Startup Life

It was a good Dip – but a Dip nonetheless

I started off writing my farewell email to my IBM social network but then thought it would make a better post and help drive traffic at the same time 🙂

Cover of "The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches ...

I’m fascinated by social software and the content that runs through it. This is where I want to immerse the next chapter of my career.

To all the IBMers I socialized with …

On the very first page of Seth Godin‘s “The Dip”, he writes:

Most of the time, we deal with obstacles by persevering. Sometimes we get get discouraged and turn to inspirational writing, like stuff from Vince Lombardi: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.” Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.

I joined IBM three years ago by quitting a start-up. I was the CTO for an online education company that, to this day, I’ve yet to see anything come close to as good as what we had back then. But, three years had gone by and I only got paid for the first one. Things were going from bad to worse and I just had to quit.

Luckily for me (here’s some thoughts on the meaning of “lucky”), I quickly landed a job in the Montreal Rational Software Lab.

Two years later, our only product was heading into maintenance mode and it was obvious that there wouldn’t be much need for my services in the near future. Any other company would have fired me right then and there. But not IBM. I spent the last year improving my skills and increasing my social network looking for work. I tried outside my Brand and when that door shut (gosh darn Global Financial Crisis), I even tried creating two new positions inside Rational. I thought the positions were necessary to the business and equally as important, necessary to me.

I’m fascinated by social software and the content that runs through it. This is where I want to immerse the next chapter of my career and am currently making headway to do just that. Doing anything else just to stay an IBM employee, would be a disservice to IBM and myself. And so Friday 06 Feb 2009 marks the end of this sprint at IBM.

I’m grateful to the greater IBM and it’s values, and to all those in my social network who helped me in one way, or, another with their own values. I wish everyone the best of luck moving forward in these challenging, yet exhilarating times, and hope to meet up again one day.

I’d be honored by any of you who’d like to stay in touch.

You can read my blog and maybe even leave a comment every now and then. By the way, some of you have already been mentioned in Getting my affairs in order – If this were Twitter, I’d just say “Thanks”, or, No one could accuse Big Blue (IBM) of being cold, even at -19c/-5f outside. Please don’t forget to subscribe by pointing your news readers to my news feed. (If you’re not sure what that’s all about, take a look at My Five Ws of RSS in less than 10 minutes (video included).) If you prefer, you could simply subscribe to my blog by email. You could read My Five Ws of Twitter in less than 10 minutes (video included) and then Follow me. If you prefer the more enterprise-like method, you could connect with me on LinkedIn – maybe even give me a recommendation. And finally, there’s always the classic anti-social route – just give me a call at +1-514-990-1697 🙂

Steven Milstein

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5 replies on “It was a good Dip – but a Dip nonetheless”

Steven: The brief brushing we encountered together made a lasting impression believe it or not. You have much talent, visionary dreams and a unique way of seeing the bigger picture. Im sorry timing got in my way of getting to know you better however I will not be surprised to see you on the ocver of Fast Company someday. This is See you around not farewell and I hope many things start coming your way cause we don’t want you being bored 🙂


Steven, if we had a shadow stock market that allowed folks to valuate individuals on their liklihood to affect our industry, you’d be a buy, even with this job change. Best of luck.



Its been a wild and crazy ride over the last few years. I admire your ethics and your style. I have also enjoyed working with you on the many documentation issues! I agree with Catherine that I fully expect to see you profiled as a person to watch! Best of luck in all you do.


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