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. Holy cow it’s an exodus!

    I’m really excited for you though… I think there is only so far that you can take the work that you’ve been doing at (and outside of) IBM, and this seems like such a wonderful position for you.

    I hope that it’s everything you could wish it to be, and an environment were you are inspired as much as you’ve been known to inspire!

  2. Hey there Roo,

    All the best at BBC !! Always looked admirably at the British channel as THE social media leader in the Telco industry, and with you on board I’m sure the BBC will stay in the lead…

    Good luck, Dvir.

  3. Nothing but happiness for you, Roo. IBM was lucky to have you for a decade. I’d say keep in touch, but there’s no way you can hide with as much data as you generate, so it’s sort of a moot sentiment. Hope to see you soon.

    Best of luck!

  4. Wishing you all the best with the new role, especially as the BBC seem to be doing many exciting things at present.
    I look forward to reading your blogs going forward.

  5. Hi Roo

    Congrats. V.pleased you’re joining us.

    I do Haywards Heath > Clapham Junction > Olympia > BBC Shuttle > Wood Lane. Not too painful. Overground opens in Oct i think.

  6. Hi Roo, congratulations – when you get to the BBC please get in touch! I’m features editor of the staff paper and I’d love to chat to you about doing a piece on all things social media.

  7. Hey Roo, looks like I’m a bit late to the party here.

    An impressive amount of comments wishing you well and rightly so :)

    So I’ll simply wish you all the best at the Beeb and say it was a pleasure working with you.

  8. It takes guts to leave ole IBM … good for you. I enjoyed your posts on Blog Central and I’ve just added this blog to my RSS feed so I can keep getting my left brain wacks.

  9. Hey! Congratulations. Whatever they are paying you, they have just bought a brain the size of a planet and they won’t regret it! A huge brain with a great and warm personality to steer it too.

    Have lots of fun. I’m sure you will. :)

    We’ll have to have you on Boris in Wonderland in your new capacity.

  10. Congratulations Roo. Although we never met in person, it was (is) great having you as a IBM and virtual colleauge. Good luck and most of all have fun at the Beeb!

  11. Virtually gone, but only after leaving a strong mark on each one of us. Let your new projects inspire you to ever greater accomplishments –

    thanks for being the Roo that we all adore, a bright sparkle is moving on

  12. Nooooooooooooooooo!

    I suppose it had to happen at some point. Absolutely sick as the proverbial parrot to see you go buddy, but it sounds like they made you an offer you can’t refuse!

    All the best…
    ..and don’t think for a second this means I’ll stop hassling you.


  13. Roo – It was such a pleasure to work with you – I will miss your positive attitude and wish you all the best!

  14. All the best Roo, its sad to see good talent moving on but sounds like an opportunity not to be missed, when you get on the inside of the BBC look up Justin Richards he leads the “Doctor Who” books side and is an Ex IBM as well, he led the design of CUA for OS/2 Windows many many years ago, all the best and keep having fun.


  15. Wow. Thank god for Twitter keeping me aware of things (I’m on vacation this week). I’m sure your decision to leave IBM wasn’t easy, especially when you were able to define so much of what you did in your daily work. Enjoy the new digs, and keep chatting on your new experiences! Cheers

  16. Good luck Roo, IBM is a poorer place without you, but I can’t think of anywhere more fun than the Beeb! Enjoy yourself – you richly deserve it. Oh and change the world whilst you’re about it :+)


  17. I felt tearful reading your blog, and even more so reading the comments ….. all the best Roo in your new Job … I look forward to seeing you on Top Gear or maybe even Eastenders haha :o)

    You only live round the corner, so I’m sure we’ll see you soon. (Thanks for offering to baby-sit as well hehe :oP don’t you remember saying that?)

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