Yesterday, I talked with my manager at work about my plans to start a company. Probably the most surprising part of this discussion was that I was giving about 10 months notice. Who gives 10 months notice? In this case, I thought it best to be as open about my plans as possible. Other companies might have just terminated things right there but I have been with Microsoft long enough to know that the managers have a sincere interest in the careers of the people reporting to them. It probably also helped that I mentioned this so that we could plan properly to be able to make a good contribution during my last year.
I was originally planning to start full time on my company this summer but pushed things back a bit to give more time to plan properly. That was another reason to have a talk with my manager. It is too easy to keep pushing this sort of thing out and continue relying on a steady paycheck. As the years progress, someday a person looks back and wonders whatever happened to starting their own company. Doing it this way, raises the commitment level I have to starting my own company while still providing enough time to plan properly. The last time I started a company, it was different. Then, it was a small company I was working for and the owner announced one day during a conference call that he was going to close down the company. There was an abrupt change and instead of finding another job, I struck out on my own. I am finding it very different to plan to leave a perfectly good company for a risky venture and probably would never even consider it had I not done this before.