I’m leaving Accenture to join a startup

Yes, the rumors I started are true. January 13th is my last day. Keep reading and I’ll tell you where I’m going, how I found this opportunity, why I’m leaving Accenture and how I made my decision.

Where I’m going:

I am joining a privacy management software startup in midtown Atlanta named OneTrust. OneTrust is founded by an old friend from Boy Scouts/high school classmate. He was an early employee at AirWatch. He worked his way up the company, ran America’s consulting for them and eventually became Director of Product Management. Aka he’s the real deal Holyfield.

OneTrust is young, started in March, and already competitive. Their software helps companies “comply with data privacy regulations across sectors and jurisdictions, including the EU GDPR and Privacy Shield.” Basically, there’s a lot of regulations, particularly in the EU, about data you can collect on your customers and how you can use that data. If you don’t comply then the EU can fine you 4% of your global GDP. AKA there’s a real need with laws forcing companies get compliant quickly.

I join OneTrust as an Implementation Consultant. The team that gets clients setup and running on the software. Pure software implementation is a very different methodology than Accenture Service Management uses. ACN is all about big transformative, multi month/year projects that change the fundamentals of how IT operates. With a software company, you’re working multiple clients at once in a very condensed timeline, usually less than a month, so sales can sell more and you can get more clients up and running. It’s a different mentality that I’ll need to adjust to. And with them being so young it will require a whole lot more accountability and organization on my part which is something I’m excited for.

How I found this opportunity:

Remember Christmas break when I had lunch with a bunch of people? Well, this was one of them, kind of. I’ve been passively looking for a new job for a few months. Just like we all passively save houses in Zillow, adjust our filter criteria, figure out what I like and don’t like in a home. I was basically doing that but with jobs.

Over Thanksgiving break I cleaned up my resume and sent it out to three interesting startups: OneTrust, Kabbage and Supply.com. All were for business analyst roles which means something different at every organization. Kabbage said no thanks, Supply.com didn’t say anything and OneTrust stayed quiet. No real biggie since this was all passive. Come Christmas break I reached out to the founder of OneTrust via LinkedIn and expressed my interest again in the role and asked to meet for lunch. He asked me to come in the next day to talk.

I immediately knew this was going to be first-impression type interview. I traded my winter break sweats for khakis and my hoodie for a button-up and went to their office. After a quick office tour, our informal meeting turned into an interview. I learned more about the Implementation Consultant role and decided that was a better fit for me. I met the two other people on the implementation team and took a logic test. Before I walked out I had an offer in hand and a pep in my step.

Why I’m leaving Accenture:

Sorry this won’t be the “dump on Accenture” portion of this post. In general, I’ve been really happy there. Definitely some of the smartest people I’ve met. There’s a real culture of mentorship and guidance with the senior leaders. I made some really great friends from other cities that I invited to the our wedding.

Accenture is going through a transition period and so is my specific group. There’s an operating model transition and a rebranding of the specific work my group does. This shift in focus from my group and the operating model change gives me an opportunity to leave and see what life is like outside the big >. (<– that’s their logo.)

How I made my decision:

I truly think I made this decision years ago but never found the opportunity or felt I was ready until now. If you look back at my post from Jan 12 2015 ” Am I a startup guy?“, I already went through the decision-making process, weighed the pros and cons and did some deep soul-searching in 2014. 3 years later, a whole lot more work experience, a deeper understanding of who I am and what my goals are I get to answer the question my favorite way of figuring out a new challenge: just do it. Corny yes but that’s how I learn. I burn my hand on the stove and now know it’s hot.

I had a fantastic lunch Friday with a friend and talked about the opportunity and he helped me think it through getting me to 80% in. Our last dinner of the week was with one of Connie’s old friends, a former college football player. He’s a big fan of inspirational quotes and uses them at the most ridiculous times. His girlfriend at dinner didn’t want to try the broccoli and he kept repeating, “Don’t be afraid to be great”. Silly in terms of broccoli but a smack in the face when making a tough decision.

I knew the decision I wanted to make but fear was holding me back. Fear of making the wrong decision. Fear of being judged. Fear of letting my spouse and family down if this didn’t work out. But in the end, I couldn’t let fear determine my future. Connie is going to laugh at this part and our friend will probably give me a hard time but hey, this is the truth.

Having gone through the soul-searching and gut wrenching pros and cons part years ago, I just needed to take a leap. So that’s what I did. I got the offer on Thursday and by Monday I accepted it and turned in my notice.

So here we go! Longer hours, more work and crazier schedules but all for the better. If you’re going through a similar decision then talk to your network, pull out a pen and paper to write down your thoughts and don’t be afraid to be great.

18 comments Add yours
  1. You make me so proud Nik! The way you think and work; tells me you will be successful. Whether this startup or not. Besides, doing something you want to do gives you an automatic win!

  2. Accenture will miss you but selfishly I know you will keep in touch. Can’t wait to hear / read about the new adventure ahead. ? Congrats!

  3. FULLLAHHHH! My man, I am happy to see you are foregoing any traditional fears people usually have about making critical transitions, especially when it prohibits them from pursuing paths of interest. You are super intelligent and ambitious and I wish you the best of luck (I will be tuning in again for the next episode of Fuller House – see what I did there).

  4. You don’t know it, but “Young Nik” is my nickname (no pun, really!) for you. Though I wasn’t lucky enough to work with you directly, I always kept you in mind to join my team if the opportunity arose. That didn’t happen, but I know how great you are based on our interactions and the accolades from our colleagues.

    Good luck to you buddy – I know you will do well in whatever you tackle. Bee good and stay true to you and your beliefs. Oh, and I guess my wedding invite got lost in the mail ? kidding, of course. Congratulations to you and best wishes to Connie!

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