give a shit about what you (or I) think about his most recent career move. But comments like yours, as you can see, drive me up a fucking wall.
Again - I think you're a little emotionally touchy. And thats totally ok, but let me address a point you are making:
you are equating my belief that there could be more to the story than what i am reading in a blog post with accusing the poster of lying and that you find this really annoying.
Further you are using quotations around phrases that I never typed to imply that these quotes were my true meaning. This is a pretty low debate tactic. Why not mention that I also implied he was gay, or racist, or stomped on kittens for sexual pleasure.
I meant nothing of the things that you "quoted" -- I simply said, and I'll quote:
"Sure, It might not have been a good role, but sounds like there were relationship issues as well. I wouldn't imagine his cut and run solely on "I cant program enough" -- He had to be either under performing or frustrated with the others' lack of leadership/performance/flexibility/ability to listen/you-name-it
There are too many reasons to leave a company, but who knows the truth...."
Read that a few time, whilst leaving your emotional attachements behind and tell me where I am calling him a liar.
When i say "who knows the truth" I mean the empirical truth - as in the truth that takes into accounts absolutely all factors.
Not "this guy is lying and so I don't have the truth"
Anyway, I'm done with this thread, hopefully you'll cool off on the things that drive you up the wall and I'll be more specific in my language :)
I am happy to be wrong, but given that I do not, as you pointed out, know Alex - or anyone at Simple, I have no option but to speculate on motives and things going on in the spaces I follow.
What I was upset about is the level at which you attempted to censor me, call me indignant and berate me discussing this online.
If we were in a room face to face and i disagreed with you in person would you have conducted yourself in the same manner? I doubt it, you probably would have been more polite in telling me how you disagreed with me.
You're welcome to come over for dinner any time, BTW.
Also - I'll teach you how to throw knives.
Have a good night. (the dinner offer is still open)
We would not have gone this many rounds on this in person. I'm pretty sure (as everyone who works with me will tell you) that I'd have used the same words as my first response, but regardless of how you took that, it would have blown over. Conversations don't hover on a screen in front of you after they're concluding, begging you to push them forward.
That's personal, and you have no basis for it.
I think it's completely plausible that he doesn't get enough time programming and he's leaving because of it. Simple is growing. At this stage, he's a manager, not a programmer. Sounds like he isn't too interested in managing.
Most people seem to leave their respective companies and hang on as advisors. Maybe it's just too awkward?
I don't have to speculate about that or wonder if there's "awkwardness" behind it. Alex said so. Just read the post.
You wonder whether people write posts like this because they anticipate speculation about why they're leaving or how the company is doing. Of course, there's no win to be had in being honest and direct, because people are just going to invent their own stories. The narrative that eventually sticks is the one that is most fun to bounce around, or has the most resonance to people, or is most congenial to people's ideology.
I left a well paying job where I was expected to be the exciting bright young thing who will change everything, for a job I greatly prefer, earning half as much, where I can learn from two or three really bright people, where I am the bottom peg, and have the time to mess around with things, sometimes highly speculatively, and get a few wins under my belt.
I would analogise this as being a bit like the difference between becoming a pop singer via a TV talent show and becoming a pop singer via years of gigs from pub to pub in a van with your band.
Also, '....' is not the dramatic rhetorical flourish that you seem to think it is. It just looks silly....
A startup generally is an experimental dev company. Startups execute their roadmap. If they don't have focus, especially when they're tackling something as big as banking, they die.
> There are lots of opps he could have taken.
Sure. But it's hard/impossible to move down the food chain once you've been at the top.
> Sure, It might not have been a good role, but sounds like there were relationship issues as well.
I didn't get that from Alex's post. I got "not doing enough programming, wife and I miss San Francisco"
> I wouldn't imagine his cut and run solely on "I cant program enough" -- He had to be either under performing or frustrated with the others' lack of leadership/performance/flexibility/ability to listen/you-name-it
You got all that from "personal reasons"? :)
This happens all the time with very senior security roles at startups. People take them because they fit a career arc, but then realize that the day-to-day of those very senior roles just isn't as fun as research work. Since security research work pays like f'ing crazy right now, people bounce out of demanding corp roles pretty quickly: even in a very strong outcome at a startup, you might not give up too much money opting for "funemployment".
(Alex and Stephen are also good friends, from long before Simple).