2015

  • The app I help make at work grew pretty substantially (~20x). Feels like we’re making something people want.
  • I started leading the engineering team for that app, and struggled with managing my time for the first month or so. Eventually I arrived at this:
s/o to http://www.paulgraham.com/makersschedule.html
  • I studied a bunch of stuff along the lines of Rands, Peopleware, High Output, etc, and I achingly wish I had done that earlier. Manager or not, reading those should be tremendously helpful to anyone building products with other people.
  • We migrated the app from being 100% web views, to 80/20 web/native, to recently 20/80 web/native. I really doubt that transition would have been possible without React Native.
  • It really pains me that React Native wasn’t around for Propeller, we were asymptotically approaching it. It would shock me if someone didn’t build the products we tried but leveraging React Native to do it much faster.
  • Early in the year I hacked together an email authoring “framework” using Middleman and PhantomJS. Sending emails with a static site generator is a surprisingly undocumented technique — it’s a great authoring and debugging workflow. It did its job, but isn’t used anymore.
  • One exceptionally productive night in August, I converted our development environment to leverage Packer. Our original setup was just a Vagrantfile that internally invoked docker-compose, but the thing broke all the time because it pulled so many dependencies from every corner of the internet. So now the most common case setup is super quick and deterministic, in exchange for a longer sunk cost when we infrequently need to “bake” a fresh VM. Cache rules everything, right? (I really geek out over dev tools and performance stuff)
  • I get to work with wickedly smart, incredibly nice people every day. It’s a hike, but eventually I get there. And hey, I’m also much more productive on the way than 2014.

  • I shipped Tucci, which some people actually use to make reservations — more than zero! 30-day retention is around 20%, which is also higher than I expected. I’d call that “a tug” that it’s something people want.
Via Amplitude, which I should use more
  • I didn’t ship the other 27 things I had on my “2015 Projects” Asana list. Includes six fiction ideas (nada done), eight topics for tech writing (one written), and thirteen “products” (four shipped).
It wasn’t 27 the whole year

A bunch of fantastic personal stuff happened too — I got engaged, made new friends, started yoga, followed through on my gym membership, explored more of San Francisco (usually to try new food), traveled (also generally food-related).

I’m not always keen on writing about personal things, but you should check out our dog, who recently learned to fly on planes:


Some things went well, others not so much. Day-to-day it can feel like nothing gets done and no “needles” are getting moved, but in aggregate (if we cut ourselves some slack) it doesn’t look as bad as we think.