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One year ago today…

December 6, 2007 in Community News and Info by

…I was on a plane bound for Copenhagen, a city I’d never been to in order to start working with a bunch of people I’d never met (other than talking with David over the phone). I had left Adobe wanting to find something new, something that would be more promising in terms of real-time 3D and games was concerned, and I was hoping to find all that at OTEE (now known as Unity Technologies). It all began a few months before that flight in late August of 2006, I had already announced my pending departure from Adobe to the Director user community and was only a few days away from leaving Adobe for good.

I was sitting in my cube on the 1st floor of Adobe’s San Francisco office (formerly the Macromedia HQ office) and was staring at a pile of paperwork that I was going to take up to the human resources office. I was about to cross the line of no return, once that paperwork was submitted I would be finished as an Adobe employee as of Tuesday, September 6, 2006. I signed the last page and took a moment to carefully consider my decision, I was leaving a rather well paying job at a well established company offering great benefits, and for what? I was going to be unemployed with only a rough idea as to where I wanted to end up. All I knew was that if I took another job in software it would have to be in the 3D game space, otherwise I was a bit clueless as to what I’d do next. My father’s voice was in my head: “What are you doing son? Why would you leave a stable and paying job like that? You should stick it out until you know you have other options…” I too wondered about what I was doing, but then the memories of frustration and disappointment surrounding both Director and my particular job role took over and I again felt it was the right move despite my nervousness, I gathered my paperwork and readied myself for that HR meeting. Then the phone rang…

I looked down at the phone on my desk and noticed that the incoming call was from an international number, +45 something something. I had a spare minute and decided I should answer the call, the voice that greeted me was none other than David Helgason. We greeted each other and talked, he asked if I’d heard of Unity and whether I might be interested in joining the team. Of course I knew of Unity and landing at a company focused on real-time 3D (and games) was a key interest, but that moment and location was not right for the conversation. I gave David my mobile phone number and asked him to call me the following week when I was free and clear of my Adobe obligations. He agreed and we hung up after our short conversation. With an extra bounce in my step I hurried off to the HR office in order to turn in my paperwork. I floated through my last few days at Adobe, not really working so much as I was making the rounds to say goodbye to all of the close friends I’d made during my eight years at Macromedia/Adobe. Despite saying all those goodbyes I couldn’t help but look forward, thoughts of “what’s next?”, including working at OTEE, swam through my head.

I took three months off between jobs for some rest and relaxation, and to enjoy time in Portugal and Spain with my girlfriend. During that time I emailed and spoke with David a number of times. Despite thinking I wanted a long break between jobs I was sufficiently excited about joining OTEE and after sorting some details with David I booked a flight to Copenhagen in early December. The decision was made, I was going to join the OTEE/Unity team and couldn’t wait to get started!

It’s now been a year since that flight and I’ve met some great people and have begun a new job and a new era of my life. I’ve managed to find a great new job and make some great new friends, both in terms of my coworkers and the (mostly) new developer community I now serve. I’m thrilled and excited about the future that lies ahead for both myself and for Unity Technologies. And so on this day I would like to offer my sincere thanks and the utmost gratitude to David, Nicholas and Joachim for deciding that I was worthy of joining the team. I would also like to offer my sincere thanks to Marty Plumbo, he’s a long-time Unity user as well as a long-time Director user, he was a key player in helping connect me with the crew behind Unity and without him I’m not sure I’d be where I am today.

So guys, thanks from the bottom of my heart. Thanks to everyone for making this possible and of course for making Unity such a kick ass product. I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for all of us!

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11 Dec 2007, 7:39 pm

This entry was very entertaining and encouraging to read. I stumbled upon you and your work history while researching 3D Director integration into web development. I hope to find out what Unity is working on and it would be nice if you provided some links to their products. Will Unity be making a web3D application? Just curious.

12 Dec 2007, 11:29 pm

From a user’s perspective, it’s been a great year, Tom! Very glad you joined UT. Hopefully this year you won’t get food poisoning. :)

4 Jan 2008, 4:55 am

@Yoshi: sorry for the slow reply… Unity already allows you to make interactive 3D content for the web, but Unity itself isn’t likely to be a web application. If I’ve misunderstood you then feel free to offer some course correction, thanks.

@Jon: so far no food poisoning. But man, if anyone in Copenhagen ever asks me to go to the Atlas Cafe again I might get sick right there on the spot!

18 Feb 2008, 11:08 pm

Tom
Unity is changing a lot of people’s lives. Maybe I’m being romantic, but you are part of a great movement.
Anyways, keep up the good work, have fun at GDC, and hope this is only the 1st (year) of many!
Cheers!

18 Feb 2008, 11:22 pm

Thanks Sivan! This is an exciting time/place and it’s only going to get better! Unity FTW!

1 Dec 2008, 8:12 pm

Well we all know what is happening with director, so you certainly did the right thing Tom.
Unity allready offers so much possibilities and the sky is the limit. If unity3d continues to grow like it does both in terms of user base and technoloical features, then I can only dream of what possibilities future will bring.

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