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2016 in review

Welcome to the 2016 “bullets” post (previous years).

The phrase I used in visioning for this year  was “to rest in my own power.”

WTF does that mean?

Besides (imo) sounding very cool, I consider resting in my own power to be recognizing myself for my accomplishments, but also for my inherent worth and value. I have a note next to my mirror that says “Treating yourself as a precious object makes you strong” (quote from Julia Cameron).

What that ended up manifesting as was quitting … quite a few things (which was actually a goal in last year’s bullets post! go me (?)!). These things weren’t in my bullets.txt file, so I’m going from memory …

Things I quit (or otherwise ended) in 2016

  • Comcast (jobby job)
  • Hacktory board membership (my two-year term finished)
  • Organizing the JS meetup (now handled by an excellent team)
  • Organizing LibertyJS (in capable hands)
  • Turing-Incomplete (we’ve stopped recording)
  • JavaScript Air (podcast folded)
  • Weekly blogging (aiming for 1+ monthly now)
  • Speaking at conferences so much (3 in 2016, ~6 in 2015). I do sometimes speak at smaller events, but I now prioritize being able to go home at night a lot more.

I thought I was clearing space for other things but I really haven’t filled it with professional things – I spend it going to my dance studio more often, cycling, socializing, traveling, making music (sometimes), reading (voraciously).

Speaking of travel, in 2016 I went to:

  • Argentina (Buenos Aires, Calafate)
  • Uruguay (Montevideo, Colonia)
  • Kentucky
  • DC
  • NYC (a lot)
  • the beach
  • Montreal
  • France (amazing road-trip in an ugly yellow car)
  • Edinburgh
  • London

I am going to attempt to travel a little less in 2017, but since I have 3 flights the first two months of the year, I think I’m going to fail at that. Instead, I’m going to ponder taking shorter trips, or dragging local friends too, because when you spend over two months of the year away from home, it puts a dent in your local relationships. Nothing too terrible or irrecoverable, something I’m thinking about.


Here are a few things from the bullets.txt list

  • Hacked/compromised a cybersecurity challenge while still at Comcast which 1) never got a prize for [yes it was against the rules to cheat but c’mon] 2) I’m really fairly proud of, bc other people were also obviously cheating but I cheated betterer
  • Nominated for Technologist of the Year
  • Organized an AMAZING robot battle fundraiser with the Hacktory board (join or make a one-time donation to support their doings!)
  • Wrote (with a co-author) and taught a new Node curriculum for GDI
  • I’m now a Google Developer Expert
  • Organized Hour of Code with a local elementary school for the second year (and got some press, if you are interested in doing such a thing, I would be happy to answer questions/form an FAQ!)

Other happenings

After a short stint doing contracts/consulting, I started a new gig working at IOpipe. I can talk about AWS Lambda at length (and working on Google Cloud Functions) if you are interested in such things. We work completely distributed and I get to use fun tech every day working on interesting problems (detective work on AWS, GraphQL, React, maintaining open-source libraries), from anywhere in the world.

Two of my bestest friends moved to San Francisco (in separate occurrences), which is awful and continues to justify my disdain for San Francisco.

Summing up

In general, this has been a really busy [edit: guh! I hate that word. Let’s say it was … eventful?] year. The trips to Argentina and France are highlights (but also Montreal and London and … ok I do like traveling). Quitting is always a rush, and in general, I suppose this feels like a year of change for me, and I feel like I’ve noticed that it’s true of many others I know.

Lately, I’m trying to think about how to do more long-term planning, ex. what a “five year plan” would look like. Whenever I’ve been asked it in a professional context, I usually make something up so that the person asking the question stops asking or respond whatever the “right” answer is for a context. And when I’ve done career books or coaching, in the long run, I’ve noticed that I was terribly wrong about what I wanted to do (university counselor, I’m thinking of you).

When I want to do something (do a long bike ride, write a book, fly South for the winter) I tend to just … do it … so I find long-term planning challenging. If you have any resources for such a thing, please let me know!

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