Ex-Silicon Valley tech talent in Europe – Jordan Harp

NOV 04, 2018

Jordan Harp, Pusher

Jordan was born in Boulder, Colorado, moved to California in 2001 and graduated from UCLA. In 2008, his passion for software and technology was ignited by working for the Obama presidential campaign, as an intern for the Office of New Media in the Obama White House. 

From there, Jordan joined Facebook in 2011 to learn about platform building.

He moved to London to join Balderton portfolio company Pusher in  2016.

Why did you move to Europe from the United States? 

I was interested in joining a startup with a global mission and London tech companies tend to build global-first. I admired Stripe and Twilio, and wanted to join an API company that provides core infrastructure for modern apps. I was also interested in technology markets outside of the United States who wouldn’t look at the world with an American-centric view. When I read that Pusher was profitable having only raised a seed round, I got the sense that they were the “adults in the room” building an actual business, which was a distinct departure from many hype-driven startups I had seen working in the Valley.

How long did it take to make the move happen?

It was relatively decisive once I had the offer. I had been considering the move for about six months before Pusher sponsored me. I benefited from the UK’s shortage of experienced tech product managers. The whole move itself took about three and a half months. 

Do you think your US tech experience has given you an ‘edge’ in your tech career in Europe?

I knew that I wanted to join a company with a strong product and engineering culture that just needed to get to its commercial growth stage and I found this at Pusher. Having observed how high growth teams work at Facebook in the early days, I've sought to apply what I've learned about launching products at scale.  However, at Pusher, our business context as a SaaS company for developers is unique, so we need to make our own path.

While my experience of working in fast-growth teams at Facebook has been valuable, the culture at Pusher draws from the 14 nationalities of people who work here and the many perspectives that can bring; being American makes me just one more nationality on the list.

What has worked out better for you in your move to Europe than you expected?

As much as I enjoy thinking about the future of technology and working with engineers to build it, tech is only part of my life. Living in London gives me access to culture, people, food, art, travel, music and so much more, which is totally different than anywhere I could live in the US. I feel fulfilled because I can have a work-life balance here. Whereas in the Valley I often felt that tech workers are creating a monoculture which is erasing the decades and centuries of culture in the Bay Area that came before the tech boom.

What was the hardest thing about settling in Europe for you? 

My family are in a time zone eight hours away, and travelling is difficult for them. Moving to London was something I had to do on my own, but it comes with tradeoffs. I was also lucky to work on a number of teams at previous which grew to be like family. When I moved across an ocean, it has become much harder to stay connected to these people. 

What has not worked out as well as you would have liked?

I moved to London in March 2016, having spent eight years in various roles that were connected to Democratic politics. I had decided I was ready for something not related to politics. When Trump was elected, I was as stunned as most people were, and because I was so far away, I felt powerless to do anything about it. However, since 2017 I found a way to volunteer some digital consulting during evenings from my couch for a progressive friend who was running for Congress in Texas.

What advice would you give someone considering making the same move to Europe?

Living in a new place, whether it’s in your birth country or outside, is an opportunity to expand your mind. But you need to be open to learning new ideas and ways of doing things in order to get the most out of it.

 

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