On MouseOut…

In an amusing twist of irony, my nameplate (pictured above) arrived last week, 4.5 years after I first ordered it.It is with both sadness and anticipation that I announce my departure from The Walt Disney Internet Group after four and a half years of employment. It’s been a great half-decade here and I can’t thank The Walt Disney Company enough for giving me the opportunity to work on such high-profile projects with such high-caliber people. In my time here, I’ve helped lead the standards-based redesigns of ESPN.com, ABCNews.com, and many other Disney-owned properties, as well as play a hands-on role in the design and development of all-new technologies like ESPN Motion, and countless unannounced products still in the pipeline. I owe all pride from working on said projects to the incredible teams of people across the company in Seattle, North Hollywood, New York, Connecticut, Orlando, England, and Japan who continue to make it all possible.

That said, I’m moving on.

So why would someone give up a six-figure job that they love, working for a company that they love, in a city that they love?

Two words: Opportunity Cost.

There’s something big I want to build, and now is the time to build it. I’m not going to say any more because I’m leery of getting caught in the hype machine, but you can expect a launch later this year. Watch this space for details as they become available.

As for blogging on Mike Industries, it’ll be business as usual for now. The iPod contests will continue (of course!), and my posting frequency should remain steady at several posts per month. Additionally, if I’ve turned you down for an interview or speaking engagement in the past, feel free to ask again as I no longer have a PR department to deal with. Disney’s policy required me to refuse almost all such requests in the past, so it’s nice not to have that restriction anymore.

And so with that, I begin anew on something I’m very excited about. If all goes well, it’ll grow like a Vine.

MouseOver. MouseOut.

Like this entry? You can follow me on Twitter here, subscribe via email here, or get the RSS feed if that's how you roll.

90 Responses:

  1. jarv says:

    well – good luck with your new project. ;]

  2. paul says:

    Best of luck. I can’t wait to see what the project is.

    That nameplate timing is just freaky.

  3. Jack says:

    Surely you can still keep the name plate! ;)

  4. Mike D. says:

    Yeah, how weird is that? For most of my time at Disney, I’m pretty sure I was the only person without a nameplate. It became a source of pride after awhile. And yes, I kept the thing. Need to figure out where to stick it now.

  5. Exciting news! I’m sure there are a lot of people who will be glad to hear you might be available to do talks, myself included. Best of luck!

  6. Adam says:

    Good for you – best of luck!
    Now to change to the “About this site” page.

    So does this mean you are leaving Seattle?

  7. Tom says:

    OnMouseOut – I like what you did with that

  8. Sounds exciting.. Can’t wait to see what the big project you have will be.

    Good luck!

  9. John says:

    All the best with the change and the new big project

  10. Jonathan Snook says:

    Congrats and all the best. Looking forward to what you have in store!

  11. ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod…. MIKE IS BUILDING SOMETHING….!!! *passes out*

  12. Takes courage taking that step though. Good luck with whatever you’re plotting right now and I am looking forward reading more about it.

    I like your screen, btw. Rawr ;-)

  13. Chris says:

    Does it have anything to do with the domain you bought last month????

  14. Gordon says:

    Best of luck with the new venture – cue loads of guesses … Vine? Wine Yard? Organic growth… or is that a red herring?

  15. Thomas says:

    Wow! What a shock to read this prior to my first sip of coffee!! During your tenure at ESPN, you’ve made this Sports/MacAddict very grateful for you (and your teams) work on Motion.

    Like the others, I’ll be looking forward to seeing the new project – while also wondering if it deals with the domain you recently purchased. And are you looking for resumés? ;) Good luck – and congratulations – on the new venture and continued success!

  16. All the best of luck with the new project, I can’t wait to hear more about it.

  17. Good luck with the new direction. And honestly, people don’t use the words Opportunity Cost enough.

  18. Congratulations! Best of Luck and all that! It should be interesting to see what you have in mind.

  19. Dan says:

    Good luck and I hope your new project has something to do with your special domain name that we still don’t know the name of.

  20. Good luck in all you do!

  21. Mike-

    All of us standards-oriented designed owe you a debt off gratitude fro the work you did at WDIG. So, thanks for that, and good luck in the future. As everyone is, I’m anxious to see what you have up your sleeve. :)

  22. Very creative post title. :)

    As someone who enjoys reading your posts, but also has enjoyed the fruits of your labors at Disney, I’d like to wish you good luck. Now you have me all curious as to what the new big thing is!

    The nameplate thing is a little spooky. But that’s how it is, once you become too comfortable in a job, it’s time to move on!

  23. Mike says:

    Wow, all the best homie. BTW – this post should win “best title of the year” or something at next year’s SXSW fest hands down!

  24. Congrats on escaping the Disney machine. Lemme know if you want any help coding.

  25. Abel Rios says:

    It’s crazy how many lately are jumping at the opportunity to do their own thing. Good luck man, wish you all the best. Can’t wait to see what’s in the works. :)

  26. Guido says:

    Is it ironic that i’m listing to AC/DC’s Big Balls when I read this entry? .. That’s what it takes to make this type of move, although I’m sure you wouldn’t have any trouble finding a job.

    Good luck and I can’t wait to see what the “big” thing is ….

  27. Good luck with your project! Whatever it is, im excited already. haha. By the way, I love your work that you have done with Disney. It all is top of the line.

  28. Neil says:

    It take a brave man to walk away like that. Good Luck.

  29. J.D. says:

    Best of luck Mike. Look forward to your surprise launch.

  30. Congrats, man. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  31. Andy Budd says:

    Good luck Mike. I’m truly looking forward to seeing what somebody of our obvious talents comes up with.

  32. Brian Mezger says:

    Best of luck to you Mike! I’ve enjoyed your site for quite a while.

  33. B. Adam says:

    All the best, Mike. The corporate world can never hold a good man down for long.

  34. Good luck with your new business.

  35. Johan says:

    Best of luck Mike — no money in the world can replace self respect. May the onRelease() event be with you… :)

  36. Peter Goodman says:

    Good Luck buddy !!

  37. John Schroedl says:

    “It became a source of pride after awhile. And yes, I kept the thing. Need to figure out where to stick it now.”

    …sounds like an iPod contest to me!

    John

  38. Jason says:

    Good luck Mike on the project! You going to be hanging around at Gnomedex since your schedule’s been altered a little?

  39. Mike D. says:

    Jason: I’d love to go to Gnomedex but it appears to be sold out. Anybody have a pass they can score me?

  40. It’s interesting to see the high-profile designers/developers split off to do their own thing. There’s David Shea’s consultancy project, Happy Cog, Bright Corner, The Cuban Council, Coudal Partners, and countless others. I’m actually excited and happy about that! This gives the best minds in the biz a free range to explore and see what the Web can really bring people. I have a seperate folder in Safari that has my favorite/best Web/Graphic Firms out there, so I can check to see what they are up to. In my opinion, they do the best and most inspiring work.

    Now with that said, I’m extremely happy to see what you, Mike, have in store! I really hope you come out with a smashing firm that will rock the industry. I hope to see you alongside at least two other big names in the biz, a backend wizard, a Flash wizard, a 19 or 20 year old kid with extreme potential under your wing, and a mascot we all love and adore in this firm. With those pieces in place, there’s no stopping what your firm could accomplish!

    (On a side note: I bet Mike, Shaun Inman, and Cameron Moll come out with their own firm and rock our socks.)

    On that note… do you think I could pay you money (not you pay me) to come work under you? I think that would be better than any class I’m taking right now! I think I might fit that 20-year-old spot :).

    Best of luck in the future, Mike!

  41. Uh, wow. I can’t wait to see what you’re building. Congrats on making the move.

  42. Eric says:

    Good luck with your new projects, and thanks for redoing those sites! ABCNews.com is now a regular visit, especially since it’s so great to look at (that, and the growing M$ stuff associated with NBC News actually got me to watch ABC’s stuff on TV regularly).

    If only you got to the Disney-owned local stations (WABC, KABC, WLS, WPVI, KGO, etc.) and gotten them sites Macheads would love…

  43. a.d says:

    Don’t you feel that since your nameplate arrived just a week before your resignation, that maybe the stars had you destined to remain with Disney?
    lol… just a little bit of superstition for you :-)

  44. Malarkey says:

    Good luck big guy

  45. Dave says:

    Good luck Mike, hope the future is as good as the past

  46. Good luck, Mike! I look forward to the Mystery Project, and while it sounds like captivity was great, I’m still glad to hear you’ve escaped the clutches of the evil Mouse.

  47. Glad to hear that you’re moving on and to entrepreneurship no doubt. If you ever need help with business plans, stuff like that – I’ll be glad to put my 2 cents in and actually put my degree to use.

    Good luck with your venture.

  48. I’ve got it…

    You’re going to live in a tree and learn how to play the flute. Am I right? Huh? Am I?

  49. There’s really nothing more to say that hasn’t been already, but I’ll just say Good Luck again. Looking forward to see the next big thing you’ve got planned.

  50. Niky says:

    Good luck on your new project, and, if I can speak for most (if not all) of us, we’re excited to see what type of masterpiece you’re building.

  51. Andrew K says:

    <comic-book-guy>Best. Title. Ever.</comic-book-guy>

  52. Jesus says:

    The best of the best in your new projects!!

  53. Contrats on making the move. It is great to see that you are taking your passion for creating a better WWW to the next level. Create something the market needs and we will come…in droves.

  54. Alex says:

    Congrats on your move!

    BTW, is your job open at Disney? Who can I call? :>

  55. Ria says:

    *applause*

    Congratulations on your new journey! Choosing to break out on your own is a brave move. I hope your new project will bring you great successes and advancement of knowledge.

    I look forward to seeing what the future holds for you and what you will be unveiling.

    Renmeleon :)

  56. Wow Mike. Wow. Excitement and intrigue. I love it. ;)

    I’m headed to MM offices in SFO tomorrow … I wish you were just a little closer, it’s rare I get to the left coast and I’d love to meet you finally. Ah well…

    The best of luck to you… let me know if ever I can help in any way. You rock… even without a mouse. ;)

  57. Dan says:

    Mike — I have to say that I wish you the best in your endeavours and I look forward to seeing what you’re going to be putting together. Good luck and God speed!

    -dan-

  58. As we are reborn lifetime after lifetime, It is not until we are willing face the reality of life that we are able to evolve. If you are able to grow your own fruit you can feed your own family. If you can not grow your own you are forced to steal from others. Learn this. To be happy you must be able to to fall from the tree and grow a new; or else you will just rot and die. Plant. Grow. Evolve. Inspire. And don’t be forced to steal for a living.

    From crazy but true and happy enough to pass it on to you.

    (Editor’s Note: Great stuff. Many thanks…)

  59. I wish you the best with the new project and we all will wait to see what is about :).

  60. Kevin says:

    Good luck, Mike.

    “ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod…. MIKE IS BUILDING SOMETHING….!!! *passes out*”

    Let’s see if “Stan” will register “MikeDRumors.com” or “Think-Mike.com”. :-D

  61. Best of luck, mate! I love your work, and I hope that what you’re coming out with is great and works out for you.

    Cheers!

  62. Just stay away from the bon-bons and Dr. Phil in the afternoon and you’ll be fine. ;)

  63. For some reason, I’ve kept every name plate I’ve ever had from previous jobs. Who knows why, it’s not like I need them. But to be fair, the one I received from the failed startup I worked for is all metal with a nice plastic frame and looks pretty spiffy. That one hangs on the outside of my cubicle to this day.

  64. Creford says:

    Congrats on the new project and good luck!
    I hope it’s going well. :-)

  65. Mark says:

    My Mike Industries Moment:
    About a year ago, I was working at one of the major sports leagues, working on a redesign. We were talking about the ESPN redesign, and discussing Flash and whatnot, when I mentioned I read the blog of ‘this smart guy who worked on the ESPN redesign’ and started talking about sIFR. The Director, Mark H., an old ESPN employee, asked me to send it to him. It turned out he knew you pretty well, and thought it was great how big your audience was, and that the entire Creative Team were regular readers of the site.

    Good luck with the new project, we are holding our collective breath…

  66. It’s already been said but, very clever title name =)

    Congrads on the move, I’m excited to see what you come up with!

    You’re still going to remain a fellow Seattlite, right?

    (Editor’s Note: Yep… definitely staying in Seattle. Thx.)

  67. Tatiana Castro says:

    YOU DON`T KNOW ME AND I SURE DON`T KNOW YOU. IT IS A CASUALTY CAUSE I OPENNED YOUR PAGE SEARCHING FOR IDEAS FOR MY OWN WEBPAGE. I DO HAVE MY OWN BUSSINESS AND THAT`S WHY I CONGRATULATE YOU FOR FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS. GOOD LUCK IN THIS NEW ROAD YOU`RE TAKING.
    ANY SUJESTIONS FOR MY PAGE, EVEN THOUGH YOU MIGHT NOT SEE THIS MESSAGE EVER, THEY`RE WELCOME.
    http://www.tatianacastroestetica.com

  68. Duane says:

    Good luck to you Mike. Im sure whatever you are launching
    will be great.

  69. Keith H. says:

    Best of luck Mike! I am sure the decision was not easy, but I have no doubt that your future endeavours will be a great success.

  70. AkaXakA says:

    Good luck! Having a mint?

  71. Zach Anderson says:

    I can’t believe noone is going with the obvious here for the new project.

    Connections at ESPN…
    The recent explosion of table games like poker…

    Start practicing guys, the Professional Saltine Challenge League has found it’s man.

    Who wouldn’t want a piece of this opportunity?

    Good luck with it and I hope I’m not ruining the suprise.

  72. digx says:

    /me patents the idea.

    :P

    Good luck to you Mike. Can’t wait to see what it is and I’m sure it’ll succeed. :)

  73. Mike P. says:

    Hey there Mike!! Wow, huge news, best of luck to ya and like many, I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve got in the pipeline. Geez, maybe you could take a vacation out my way for some IKN pool pointers??

  74. Long time follower, first time commenter.

    Best wishes for every success! When you get dejected, as sometimes happens, come back to this page and see how many are cheering for you.

  75. Wow, congratulations, Mike. Sounds like you’re set to make a big splash, and I’m sure everything will work out well for you.

    All the best!!
    Derek.

  76. Ali says:

    Hi Dear.You are great ,It’s not important where U work.
    Continue your Progress ;)

  77. Dean says:

    The March to Your Own Standard discussion was going great. Why did you shut it off? I think you make a valid and worthy point. I’m sorry the conversation was terminated. In other words, I agree with you.

    (Editor’s Note: Ha. Commenting was turned off because one individual was accounting for 90% of the words in that conversation thread, thus drowning out the point of the article, the ensuing conversation, and the voice of reason in general. I could probably turn it back on now those I suppose. :) )

  78. I’d love to go to Gnomedex but it appears to be sold out. Anybody have a pass they can score me?

    Don’t worry, I don’t think you missed much. I just saw today that MS announced they will be embracing RSS with their new operating system and browser. Oh and guess what? There is even a screensaver where you can watch your RSS feeds. Unbelievable.

    Good luck to you and congratulations on moving on. May you find fulfillment in whatever you do.

  79. It’s all already been said but all the very best with your new venture, I am sure it will be something we all want to get our hands on!

  80. Awesome Mike, I’m about to join this club today. :eek:

    Looking forward to the Vine thing :)

  81. Oooh, sounds promising, Mike building something big!

    All the best with your endeavours, I’m sure you’ll blow us all away with your ideas once they come to fruition!

    Now add a label around your “Notify me via…” text already! ;)

  82. Dustin says:

    For the rest of us chickens. We’ll just stick with our six figure job for peace of mind.

  83. Matt J. says:

    This must have something to do with that unknown domain you fought tooth and nail for, huh?

    Good luck to you!

  84. Yo Mike. Well unless you are going to make millions, go ahead and do a monkship for a year, because you will be all the wiser for it and much healthier than sitting in your chair for 6 months. Our true soul is what we stare at in the mirror every day, not what the LCD says to us throughout the day… smart money says invest in the former :)

    Now if it is millions than sacrifice the holy living shit out of yourself for the greater good :)

  85. Paul Brettle says:

    Whatever your future endeavours/direction I would simply like to say thanks for what I have learned about the possibilities of web design, simply from looking at your website over the last hour or so.

    Based on that evidence alone, I’m sure your plans will bear fruit and then some!

    Godspeed.

  86. Ben says:

    My guess would be “Grapevine” …

  87. Congratulations, Mike. I hope it all works out well for you (as I’m sure it will).

  88. Jeff B says:

    Glad to hear you’re launching out on something new. I would have figured SeasonTicket.com would have soured you on that.

    Watch your burn rate.

  89. Mike D. says:

    Jeff B: Are you kidding me? Seasonticket.com was a great experience. Everybody on the product side did exactly what they were supposed to do. We got a lucrative buyout bid from Disney in the summer of 2000 that would have made everyone quite well-off… our only problem was an overzealous VC partner who decided to reject the deal.

  90. New MicroISV, I Think

    It sounds like Mike is starting up his own biz after 4 years at Disney Interactive. He’s a super talented guy so I’m sure whatever he’s building is very cool. That’s a space to keep an eye on.

    Also he gives away iPod Shuffles which is another reason…

Shared
Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away:

A great essay about how toxic everyday distractions can be.

Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.