Saying Goodbye

It is part of the zeitgeist that you will change roles and companies. Product Management and your marketing sense will guide you in how to make those goodbyes as memorable as possible

Saying Goodbye

A recent round of staff reductions at work has led to the expected “goodbye” emails, where departing colleagues send notes of their departure, some memories, and contact information.

Alas, the ones I have recently seen were somewhat, uh, pedestrian, and uninspired. I wistfully remember the art and creativity that people used to put into it. This is your chance to make a final impression, to let all your remaining colleagues, know your contact information (if so desired), and to reflect on your time there.

Below, is the one I sent when I left a job after six and a half years. I got literally dozens of appreciative replies, and remain friends with many of those I sent this to. It is long, so get a fresh cuppa…

Without further ado, here is the message I sent:

Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 8:05 AM
To: Geoffrey Anderson
Subject: So long and thanks for all the fish


It has been a wild and wacky ride the last 6.5 years. Too many memories, and people to go through the entire list, but I will try to not miss anything major.

As you are no doubt aware, I have decided to leave Veeco, and pursue another career path. I will be joining Open Text, a leader in Enterprise Content Management as the Senior Product Line Manager for the RightFax product line. I have been doing some homework and it is truly a fascinating industry, and quite different from instrumentation. I am looking forward to the change in scenery and the new challenges that it will offer.

So for the upfront crowd, here is my contact information:

(clipped out)

I am also on LinkedIn, and Facebook for those who are into the social networking game.

I would welcome any and all contact from my friends and colleagues. I have greatly enjoyed my interaction with you all over the years, and nothing would make me happier than to continue those friendships.

Memories of note, and there are many:

My first day, grabbing a flight to Singapore to participate in the APAC sales training. I should have known that would be a harbinger of the level of travel that I would need to do. (My wife still hasn’t forgiven me for moving her to Tucson, then deserting her for a week in temporary housing).

Sales training in 2004 in Europe. A free day to knock around Paris with Chip Ragan and Natalie Badolato (ah, the memories of Paris!). The cart racing, and winning second place (curse Chip Ragan and his racing experience). I still get people who remember the memory sticks we handed out for good questions during that session (64meg too, so luxurious in space!)

Market survey work with the Nanobio team, working on the nanomaterials characterization. Meeting with Dow and others. Boy that was a hard few weeks, but it was enjoyable.

Working for a time in a cross division product management group. David Rossi as the boss, and did we have some fun times. Good hard work, but a very rewarding period of time.

NT9000 product releases. We finally worked out the legacy issues, and had a structured product platform.

SP9900 – Market validation. A rugged 3 months of travel (ask Akimoto-san, AKA Sherpa-san) about travel in Japan in February. Who knew Japan got so cold? Great product, too bad it came online just as the global market for semiconductors caught pneumonia. All the visits and furious meetings with ASE Global, PPT, Nanya, and Ibiden. Nothing like being kept in the smoking trailer at Ibiden…

Dektak and Ulvac. Need I say more? Mike Saba was astounded by how a few minor actions could fill a whole day of meetings. How naive he was then.

Way more tradeshows than I can recall. I do (and did) enjoy the interaction at the tradeshows, and I went to a pretty hefty number for a mere product manager. Hard to beat the number of customers and potential customers you can press the flesh with. MRS every year was a high point. SPIE Photonics west. Semicon Japan. SID, ASPE, and the ASME coupled with the R&D Expo’s were some of my favorites. I was fortunate enough to interact with many of you at or around those shows. Veeco does a great job at shows, and I was (and still am) proud to have been part of those efforts.

Hanging out at the Nihon Veeco office area. Shimbashi has plenty to do when you are there over a weekend. Although, I think I have been to the imperial palace enough times. However a day trip to the Hakone hot springs is a pleasant diversion from the hustle around downtown Tokyo. I recall walking in to the “red light” district of Shinjuku. A very different side of Tokyo!

Advice: Never hang out with Freek Pasop in his home town when there is World Cup football qualification matches on. I think we went to 10 different bars, and ate not a bite of food (it was TOUGH to get on the plane the next morning!!!) Too many good Dutch beers + no food = bad time. I figured when I was arguing immigration policy with some ambassador’s staff member (around 2:00 AM), it was time to GO BACK TO THE HOTEL. To Freek’s credit, he did pick me up and get me to the airport on time.

Driving through Germany with Achim Weinbach. 220km hour then crazy braking. Even as an old motorcycle rider, it was tough with him on the road! Although, we did drive through Germany, and into Switzerland to meet with Alcan, and a quick calculation showed that even driving as he did, we were averaging ~ 45 miles per gallon (converted litres to gallons and km’s to miles). We need cars like that in the US!

Emmanuel Paris, and a 3 hour lunch. Most enjoyable! I will remember that until the last breath I take, an afternoon truly well spent.

Tim Ballinger – grabbing a bite to eat at a train station in Belgium, and his briefcase being stolen (it had his 1 week old computer, his Passport, his cellphone, and a lot of other important documentation. ) Fortunately, he was able to get a new passport the next day in Frankfurt. Tim will always be known as “the sorcerer called “TIM””. I will still be “Neo”

Jim Flach – Always had the wildest fashion. Although, he seems to have mellowed, I still remember the wild pants and shirt combinations

Visiting Ulvac in Chigasaki. Staying at the (luxurious) Dai-ichi inn Shonan (at the Tsujido exit on the Tokaido line). It was a short walk to a beautiful black sand beach.

A quick trip from Taiwan to Korea to visit SEMCO (SP prospect) with Jeannine Sargent and John Bulman. It was Semicon Korea week, and I was forced to stay in the Hyatt Park hotel. Probably the nicest room I ever stayed in (and ever will!) That was a fun week. Wrong clothes too.

Teambuilding event in Tucson – Cart racing (again?!?) this time in conjunction with the 2006 Strategic Thinking exercise. Nothing like beating Joe Glancy in the final race. I still smile thinking about that day.

Playing guitar with Joe Sanguedolce in the Intuit half of the building. I am really going to miss that!

March 10 2009, my 6th anniversary. Where am I? Singapore for sales training – Déjà vu.

Running in the morning wherever I am traveling. It has become almost a religion to me, and I think that I have done some memorable runs:

  • Paris -Running to the Eiffel Tower, through the Arc de Triomphe and back to our hotel (2004 sales training.)

Seoul – Running around the 440m track in Seoul (where the summer Olympics were held)

Manila -A very nervous run in Manila. I got tripped up by some rebar in a bad patch of concrete, and bloodied myself good (my only mishap, quite lucky).

Beijing – seeing the street sweepers (not vehicles, but people apparently paid to sweep up the streets) in the morning.

Amsterdam – A beautiful and very fun city, but in the morning, before the cleaning begins, you get to dodge a fair amount of trash and vomit

Tokyo – A loop around the imperial palace. Very safe and pleasant.

Kyoto – Dodging snowflakes, and I am still not sure how I found my way back to the hotel. Blind luck!

Singapore – I usually use tall buildings for landmarks. A very BAD idea in Singapore. I got good and lost the first run there. From the Marriot on Orchard.

Mannheim – through the main down town, turn right, and follow the loop. There is a cocoa processing plant that smells like HEAVEN when you run by at 5:00 AM. Blissful.

All this reflection has made me somewhat teary-eyed. Some great times. MANY great people, and even more memories. Thanks for the ride!

I do hope that you all keep in contact with me in the future. If you find your way to Tucson, give me a call and we can meet for a drink or three.



Some helpful hints:

  • Don’t blast it to a huge distribution list. Curate and send it to those whom you want to keep connected with, or who touched you.
  • For the love of God, use the BCC: for the recipients. If your going away message fires off an email storm, you will be cursed.
  • Keep it personal. Mention influential people directly.
  • Have some fun. Unless the place was a disaster, focus on the positives. Trust me, to this day, almost 10 years later, when I cross paths with people who received this message, we have fond memories.

Final note:

Only one of the recipients “got” the reference in the subject line. That made me very sad.

Wang Xi