Moving on from IBM

Having been an IBMer for more than 10 years, I’m moving on.

I’ve accepted the position of Portfolio Executive, Social Media at BBC Vision. What that means is that I’ll be helping to define, develop and execute BBC Vision’s strategy in relation to social media. Simon Nelson gave a speech in September 2007 about some of the progress made (and challenges faced) by the BBC in regard to multiplatform (more discussion about that here). That’s the backdrop to what I’m going there to help with. No doubt I’ll talk more about the specifics in the coming weeks and months. Oh, and I get to work with such cool people as Dan Taylor and Jo Twist.

Hursley House
IBM, Hursley, Hampshire
BBC Television Centre
BBC, Wood Lane, London

10 years is a long time (I got my pen last year) so although I’m very excited about the new role I always knew that I’d be sad when the day finally came to leave IBM. Hursley is a great place to work, but more than anything I’ll miss spending time with some very good friends who work there.

Things I’ll miss about IBM:

  • Friends. Lots of friends. So many very good friends. The good thing is that we don’t have to lose touch, but not seeing you all around on the intranet and in person is going to be sad. (Which leads us on to…)
  • Regular tea runs. The Hursley Cha Bar is a sort of second home. 66p for a small PG Tips. The Starbucks in White City just might not be the same.
  • Hursley itself. The site is a big gorgeous leafy campus with a nice walk around the site, a library, a reading room, 2 pubs in walking distance as well as an onsite bar/clubhouse and a couple of thousand geniuses. It’s beautiful.
  • A short drive to work, with a lift-share. (A train + tube journey from Southampton to Wood Lane is probably going to hurt a little bit, even factoring in some working on the train. I haven’t started yet and I’m already looking forward to the London Overground line opening. Southampton – Clapham Junction – Shepherd’s Bush has to be better than Southampton -> Waterloo – Bond St – White City)

Incredibly, I’ve been an IBMer ever since I finished school and started my degree as a sponsored student, way back in 1997. I was initially based in North Harbour before relocating to Hursley because that was where the interesting technical work seemed to be. I had roles in middleware development teams including spells in test, service and development. I’m glad to say that each role was more interesting and fun than the last. I have never had a master plan. I’ve never had long term goal, other than to say yes to everything I physically can, and have as much fun as possible.

In more recent times, that attitude has meant helping develop Business Integration for Games (before IBM, or the world, really took games seriously). I went on to be the the lead developer for a small messaging product called Microbroker before joining the Emerging Technology Services team making proof of concept and first of a kind prototypes for clients. Most recently, I was pleased to see that it really is possible to carve out a new role when I joined Ian in calling myself a Metaverse Evangelist and we were both picked up by the CIO office’s Innovate Quick team on a virtual remote assignment.

I got to meet a lot of clients and business partners in this role, so I know very well that IBM continues to impress people as being surprisingly advanced and interesting for a company of its age and size. Not only that, but IBMers are treated as grown ups; we get to use our common sense. If it was not for the freedom and trust which IBMers enjoy, I’d have left a very long time ago.

The thing that has made IBM such a great place to spend a third of my life (!) is the people I’ve worked with. Don’t lose touch – I’ll still be on LinkedIn, blogging, Twittering, etc.

I’ve worked with some great people and on some great projects, and it’s good to be leaving on a high. I don’t regret anything about my time at IBM, and I’m only going because it’s time for me to have even more fun elsewhere.

Goodbye, IBM. Hello, BBC.

Update: I’m overwhelmed by your lovely comments, compliments and travel tips. Thank you, everyone.

71 replies on “Moving on from IBM”

  1. Congratulations! Will we get to see a Social Media related blog from the BBC then?

  2. It’s a terrible shame to lose you but a very exciting opportunity and I’m sure you’re going to blow your new colleagues away. It has been a complete privilege to work with you – you’ve been an absolutely inspirational colleague. But you know all this already.

    Good luck.

  3. oh, and having worked at White City, I can assure you that there is absolutely no analog between the Cha Bar and Starbucks. But you’ll enjoy the al fresco summer barbecues.

  4. Congratulations, Roo!
    You know already we’re all very sad to see you go.
    It has been an inspiration and a privilege to work with you over the years!

    Best Wishes

  5. congratulations.. our paths only really crossed once.. but you’re one of the small collection of IBM’ers who I think… ‘I’d like to be like that..’
    Wishing you all the best for the BBC and the new horizons!!

  6. WOW!!! What a superb piece of news for this fine Friday morning! Wonderful stuff, Roo, CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am really happy for you and although you shall thoroughly be missed, no doubt, it is great to know that you will be moving on to where your passion is driving you! Just brilliant! I do seriously hope that we would be able to meet up again at some point and at some place. For the time being, I shall certainly keep in touch with you online, which, I guess, is not going to be that difficult, right? After all, you *are* all over the place!

    Congrats again and all the very best in your new adventure! :-D

  7. You certianly will be missed. Though you know that :-)
    It has been a terrific few years working with you. Doing the whole eightbar metaverse thing.
    It would not have been possible with just one of us evangelizing.
    I am going to go in the corner and mope now.

  8. already said this on sametime but how entirely exciting and obviously an ideal role; good luck and best wishes for better mentees in the future ;-)

  9. Congratulations Roo.

    It has been a real privilege to work with you.

    I look forward to reading about your new role in the coming months.

    The BBC are very fortunate to have you.

  10. Really excited to have you coming to join us- this is great news. I’ve been waiting for announcements about appointments all week, but this is unexpected, and better than I could have anticipated.

    If you ever need a “leafy fix” do come down to Kingswood Warren- while we still have it! If you’re driving up it is just about doable from Soton.

  11. It’s hard to know what to say – I knew it was coming at yet very strange to see it written down. Hursley and IBM are going to be very different places without you and we’ll miss you a lot. Congratulations on this fantastic and exciting move – I really can’t wait to hear how it goes at the Beeb! Good luck!

  12. congratulations, Roo and congratulations, BBC. You’ve joined the IBM alumni a little earlier than most expected. Best wishes for much success — the world is a small place, and paths will frequently cross. Will watch here, on Twitter and other venues to see what you evolve with great expectations.

  13. Change is hard, but hey, it is so exciting to expand our experience with new opportunities. Congrats and good luck on bringing more infrastructure to the circle of networking. Farnham

  14. Hey Roo, many congratulations on your new role, it’s going to be very sad to see you go. When are the leaving drinks?! :)

    I hope the BBC is equally exciting, challenging and that they give you the freedom to work on cool things. And don’t forget those of us running Linux!

    Many thanks too for all the mentoring you gave me during my time in the IDS, you were really inspiring and you set me off down the right path :)

    Best of luck,


  15. Best wishes, Roo. And thanks for all your help over the past year or so, helping me better understand social media and metaverses, and explaining them to reporters.

  16. Roo,

    You’ve been a good friend to us in Higher Education in the UK. I know you’ll continue to do all you can to keep the contacts you’ve made with us.

    You and Ian at Hursley were important reasons why we felt that our move to becoming IBM customers was the “right move” for us in Cardiff.

    Best wishes and enjoy the next couple of weeks as you think about your future – which’ll be great with the Beeb, and reflect upon your past – which has been inspirational.

    Keep in touch.


  17. Congratulations Roo, wonderful news! It’s been a very great pleasure to work with you over the last couple of years. I’ll miss you, athough I am sure we will still run into oneanother in person from time to time as well as everywhere else.

    When are the leaving drinks?

    Good luck and have fun!


  18. Roo,
    We have had the opportunity to meet only very briefly for one of your sessions as an evangelist, at Deloitte, but I also started reading your blog and twitts, and loved your openness and style and insight. IBM was lucky to have you, and the BBC shall worry only of making the most out of your contribution. Best of luck, and hope to work together, on either side of the table!


  19. Hearty congrats on your Beebalicious move and looking forward to finding out what a “Portfolio Executive, Social Media at BBC Vision” does. “Metaverse Evangelist” took some figuring (once upon a time).

  20. Congrats on the new job and good luck! I will totally be demanding tours of wood lane when I next see you :)

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