Spent New Year’s in NYC, but avoided the crowds by watching fireworks from a few blocks away

New Year, New Blog

2017 is a brand new year that has ushered in a number of exciting changes for me: the end of formalized education (at least for the foreseeable future), a new job, a new city, and this very blog!

This isn’t the first time I’m starting a blog. In fact, in looking back at my very first blog post, I realized that my inaugural post there has the same unoriginal title to this very post (Great minds, think alike…but so does the same mind two years apart). In any case, a few things have inspired me to start blogging here on Medium:

  1. Reflection -> Expression. Because my old Ghost blog was only an extension of my personal website, it started to become more of a reflective outlet to capture turning points or decision points in my life rather than an outward-facing platform for expression. Any readers that happened on my blog either came directly from my site or because something had come up in conversation that was relevant to a blog post I had already posted. Without being connected to a larger network, I’ve always wondered what it would be like for someone to get to know me through my writing before meeting me in person. I hope that writing in a more public manner will cause me to be more accountable to my writing goals and shift my writing style to be less reflective and more expressive.
  2. Maintenance. As awesome as Ghost is as an open-source blogging platform, it’s been nontrivial to maintain it since I opted for a somewhat fragile vanilla setup that avoided the cost and effort of hosting my own Ghost server. I’ve had to resort to some sketchy migrations of *.db files and my latest struggles with odd version control issues have proven to me that my will to write has outlasted my will to maintain a custom blogging engine.
  3. Stats + highlights. I’ve always been curious to know what people find interesting when reading my blog posts, but a lack of tooling and analytics on my old blog has prevented me from getting a quantitive or qualitative view of my writing unless people mention it to me in-person.

Rereading this quote from Julie Zhou has inspired me to make a more explicit habit of writing at least once every two weeks:

Write about the lessons now so familiar they can be recited in your sleep. Write about the insights not yet sighted, their silhouettes blurry like the edges of a distant shore. Write about the job, the joy and chaos of designing and building.Write at least once a week. Write to learn how to write, and write to understand, the process itself like a looking glass through which you may yet discover a strange new world. Write so something meaningful can be said to others. Write to be accountable, write with honesty. Above all, write to preserve the scrap of an age, a voice; write so you won’t forget.

… and I’m taking her three practical tips on writing to heart by committing myself to do this for a year in order to develop a real habit of writing and expression. Along the way, I hope to flesh out my personal perspective and voice on matters at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and product along with my musings on faith, purpose, and life/world events.

So here goes — to a new year, a new blog, and a new set of thoughts/stories/ideas!

Taking the opportunity for reflection, here are few posts from my old blog that I really enjoyed writing:

  • A Year in Review: a reflection on a set of goals for my last year as an undergrad
  • Urbana 2015: a testimony from my experiences at Urbana 2015
  • Why KA: a few reasons why I decided to join Khan Academy as a summer 2015 intern
  • Lessons from InterVarsity Marketplace: a collection of thoughts from an InterVarsity program focused on the intersection of work + faith