Ryan's Blog

Like Twitter, but longer


Leaving the BBC

It's three weeks since I was made redundant by the BBC. I've received my payoff, the thing I was building for the last twelve months has launched, I'm safely ensconced in my new job. It feels like the right time to talk about it. I didn't want to leave. I loved the BBC, believed in what we were building, didn't think I'd achieved all that I was able to. But strategy, cost savings, and the Future Media (FM) division didn't care about that. I'm only slightly annoyed about it. I think actually I'm saddened rather than angry. You can't build a team around an individual (well, actually I reckon you can), and I was in reality the individual in Belfast. We were a small team, always struggling to get support, and in the end our size killed us. As I understand it, my boss was told to close three bases (our team was based in five cities). I'd much rather his boss had taken action a few years ago and ensured that no product team had to be based in more than two locations. But the problem was ignored and in the end we were surplus to requirements. So Future Media has no presence in Northern Ireland. What does that mean though? Well, developers in the province can't aspire to work on iPlayer and also live in Belfast; it's less likely that any software companies will win contracts to deliver something to BBC online (not impossible though); Editorial people have lost a technical insight and information channel (making it harder for them to do their jobs); there's a risk that the BBC Online products will fail to appropriately serve the Northern Irish audience; and BBC Northern Ireland is diminished in ability, diversity and technical ability. I'm really disappointed, not because I lost my job, but because I think an FM team in Belfast is important, and I don't think it will be easy to get it back.