“2014”

I’ve never been the “New Years resolutions” kind of guy. I’m fairly sure they’d be broken in the first couple of days. This year, however, I’d like to attempt to start the year off thinking about what I hope to do.

I started off 2013 as CTO of OkCupid Labs, which shutdown in August. There were many reasons for the shutdown, but the biggest, as is typically the case, was money. The year and a half I spent in the OkCupid office was certainly the highlight of my career. I wrote a lot of code that I’m pretty happy with, met and worked with a lot of great people, whom I miss dearly.

In October, I joined the Platform Team at Knewton. My hope is that this becomes the new highlight of my career, and it’s off to a pretty good start. The team is quite talented, interesting things are happening, and there’s so much more to do.

This year, I read a variety of technical books with topics ranging from security, privacy and the cryptowars, to books on implementing virtual machines and programming languages in general. As for research, I focused mostly on programming languages, garbage collectors, implementation techniques, and a lot of stuff that went way over my head, that I’ll have to come back to some point later in life.

Hack and Tell continued to be awesome, and a variety of “chapters” started up. James continued to rock as co-org, especially given that my wife and I welcomed Alice Mae into our family in May.

I still didn’t release Tin, but I did rewrite it at least 3 times utilizing different ideas, and am in a down period again before work starts back up on it. My first goal of 2014, is to actually release it into the wild and use it for something non-trivial, in order to take it for a spin, so to speak.

It was a slow year for my free software contributions, though I did submit a few patches and release when, which got a bit of buzz–it’s certainly my most popular GitHub repository at the moment, which of course means nothing.

For the coming year, technically, and career wise, here are some ideas of what I hope to do:

  • Research. This year, I’ll probably spend a good amount of time researching distributed systems and attempting to become much more knowledgeable in general about the topic. Given that I’m working on a programming language, there’s likely to be a number of papers read about programming languages, as well. One thing that I’ll change this year, however, is note taking. I don’t typically take notes on papers that I read, and that’s a huge mistake. I’ve already gotten snowsuit to start doing this as well, so my notes will usually just be there.

  • Notes. Relatedly, I’ll be taking lots more notes in general about what I’m doing, and what I’m thinking about while working. I started doing this in October, and slumped a bit. It, however, was extremely valuable and I plan to expand upon it this year.

  • Free Software. I need to set a goal of committing something everyday on one of my projects, even if it’s tiny. I may let this slide on vacations, of course.

  • Blogging. I find blogging to be valuable, but I don’t do it nearly enough. I’d like to write a post at least bi-weekly, on topics that I’m currently interested in, or about projects I’m making progress in. Theoretically, I’ll be blogging about Tin, the rewrite of when, or any other smattering of things.

  • Releasing. I have a tendency to start things. This year, I hope to release them, too.

I guess what this entails is a lot of reading and writing. And, time is ticking, tomorrow is day 2.

— 2014-01-01