I _Really_ Don't Know

A low-frequency blog by Rob Styles

What next?

I’m leaving Talis.

For the past seven years I have had the great fortune to learn a huge amount from awesome people. That has put me in the position of having some great conversations about what I’ll be doing next; and those conversations are exciting. More on that in a later post. First, how can someone be happy to be leaving a great company?

Back in late 2004 I joined a small library software vendor with some interesting challenges, Talis. Since then we have become one of the best known Linked Data and Semantic Web brands in the world. On that journey I have learnt so much. I’ve learnt everything from an obscure late 1960s data format (MARC) to Big Data conversions using Hadoop. The technology has been the least of it though.

I’ve been rewarded with the opportunity to hear some of the smartest people in the world speak in some amazing places. I’ve pair-programmed with Ian Davis and had breakfast with Tim Berners-Lee; I’ve seen the Rockies in Banff and walked the Great Wall of China. As a result of our brand and the work we’ve done I’ve been invited to help write the first license for open data; train government departments on how to publish their data and talk about dinosaurs with Tom Scott at the BBC.

Talis has always been about the people. People in Talis (Talisians); people outside we’ve worked with and bounced ideas off; customers who have allowed us to help with exciting projects. I have made some great friends and been taught some humbling lessons.

Amongst the sharpest highlights has been an enormously rewarding day job. At the start re-imagining Talis Base and then Talis Prism ; seeding an education-focussed business and recently building an expert, international consultancy.

I joined Talis expecting to stay for a few years and found the journey so rewarding it has kept me for so much longer. It’s now time for my journey and Talis to diverge as I think about doing something different.

I still have a couple of consulting engagements to finalise, so if you’re one of those then please don’t panic; we’ll be talking soon.