On June 26th, 2008 I started porting the Blueprint CSS framework to a new-fangled stylesheet syntax called Sass. That work eventually became Compass and led to me joining the Sass core team along side Natalie Weizenbaum. In our precious free time, Natalie and I managed to build a language and an ecosystem of which we are incredibly proud. Sass has changed the course of web development. It has inspired over a dozen CSS preprocessors, at least two of which have gone on to become incredibly popular in their own right. Sass has been integrated into so many web development tools that I have lost count now. I was pretty sure that Sass was “mainstream” when the Google Chrome team recently contributed sourcemap support so that Sass developers could more easily interact with Chrome’s development tools. Four years ago, people questioned whether a preprocessor was a necessary tool for their project. Now, they debate which one they will use.
By all rights, Sass and Compass have accomplished great things. If Natalie or I decided to stop working on these projects, moving on to new things, no one would think less of us. In fact, over the past six months, I have been pondering this exact question. Both my job at Caring.com and needs of Sass & Compass have grown to a point where I can no longer adequately perform the duties required of them while also spending the quality time I desire with my amazing wife and daughter. Something had to give. As a result, for the last year or so I have scaled back my public speaking and work on open source so that I could focus on providing for my family both emotionally and financially.
Despite all our success, Sass and Compass are still not what we imagine they could be. I have not been able to escape the nagging feeling that the most important work that I could do in an ongoing way was in the web development community. I’ve been very sad that I have been letting the users of Sass and Compass down lately. However, it occurred to me (thanks in part to the prompting of Chris Coyier) that if I could find a company willing to support Sass & Compass development by hiring me, I could go back to doing the thing that I love: helping make front-end web development easier, and styling websites more awesome.
When I visited LinkedIn in February with Krys Taylor to speak about our styleguide development process I met a team of engineers doing amazing things with Sass and Compass. LinkedIn has over 1,100 Sass files (230k lines of SCSS) and over 90 web developers writing Sass every day. I asked if they would hire me to maintain Sass & Compass, as well as help them with their front-end architecture and developer relations. Basically, I asked LinkedIn for my dream job, and they agreed that it was an excellent idea. So I will start working there on May 13th.
That said, the decision to leave Caring.com was not an easy one. For six years, I had the honor of working with some of the most talented people I have ever worked with. As the first employee, I have given my all to the creation of the company and to the mission of helping millions of caregivers get though their tough times. Building a company is difficult and often ends in failure. Today, Caring.com has a viable business model, firm technological foundations, and a first class team. I’m certain they will succeed spectacularly with or without me – which makes me an extremely proud entrepreneur.
TL;DR I will be joining the amazing engineering team at LinkedIn on May 13th where one of my responsibilities will be to maintain Sass & Compass. I couldn’t be more thrilled.