Joining Intel as Community Manager for MeeGo

MeeGo_logo_gmBig changes are coming my way in March. I will be joining Intel on March 1 as Intel’s community manager for the newly formed MeeGo open source community. MeeGo was formed out of a merging of the Moblin and Maemo communities, and I am really excited about the opportunity to work on this new project. As I dig into MeeGo and get more familiar with my specific role, I’ll post more details about exactly what I’ll be doing.

This is my second tour at Intel; I first worked at Intel from 2000 – 2006. At that time, I had never worked for a company with less than 20,000 employees. All of my work experience was in large corporations, but I had no startup experience. I left Intel specifically to spend a few years working in much smaller startups and to focus on roles where I would be building online communities. I worked in 2 startups, including Jive Software where I built and managed the Jivespace developer community. When I joined Jive, there were only 50 employees, and a year later when there were nearly 150 people, it started to feel less like a startup. At that point, I decided that it was time for me to break out on my own to do freelance consulting, which was something I had been wanting to do for a while. Freelancing was another first for me, since I had never owned my own business or done any outside consulting.

I have been consulting for almost 2 years, and there are parts of it that I love and parts that aren’t as awesome. I love working with clients to build communities and having copious amounts of flexibility in my schedule and working arrangements. However, I don’t enjoy doing business development, invoicing, and many of the other tedious business tasks. As a freelancer, I pay more in taxes and many things become much more complex, difficult and time consuming: health insurance, retirement savings, etc. There are also the inevitable ups and downs that cause plenty of stress when you are trying to line up that next gig to replace the one that is wrapping up.

The biggest challenge for me is one that sounds almost counter-intuitive, but it is the biggest issue that I have with my freelancing career. By becoming a freelancer, I took my hobbies and turned them into paying gigs. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? Well, it was great … at first. Recently, I realized that many of the things that I used to do for fun now seemed like work, and they became less fun over time. All of a sudden, activities like blogging, attending events, speaking at events, and more felt like a big weight on my shoulders, since I needed to use these as ways to generate more business. They started to feel more like marketing and less like something that I was passionate about and doing for fun. All of a sudden, my hobbies had mostly disappeared, and I was spending all of my time doing things that felt like work, which has left me burned out. This is the primary reason that I recently decided to go back to corporate life.

I’ve been doing a bit of consulting at Intel, and I’ve enjoyed seeing some of the changes that have happened while I was gone. I’ll be joining the Open Source Technology Center, which has grown since I left, but I still have many friends working on open source at Intel, and I am eager to work with them again. I’ve also been really impressed with how other groups at Intel have embraced social efforts through the work of people like Josh Bancroft, Kelly Feller, Bryan Rhoads and many others.

I’m looking forward to working on MeeGo and am truly excited to be going back to Intel.

31 thoughts on “Joining Intel as Community Manager for MeeGo”

  1. Congrats on the move, sounds great!

    Just curious, how is it that you pay more in taxes? If for nothing else, I would think you would pay less since you can write off so much more than what employees can.

  2. Congratulations, Dawn! Nothing could be more Portland-y than mobile, open source, and Intel. 🙂

    I can’t wait to see what you do with this project.

  3. Yay! Glad the news is out now. I’m very excited to be able to work more closely with you now at Intel, and I’m stoked that Meego is going to have an awesome community manager who has the knowledge and chops to make it something great. Welcome back! 🙂

  4. This is great news for MeeGo. Herding Maemo and Moblin developers will be a challenge, but if anyone has the right stuff, it is you, Dawn. MeeGo’s vision is the kind of opportunity that comes around once in a lifetime. Congratulations!

  5. Congrats and welcome to the wonderful world of MeeGo. I’m glad to see that there will be some serious commitment to community management at MeeGo. I suspect it may be a real challenge. Community management of open source developers is sort of like trying to herd feral cats, and when you’re trying to merge two different packs of feral cats it can be really interesting.

  6. Great news, Dawn! How wonderful! Good luck in your new role and we’ll now get to see you more often on campus! 🙂

  7. Congratulations! And this was another great blog post. You identify the problems transitioning your passion into your work very succinctly.

    I too, am curious about the tax issues regarding freelancing. You’re not the first freelance consultant I’ve heard with problems in this area…

  8. congrats on new position. I was thinking that you might want to get yourself
    (or one of the MeeGo developers) on the FLOSS Weekly podcast. A lot of open
    Source people listen to that podcast. You could email Randal Schwartz at to get on the show. Might be good publicity.

  9. First, a huge thank you for all of the warm thoughts about my new job!

    To clarify the tax question. Maybe it just seems like I pay more in taxes because it comes in big chunks 🙂 The more I think about it, it’s probably the hassle associated with taxes more than actually paying more in taxes. However, it does depend on your situation. You have to pay an additional self-employment tax, but this is similar to what you were already paying for Social Security / Medicare. For me, I think I ended up paying more in taxes because I used to contribute the IRS maximum to my 401k, which is way more than the tax-free maximum you can contribute to an IRA. I do get to deduct my expenses, but my expenses were fairly low, so I don’t think they made up for the difference. It is safe to say that taxes are definitely much more complicated as a freelancer (tracking all of the expenses, setting aside enough money for taxes before they’re due, etc.), and you spend a lot of extra time on paperwork. I’m lucky that I have good freelancer friends to help guide me, so I managed to plan ahead to have enough set aside in a savings account to cover all of my taxes + IRA contribution and didn’t get into the trouble that other friends have been in due to lack of preparation or understanding about how freelancer taxes work. I think this answer is as long as the blog post … I guess the summary is that taxes are like Facebook relationships, it’s complicated.

  10. Congratulations and best wishes on your continued success. Your willingness to experience new things and take risks has served you well. I hope you also get some of the “fun” back too! Cheers!

  11. Congratulations from my side too (better late than never!) and the best of luck. I guess this move increases my chances dramatically that we finally meet in person. I am curious!

  12. Félicitations Dawn.
    I predict a big community success for MeeGo with you and Stormy driving the energy. What a dreamteam !
    I feel the same than you , not for the taxes since there is a very interesting but for the difficulty to be

  13. Oops Sorry ! Big fingers, too early in the morning …

    I share the same feeling – not for the taxes since there is a new interesting system in France to avoid tedious business tasks – but for the hobbies becoming business. Moreover, I love to share – for free – and being freelance makes it more difficult.

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