My time at Talis Systems officially ended last week. I joined the team during painful times, but I'm glad (and proud) to have been a Talisian at least for one year. I have had a few freelance gigs with Talis before, but being part of the team was a whole different thing. And I could frequently travel to the UK, immprooff my inklish, and discover the nice city of Birmingham. There's a reason why they have that G in GB.
Work-wise, I probably learned more in the last 12 months than during the previous 5 years combined - hat tip to Julian, Leigh and all the other (Ex-)Talis folks. And much of that goes beyond just technical skills. I don't want to bore you, but you can definitely learn a lot about your path through life when you get the opportunity to look at it from a different perspective. Apparently, I first had to become an employee working in a foreign city to see the bigger picture around why I boarded that Semantic Web roller coaster in the first place and where it overlaps with my own ideas and interests.
So I am going back to self-employment. And I am also going to stay in the emerging Data Web market. But I'll approach some things differently this time.
First, change of attitude. To contribute in a personally more healthy way again. I won't argue about technical details and specifications any more. That just turns me into a grumpy person (belated apologies). I doubt that promoting products by advertising their underlying technologies is the best way for establishing and growing a market anyway. That's like trying to heat a room by just burning a lot of matches. Promising, with renewed anticipation after each match, but useless without some larger fire in the end. I would like to help spark off these larger fires. Without constantly burning my fingers (OK, enough fire imagery ;-).
The second change is related, and it is about focus. While I still see many people using the ARC2 toolkit, I have had more encouraging feedback and signs of demand recently around my work for end users (including app developers, in a sense). So my new mission is to improve "information interaction" on the Web, and I'll be offering services in that area.
And it looks like I'm off to a good start. I am already fully booked for the next months.