This afternoon it was announced that Carlos Icaza is moving on from day to day operations at Ansca Mobile, although he remains an advisor.
There is no doubt this is a sad time, a sentiment echoed in the emails, tweets and Facebook messages you guys have been sending me since the news broke, however I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the positive.
I first had contact with Carlos on the 18th of October, 2010, it was 9:30 in the morning and I hadn’t slept. An Ansca employee had commented on a blog post I made lamenting about GameSalad Direct, my concerns for the future and the fact I was considering Corona SDK as a possible salvation for myself and my career as a developer.
From here I wrote to Carlos, I wrote with questions and concerns – and as some of you have heard before, I mistakenly believed his name was “Carl” at this time… I never expected a reply, I was even scared to write the email – I saw him as this big shot CEO of Ansca Mobile and I was so shy; “What if he thinks I’m an idiot?” is all I could think.
I was amazed when he wrote back within an hour.
His reply contained more encouragement, more support than I could ever have expected. That email changed my life.
From there Carlos held my hand in coming to grips with Corona, no matter how busy he was he always made time to help me when I was struggling. As I came to learn how to use his product and no longer needed such frequent guidance he would still write to me, he would see how I was – not just how my app was coming along but how I was.
Over time I realized that the big shot CEO Carlos Icaza was in fact a genuinely amazing man and a very special person – he did not only want to look out for my best interests and it wasn’t all about Corona – he was teaching me about things I was inquisitive about. He became my mentor.
At this time I was helping out on the forum a lot and he offered me a casual gig with the company. At the time I was very unsure of myself and asked Carlos, “How do I do this? I don’t know if I’m good enough. What if I let you down?”
He told me; “I believe in you, you will be fine, trust yourself. You are already making a difference.” – and with that I joined the team. It became official on April 21st, 2011, a year ago this month.
The more I got to know Carlos the more I wanted to know him. He has a knack for making you feel safe and protected, he tells you wonderful, funny, often insightful stories, he makes you feel good about yourself and spontaneously does things to make others laugh or smile – and yet he manages to, with a change of his tone, let you know it’s time get serious.
I saw him have this effect on many people in our community and I loved that. He wanted to be involved with all Corona developers, he often told me he wanted to put together a developers conference to meet people using his product, to talk with them personally, to thank them.
When I was lucky enough to first meet Carlos in person it changed me. His caring, support and guidance made me a much happier, more positive and more confident person.
I remember one night sitting outside my hotel in his car, he told me “You are doing a great job, users email me praising you – I told you, I knew you had it in you.”
I remember the feeling of a silent tear rolling down my cheek.
I was not sad, I was moved. Here I was with a man I’d thought would never reply to my email a year earlier, sitting in his car, having a conversation about the fact I was actually working with him and he was proud of me.
This might be hard for some people to understand, the sheer intensity of that moment – but here’s this guy who is very much a hero to me, with me, quietly insecure and not at all accustom to such positivity and praise.
He maintained this attitude with me the entire time we worked together, he did not coddle me (well, maybe once or twice when I really needed it,) and he helped me grow confident and grow my passion for helping our developers.
I never thought I’d work for a company, until I met Carlos I had avoided that kind of thing like the plague – he single handedly changed my mind and changed my outlook on work and on life. He changed me.
I am a sentimental person – when I make an attachment it tends to last a lifetime and I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to meet, to work with and to form such an attachment to Carlos.
It might seem odd to say that you love your boss but I guess I’m an odd person – and I suppose over time he has become more family than anything else, perhaps in loco parentis* at Ansca for me (*a guardian of sorts, basically) and as a result I could grow and thrive, I didn’t feel pressured, only encouraged to do well by my desire to make him proud.
Although it will be a large adjustment to not work with him on the day-to-day stuff, he is still on board as an advisor (as mentioned in the blog post earlier today), Ansca is as strong as ever and the team is still the best bunch of people you’ll ever meet – and I am so grateful to be a part of it. Corona will continue to grow and thrive and Carlos has helped to ensure that and will continue to do so, simply from a new vantage point.
He has his own personal reasons for moving on from the day to day operations and we should all wish him nothing but the best, because that is what he deserves.
Without him I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now, Techority wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t have found my way into the Ansca family, a group of people I simply adore. I never would have met any of you.
Thank you Carlos, you have been a central part of my life for the past year or so and whatever you choose to do next you will always have a very large, very prominent place in my heart.
Congratulations to anyone who managed to read this entire post; the thing to take away is that as much as we will all miss Carlos’ day-to-day involvement that the future is bright and he is still, of course, co-founder of the greatest SDK in the world.
At the end of the day it is as he always tells us; “The journey is the reward” – and above all else, he touched people’s lives and that is what he is all about.
This is not the end, just the next chapter – and of course you can still reach out to Carlos as always on Twitter @carlosicaza – he is only a tweet away.
*Carlos will be talking about 8 elements to a successful game on May 1st and virtual attendance IS an option, so check it out here.
PS – Carlos and I were previously in talks about a podcast/interview in the near future discussing the journey, startups and entrepreneurship and I am hoping we can still go ahead with this sometime soon. Stay tuned.