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Sweet Home Chicago

Posted on January 29, 2008

I have been telling folks close to me and word has been moving around so I figured it was about time for me to announce publicly that I am moving back to Chicago in a few weeks.

I am really excited about coming back. I missed everyone (our conversations about business, technology, new ideas, etc.) and I missed working on building up Chicagoland/Midwest as the technology hub that it should be. Frankly, Chicago is special and I didn’t realize how special it was until I left.

As I did when I decided to come to NYC I will leave you with a FAQ to explain what’s going on with me and the move. Enjoy!

Eric Moves Back to Chicago: The FAQ

Q: What happened with BuzzFeed? Are you still working for them when you come back or have you left the company?

A: Good question. BuzzFeed is a great company with some solid technology and I see big things for them in the future. That said, the role turned out not to be right for me.

It was an amiable parting for sure and I think Jonah will find a guy who is better suited to the business (i.e. they need a killer ad sales guy with 10+ years experience in ad sales to run things there and that isn’t me).

So, yes, I have left the company and I do wish the guys at BuzzFeed the best of luck moving forward. I have no doubt they will change the world of advertising for the better.

Q: Well, what the heck are you going to do when you get to Chicago then?

A: To start, I will be consulting with a few companies in Chicago on business development, product, marketing, etc. which I am really looking forward to. It’ll give me a chance to work across different industries and pick up some new stuff as well as work on a variety of problems. If you need some consulting just shoot me a note and we can see what makes sense (eric [at] ericjohnolson.com).

I will also be focusing more time on TECH cocktail and on bringing the Chicagoland tech community together. Frank and I have some ambitious plans for TECH cocktail in 2008 so stay tuned to our site for updates.

In the long term I actually do have a gig lined up although I won’t be starting full time for a little while. Unfortunately I can’t say much more than that right now but stay tuned for an announcement to come in the future. Needless to say this gig is exactly what I should be/want to be doing and I am very excited about it. I will also be working with some great guys who I will be able to learn a lot from.

Q: So how would you characterize your NYC experience?

A: I am actually very positive on the NYC experience. I had a great time here and at BuzzFeed. I was able to meet a lot of great people and, perhaps even more importantly, learn a lot about myself.

Without getting to zen-like I would say that this stint in NYC really woke me up. It caused me to reevaluate what I wanted out of life and business. This introspection is what lead me back to Chicago and to the gig I will announce at a later date.

All in all I realize that I needed to come out to NYC and do this to take a big step forward in my career and in life.

Q: Aren’t you worried about the blip on your resume?

A: I was initially but in the end of the day using four months of time and having a blip on my resume was completely worth it to gain clarity on my career (and on life).

Q: This isn’t a joke is it? I checked the calendar is it definitely isn’t anywhere near April 1st.

A: This is not a joke at all. I truly consider Chicago home now. In fact, I never called it home until the other day when I was talking to my friend John about moving back. He noted immediately that it was the first time I had referred to Chicago as home. That was another one of those moments where it hit me that I had grown a lot over the past four months. Good stuff.

Q: When will you be back in town for good?

A: I plan on moving back over the weekend of the 16th and 17thof February. That puts me back in Chicago full time on February 18th just ahead of TECH cocktail 7.

Q: What about all the training you have been doing and the cycling race team you joined in NYC?

A: I will continue training and remain a member of NYvelocity (thankfully they wanted to continue to work with me). Those guys are great and they have really opened my eyes to the world of bike racing.

Most likely you will find me up in Evanston on Saturday and Sunday mornings riding with fellow entrepreneur/technology guy Troy Henikoff and the rest of the gang and then on the lakefront trail during the weekdays. If you’re a cyclist and want to join in just shoot me an e-mail.

Q: You know it is frickin’ cold here right?

A: Yup… can’t say I am looking forward to Chicago winters but I’ll deal!

Q: Was it the deep dish pizza that really brought you back? Or the Italian beefs?

A: I did develop a taste for deep dish pizza over the last couple years in Chicago but I still am not quite sure about Chicago’s weird pizza stance… I actually have never had an Italian beef. I need to do that.

Q: It was potbelly wasn’t it?

A: You got me. This is all potbelly related. Mmmmmm…. toasty chicken salad sandwich on wheat…. ahhhhhhhh (trying to imitate Homer Simpson with text is kind of hard).

So that about does it. I am psyched to be coming back and to see everyone (and most importantly to be back with my girl). TECH cocktail 7 will inadvertently be my re-insertion into Chicago tech so I hope to see you all there. Onward!

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14 Comments so far
  1. drew olanoff January 29, 2008 2:32 pm

    I’ve been there, and this really hit home for me…pun intended. I missed Philly a lot while I was in Seattle and in NYC. I liked both places, Seattle especially. It just didn’t *feel* like home.

    I wish you the best!

  2. Jake P January 29, 2008 3:28 pm

    Dude…so glad for you. Now…about that whole “never having an Italian beef” thing. We need to remedy that. Enrico’s Italian, quickly, quickly.

  3. Fraser January 29, 2008 3:54 pm

    inspirational decision and post. looking forward to visiting :)

  4. Jeff Judge January 29, 2008 10:28 pm

    Glad you’re coming home. I’d like to join you in cycling, and we have a lot to catch up on.

  5. TECH cocktail January 30, 2008 3:59 pm

    […] For all the details on the move please check out my blog post and FAQ. […]

  6. Peter Christensen January 30, 2008 4:18 pm

    Actually, that was an unmistakable Homer Simpson - in fact, I heard his voice saying it before you even mentioned Homer!

  7. Dave Schappell January 30, 2008 8:11 pm

    Congrats on the move, Eric — 4 months of discovery is nothing! You’ll keep racking these up — that experience will just be another step to build on. I look forward to catching up again in person… maybe Web 2.0 Expo? Or, maybe you can convince a contingent to make a foray to the Midwest?!? Just make sure it coincides with a Cubs game!

  8. Leo Klein January 30, 2008 10:08 pm

    I left Chicago for 20 years — 10 years in Europe and 10 years in NYC. There’s no better decision I ever made in my life than coming back to sweet home…

    I now walk the same streets where I grew up, see the buildings and the lake, and it invigorates me every step I take.

  9. […] Sweet Home Chicago. Return on four month’s investment? A lifetime of clarity. Nicely done […]

  10. Justin Chen January 31, 2008 2:26 am

    sound like you’ve got some good stuff lined up. i won’t make it out for cocktail, but i might be back in march - we should catch up.

  11. Josh Dreller January 31, 2008 1:28 pm

    Yo bro…glad ur coming back to the area! You definitely are one of our assets in building up the Midwest as a tech center.

    I’ve discovered this personally and seen it over the years: sometimes very driven people are so into getting to the next best thing that they don’t realize how good their current situation is. Not necessarily saying that happened to you but

    As far as your resume goes, I wouldn’t worry about it. Life happens!

  12. David Dalka January 31, 2008 1:37 pm

    Great, we can finally have that BBQ that we never had back in 2006. :)

  13. Todd Vernon February 7, 2008 10:59 pm

    Eric, late to the party here but congrats on the move. Chicago is much closer and I still have so much to learn from you! Can’t wait for TC Boulder!

  14. Moving Back to Chicago : TECH cocktail February 20, 2008 2:48 pm

    […] For all the details on the move please check out my blog post and FAQ. […]