Leaving Google for ITHAKA: My Journey to Ann Arbor
Making the decision to change jobs isn’t easy especially when you’re considering leaving Google and a flat in London. Hard as it is though, I wanted to keep pushing the ideas that brought me there in the first place and the best way for me to do that was by joining ITHAKA .
I had come from a Museum and Library technology background before joining Google and while I was able to pursue those interests there, ITHAKA supports the sector as its core mission. It has built what have become essential largescale technologies for colleges, universities, and cultural organizations: JSTOR and Portico . More recently, Artstor has become part of this group. Because of its nonprofit status and established history, ITHAKA has unique access to content and relationships that give it the opportunity to build things no one else can. And the quality of the ITHAKA Engineering team was really impressive; demonstrating that they could deliver complex systems at scale and be agile enough to build novel features quickly.
Ann Arbor, home to most of ITHAKA’s technology team, was another big draw for me. My last two jobs were in New York and, for the last 5 years, London. I had the option of being based at the ITHAKA offices in New York but actively pursued the option of being in Ann Arbor. There’s a different sense of vitality in an university town than in big cities. Ann Arbor has a creative technology, engineering, and arts community, green spaces everywhere that don’t feel crowded, a 30 minute drive to the airport if you need to get away, and a costofliving that guarantees you won’t need 5 roommates to afford to live where you’d like.
I’ve only been settling into my new home of Ann Arbor for a few days but have already learned how to check out a canoe from one of the city liveries and walked a few blocks from the office to film festival screenings at two local theaters . The scale and scope of the work I’ll be doing look just as big and impactful up close as I had hoped. So far, there is something new and exciting everyday.
Piotr Adamczyk is Director of Image Content and Museum Partnerships at ITHAKA. He joined the organization in May 2016.