Today was one of the saddest, and most beautiful days of my life.
Friday was my nine year anniversary of starting as a Developer Evangelist at Twilio.
And today I got laid off.
The emails dropped between 9 and 10am. I posted my goodbyes and contact info in Slack. Texts started coming in. Feelings were too complex to be measured in characters, so I just tapped the call button. I must have had 20+ calls today. Calls with folks who were also cut. Calls with folks who survived. Calls with folks who survived, but are leaving soon. Calls with folks who left a long time ago, assuring me there's life after. Calls with family, and calls with friends who are like family. Calls filled with sadness for what we lost, relief for it being over, and hope for what comes next. Calls expressing and receiving love, gratitude, and appreciation. Calls where I shed tears with coworkers.
It's funny, because Twilio makes money off phone call minutes, and for years I've thought, "who wants to make phone calls anymore?" And then the day I get cut...
Rachel, my wife, was a bedrock of love and support today. She described the conversations like, "... going to your own funeral. When else would you get the opportunity for so many people say so many kind things to you?"
Emma, our oldest daughter, is eight years old. She's only ever known me as working at Twilio. I tried to tell her when she came home from school. That today was my last day. That me and my friends were telling each other how much we appreciated one another. She said, "so it was like a sad Valentines Day?"
Our first round of layoffs came as a surprise. When I joined Twilio in 2014 we had 250 people. By 2022, we had grown to 8,500. Twilio was and always had been a rocket-ship: straight up-and-to-the-right. Then, back in September, we laid off ~900 people. High performers and cultural pillars let go on two hours notice. All of a sudden that was a sort of thing that could happen. I've been emotionally and pragmatically preparing to leave ever since.
The email said we'd lose access at 12:30pm. At 12:28 I decided, "I'll break up with you before you can dump me." I signed out and closed my work machine for the last time.
And then I started to cry.
I cried despite the generous severance package. I cried despite emotionally preparing for the moment. I cried despite being genuinely excited for what comes next. For nine years, so much of my identity has been wrapped up in my relationship with Twilio, and that relationship ended today.
"Twilio has been the ride of a career," as my friend Harry said today. But for all the opportune moments that happened on-stage and back-stage, for all the traffic and pipeline generated, the body of work I care most about is the stuff that never shows up on a spreadsheet or trip report: the cumulation of nine years of showing up and asking, "How can I help?"
Today I got to bask in memories and recognition of those moments. It was one of the most beautiful days of my life.
At some point I'll publish a post or ten reflecting on nine years of developer evangelism at Twilio.
At some point I'll write about what comes next.
But tonight, I'm just grateful for today.
Photos: Third day on the job. Rob Spectre, Rob Williams, and Jeff Lawson awarding me my track jacket, with Brent Schooley on deck. Shot by Carter Rabasa, my first Twilio boss. Feb 12, 2014.