Stack Exchange CTO Jeff Atwood Chooses Life Over Work, Internet Applauds

Joel Spolsky: "We're really going to miss him."

Mr. Atwood

Yesterday, Stack Exchange CTO Jeff Atwood did the unthinkable, at least in Startupland where work is your life and companies are talked about and tended to with the same care as young children. On his blog Coding Horror, Mr. Atwood announced that effective March 1st, he would leave day-to-day operations of Stack Exchange, the beloved New York-based community-driven Q&A site for programmers, behind.

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But not for all the usual reasons like starting his own company, starting a VC fund, or untold riches in preferred Facebook stock. No, Mr. Atwood did for actual human young children. Earlier this month, his wife gave birth to twin girls whose Twitter handle (@theladybabies) is probably better than yours.

“Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange have been wildly successful,” Mr. Atwood wrote, “But I finally realized that success at the cost of my children is not success. It is failure.”

Reached by email, CEO Joel Spolsky, who co-created Stack Exchange, told Betabeat, “We’re really going to miss him. He did great work building a site that genuinely makes the Internet a better place to get expert answers. It grew from nothing to be in Quantcast’s top 150 US networks and every developer relies on it every day.”

The response to Mr. Atwood’s heart-felt confession, which referenced Steve Jobs death as a wake-up call to entrepreneurs, seems to have struck a cord with his fellow technophiles who shared their thanks for building Stack Exchange and the wisdom of his decision on Hacker News, their personal blogs, and, of course, Twitter:


Although @theladybabies have yet to weigh in on this development, we imagine their response is something like: “Yaaaaaaaaaay!” Well that or, “Feed Me.” Babies, man. Such a one-track mind.

Stack Exchange CTO Jeff Atwood Chooses Life Over Work, Internet Applauds