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Moving On

David Nunez
David Nunez
4 min read

I’m finally free to talk in public a little bit more about what’s been going on in davidland in the past month or so.

The management team at CATF asked me to refrain from speaking about this until they had a chance to call a few people; I also wanted to make sure I had personal conversations with certain folks, as well (if we haven’t talked, yet, don’t worry, I’m slowly working down my list). I just got a call from my last person on the “they need to hear from me” list, and I decided now was the time to do a broader announcement.

Note: This is a lot of heavy stuff on my chest; it’s all going to come out raw. So, I reserve the right to pull it down and start over.

I have resigned from CATF effective November 26.

The situation is extremely amicable. While I admit I’ve not done everything perfectly, I do believe I’ve handled myself with a reasonable level of class and have left my bridges intact and possibly stronger than before; I fully expect to remain involved in some capacity or another.

I am by no means an expert on making major changes in life, and this was a tough one… and it stung… a lot. However, this was absolutely the right choice to make.

It was no secret I wouldn’t be with this organization forever. I have some wild windmills to slay; when it was time to turn up my creativity firehose, my own dragons must thoroughly consume my time, energy, and passion.

I have had, for a little while, a list of about 6 or 7 milestones I needed to scratch off before I felt I would be ready to make this change and, almost more importantly, that I would leave the organization in an incredible position. (Pay off a loan, figure out what free people do for health insurance, build a transition plan etc)

I was on track to start building robots and creating incomprehensible messes, full-time, around next summer or so.

unfortunately, a few months ago, a doctor threw me a curveball shortly after I made this list and before I had a chance to scratch anything off.

I faced the reality that there was a very strong chance my timeline, quite literally, wasn’t going to work out the way I had intended, and I would have to confront the ultimate test of my loyalty to the work I do.

The universe is either an amazing work of incomprehensible and mesmerizing art, or it is a cruel sonofabitch.

That same, surreal day, my car blew up.

Best laid plans, and all that…

So, let’s get this out of the way… Re: my health: I’ve hesitated writing about this or even telling my nearest friends because it’s one of those things that just happens and I don’t really want to dwell on it or have it define me. Mainly, I don’t want every conversation to be an endless series of, “are you ok’s?”

For now, it’s not something I’m going to talk about. Please don’t be offended when I deflect. No, it’s not denial (trust me, I’m owning this thing), but it’s more about the context in which I want to exist with other people.

Here’s what you need to know: I’m ok. Really. It’s going to be ok.

However, in the very slim chance it ever becomes not ok, I promise you’ll know, and that’s when I’ll need your help. In the meantime, let’s build up our friendship and enjoy each other’s company without any of the specters.

In a perverse, but I suppose not unusual way, this situation is actually something that I’m really thankful for. Phrases like, “Wake up call” and “kick in the pants” come to mind. I now have the beginnings of clarity and balance that I’ve realized I had no real desire to develop before. I feel like, I’m becoming more refined.

I spent a long time really thinking about my time and place. I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t sure exactly how far away I was or which direction I was facing.

One thing was clear: I need to wipe my plate and carve out major chunks of time.

I approached JonL and casually mentioned I was looking to change my employment situation. Fortunately, Polycot needed someone to help with an ever-increasing pile of programming work. They threw me some bit-work for a little while (which I happily did from home). When I learned they moved into a new office, and I realized the iron was as hot as it ever was going to get, I made my move.

Even though I tried for a little while, it wasn’t fair to CATF, Polycot, or myself to have me moonlight, so I tendered my resignation from CATF at the beginning of November with 4 weeks notice.

I am now working on a contract basis (roughly half-time) with Polycot.

Working for a startup is a risk. There is no guarantee of salary or benefits and the work is hard and challenging… My reward is the opportunity to work with some truly amazing talent, the chance to make inroads in technical/civic minded/Open Source projects I care about, and some unprecedented flexibility to move faster along my insane quest for a realm populated with dancing robots.

Yet, it was a heartbreaking choice. I really did enjoy my work with CATF, especially my support for teachers. There is so much I am grateful for: I worked with dedicated colleagues and learned enormous volumes about myself and my attitudes towards my community.

Working for a non-profit fundamentally shifted my value system in a positive way.

CATF has some incredible projects and announcements coming up. The work is about to pop in some amazing ways. It’s a very exciting place to be, right now.

But not for me, anymore. Now it’s time to move on.


David Nunez Twitter

Dir of Technology at the MIT Museum • Writing about emerging tech's impact on your life • Speculative insights on the intersection of humanity and technology 🤖


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