Some of you might have noticed: Yoast.com has changed, as usual because I, its founder, have changed. The site has gotten a new design over the last few days, and new copy on quite a few of its static pages. The reasons for the redesign were plentiful, but most important: the site had to look more professional, and as less of a “hobby” blog. Judging by the initial reactions on Twitter, it worked. There’s still loads of things I want to improve on it, but that’ll come over the next weeks. As usual by now with my designs, full credit goes to my buddy Frederick for doing all the heavy lifting.
The reason for the site having to become more professional is the second, more personal and more important part of this post. Starting last July, when I “incorporated” my own Yoast BV, the Dutch equivalent of an Inc, I’ve been working on my own projects more, while also still working at and with OrangeValley. As of December 1st, yesterday, I no longer work for them.
The fact that I’ve left OrangeValley might surprise some of you, so let me explain why. OrangeValley has grown tremendously since I became its first employee in October 2008, both in size and in knowledge. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed working with the people there, as it’s one of the most talented crews I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, helping a range of very cool customers. Naming any of my colleagues specifically would mean not naming one or two others, when all of them have their own specialties and they’re all great people, so I won’t. “Why leave then?”, you’ll ask.
Because it’s time. It’s time for me to be a true entrepreneur, and not an employee. I’m a very ambitious guy: being one of the best SEO’s of the Netherlands, which I think I can fairly call myself, is not enough. I want to be amongst and compete with the best in the world. Some people might think that’s arrogance, I’ve decided that doesn’t bother me anymore.
So it is, with some pain in my heart, that I wish them all the best, I’m certain they’ll do great things. There’s two people whom I will name, as I especially want to thank them. Frank and Ortwin, managing partners at OrangeValley, have been great mentors throughout the time I worked with them, encouraging me to take my own path even when it had been in their better interest not too, to them I want to say: Thanks guys. While I’m leaving the company, we’re not done yet, we will be working together in the future, I’m quite sure of that.
So what will you be doing?
I’ve got several ideas for products, at least one of which will lead to a very cool startup soon. A lot of this will happen in cooperation with other people, often with Frederick, in whom I’ve found a sparring partner of incredible value, and I’ve also got a couple of new sites planned with my buddy Roy.
Another product I’m working on and will be spending more time on, is my free WordPress SEO plugin and its paid modules. I’m very excited to work with Mark Robertson of ReelSEO on the Video SEO module and with Arjan on the Local SEO module. Those projects combined take up so much time that it’s no longer possible for me to combine it with a job at OrangeValley, and frankly, I no longer have to. This site and my other sites make me enough money to live off, and allow me to fund all of these projects myself. I know, I’m a lucky guy.
So off we go, on to new adventures!