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Bob Orchard

I'm joining Gatsby

Career, Product Management2 min read

When I started building websites over 14 years ago (wow, was it really that long ago?), the barrier to entry was pretty high. Almost nobody in my small hometown knew what it was and my parents encouraged me to pursue a more traditional career path like construction.

The first site I built was from my parent's basement using Microsoft Frontpage. Looking back, I think it was absolutely the worst looking website I've ever seen, but it got the job done. I was so proud of it when it launched, providing information on a local company that produced authentic hand-made Santa Claus suits used in parades like the Macy's day parade.

In 1965, Gordon Moore predicted that computing would increase in power and decrease in cost at an exponential pace. While his prediction was focused on the number of components per integrated circuit, it also applies to technology. Over the past decade, access to technology, learning materials, communication methods, and awareness have all become much easier to access.

Today it seems like there's always a new technology, framework, or language showing up. As a naturally curious person I want to learn a little bit about each of them, but it's hard to keep up. The newest technologists entering the industry face this same decision. Many ask themselves:

"Where do I start?"

"What should I learn first?"

These are both great questions in a world where you could choose anything. What if you had a place to start that could work with just about anything?

Why Gatsby?

Gatsby Cloud represents an entirely new era of building and deploying performant and accessible digital experiences, no matter where you manage your data. For decades, CMS's were the single place where you store your data, build sites and make them available to users.

Truly managing a CMS-powered website is a lot of work. It's something you can do yourself, pay someone to do, or pay a managed host to do for you. For a while I dropped out of WordPress entirely and switched over to CraftCMS because of how close I could get to the experience I was building.

A couple years back I started working with the Gatsby open source project for a few client projects and was blown away by the performance and flexibility of it. All of a sudden I was able to port my WordPress site(s) over and only run it locally when I needed to perform a change to the content. This challenged my perspective that a CMS needed to hold everything about a website.

Gatsby brings the idea of a Content Mesh into reality by modularizing the CMS experience and allowing you to run almost any CMS "headlessly" while delivering digital experiences. Sam has written an incredible article that I encourage you to read.

What's next?

After months of talking with the team, I am excited that I'm joining the Gatsby team as a Senior Product Manager immediately prior to Gatsby Days and our all-company meetup we call the Gatsby Gathering. I'll be working closely with our Head of Product, Dustin Schau to build an exceptional product team at Gatsby. We have a few specific goals in mind for 2020 and I'm excited to get to work.

I'll also be hanging up my headphones on incoming client work. While I love providing consulting services for funded startups and established businesses, I'm pushing pause on that while I dedicate 2020 to a few specific personal goals. I still have a few clients that I'll be working with, but when those contracts wrap up I won't be accepting any new work.

Let's build the future together.

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