Recently I learned that Stewart Butterfield — who along with his wife, Caterina Fake, co-founded one of the most interesting and exciting startups to usher in the ‘Web 2.0’ era — has resigned from Yahoo, the current owners of that business. His letter of resignation was posted on Jon Gruber’s Daring Fireball, and I couldn’t resist reprinting it here; It’s a scream:
From: Stewart Butterfield
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 10:57 AM
To: Brad Garlinghouse
As you know, tin is in my blood. For generations my family has worked with this most useful of metals. When I joined Yahoo back in ’21, it was a sheet-tin concern of great momentum, growth and innovation. I knew it was the place for me.
Over the decades as the company grew and expanded, first into dyes and punches, into copper, corrugated steel, synthesized rubber, piping, milling equipment, engines, instruments, weaponry, and so on, I still felt at home, because tin was the core of the business.
After the war, as we continued to branch out in electronics, all manner of aeronautical frames, hulls and bodies, computing and tabulating machines, precision controls, and later, farther afield — real estate, brewing, consumer finance, grain processing, lighting and salty snacks — I took it in stride, for there was still a place for me.
Since the late 80s, as the general manufacturing, oil exploration & refining, logistics, and hotel & casino divisions rose to prominence, I have felt somewhat sidelined. By the time of the internet revolution and our expansions into Web Sites, I have been cast adrift. I tried to roll with the times, but nary a sheet of tin has rolled of our own production lines in over 30 years.
I don’t know what you and the other executives have planned for this company, but I know that my ability to contribute has dwindled to near-nothing, and not entirely because of my advancing age. Therefore, with a heavy heart, I recognize that it is time for me to and the company to part ways.
In my 87 years service, I’ve accomplished many feats, shared in the ups and downs, made great friends, and learned a tremendous amount (who would have thought that Electronic Mail would come to supplant the nation’s own great and venerable post!?) but there is a new generation now and it would be unfair not to give them a chance. Those that started in the make-work programs of the depression, on the GI programs in the late 40s, and even those young baby boomers need their own try, without us old ‘uns standing in the way.
So, please accept my resignation, effective July 12. And I don’t need no fancy parties or gold watches (I still have the one from ’61 and ’76). 1 will be spending more time with my family, tending to my small but growing alpaca herd and, of course, getting back to working with tin, my first love.
Your old tin-smithing friend and colleague,
- Stewart Butterfield
(In case you didn’t get the gag, Stewart Butterfield is 35 years old)
It’s worth noting that a Facebook group has been formed, called BringCaterinaAndStewartHome. The Web site Strutta is handling the domain http://www.BringCaterinaAndStewartHome where people are posting photos of our beautiful city and pointing out the strengths of the place, hoping to woo these two back.
Frankly, I’d like to see them return as well. They are, in a way, the prodigal son and daughter of the tech scene here. Flickr has always been held up as The Great Vancouver Tech Success Story, and I would imagine that it has emboldened its share of startups in Yaletown and Gastown. Since I arrived shortly after they left, I always felt like I missed out on some of the joie de vivre that Ludicorp brought to Vancouver. Indeed, I even had given some thought as to showing up on their doorstep while we were making plans in Cambridge, and I remember my disappointment as I saw the photos of the good-bye party a few months before we were to make the move (Doh!).
With a letter of resignation as witty and clever as that one, and a track record unequaled by most of the techies of Vancouver, we could use a guy like that around here.