2017 in Review

Saturday, December 30, 2017 :: Tagged under: essay personal year_in_review. ⏰ 7 minutes.

Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄

I've done this twice recently (2015, 2016), let's do it for 2017!

I changed gigs **again**

"You've got to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince."

I left ClassPass and joined Lyft in NYC.

ClassPass logo Lyft logo

Part of me hopes this doesn't keep happening, but I don't regret that it does: on the spectrum of "believes he's entitled to too much" vs. "doesn't ask for enough," I'm been pegged by most to be the latter. I require more from my employers and there's no reason to settle.

Luckily, a month in, Lyft is looking very promising. I'm pretty jaded about what companies say about themselves, because one can usually just lightly squint at their actions to see massive contradictions. I'm happy to report that Lyft is probably the most persuasive employer I've had regarding living up to the ideals they state and being smart and honest about their business and how it works. My co-workers and leaders of the company don't shirk away from hard conversations, and look for many of the things I value most highly when deciding what and how to build.

ClassPass didn't cut it for reasons I'm happy to go into with anyone who wants to chat with me. I was and remain pretty sad about leaving because I worked with some amazing people there on a product I love. I'm exercising my options, I hope they do well.

In 2018: Fuck man, I don't know. I'm still working out what I want out of working life. I don't feel like I'm well-optimized towards any end goal that matters to me: most of what I do is make very rich people even richer. And, well, the ultra-rich suck. They call themselves powerless even though they have these massive platforms and virtually all the money. I've watched my generation be thoroughly fucked from stable living and get blamed for it. I've watched most wealth go to the top 1%. I've watched rich White men mock and belittle these concerns while being cartoonishly doughy sacks of uselessness. I watch scores of people defend it in ignorance or disbelief and call it "meritocracy" and deserved.

I'll continue being a Good Employee while I better figure out what I want out of working and livelihood. Options include: double down on The Game the way I've been playing it (I wish this wasn't the most likely choice), start my own company and Be The Change (inching closer, but maybe asymptotic), or start a labor movement to seize the means of production (because the dickbags need us nerds to enact any of this via technology; highly unlikely that I do this but I dream sometimes). Ideally I can support movements to do more systematic change (I've written before how I don't think I'm best to lead those movements).

(Memory time! Remember when the company that still lives on "Don't Be Evil" goodwill and branding colluded for years to reduce wages with the company living off goodwill and branding of "Here's To The Crazy Ones"? Remember how Alan Eustace and friends groveled and begged Steve Jobs for the privilege of competing with them in those free markets they fetishize so much? Good times. Never let any of these people off the hook.)

I went to Burning Man, played with my brain

I have a few posts in drafts, but this was a pretty major event. I wrote a little Twitter thread about it, but the short version is: the art is pretty great, the desert sucks, folks can be all things folks can be. Going with someone you're romantically involved with is a major plus but can also strain you. It's not easy to get a ticket, it's not easy to go, but if you think there's a path for you to go I think you should consider it.

Far less daunting, and easier to recommend are Regional Burns: much smaller Burning Man-like festivals that often take place over a weekend, in less challenging climates. Karen found a number of amazing events with a similar vibe that we went to; it was a pretty wildly different cultural experience for me. I was exposed to some pretty lovely art, and it's great to leave the city and make an occassion.

Lastly, we made some art together. It barely worked and there's much more to do with it, but we made a chess set that screams and otherwise reacts when you play it. This deserves its own post (and we're probably bringing it back) but you can see some of the code in the embedded Raspberry Pi here.

I admitted to this in a throwaway line on my music post, but with this territory: I tried psychadelics (specifically, LSD). It's major enough that I'm going to say a few words about it.

First, psychadelics have shown pretty effective in treating depression. It's a hard thing to research, but anecdotally, this is absolutely true. When your brain is trapped in its own rock-solid constructions, there exist substances that can help you shake up your brain.

Obviously, introducing drugs into your life carries dangerous risks and one should be careful of romanticizing them as a lifestyle (I want to behead the folks who got rich creating the opiod crisis, and a few folks close to me absolutely struggle with addiction). And I don't consider drug use a lifestyle (I've used maybe 6 or 7 times this year, don't intend or feel more inclined to do more than that).

But, well, we live in our bodies and our brains, and I think there's merit to accepting that we're better off with some liberty in what we do with them. Much of the worst impact of drugs in society comes from the drug trade and externalities resulting from our criminalization of it. Note Portugal's phenomenal success with decriminalization.

LSD has a few qualities I really like:

Here are some other articles that I think are worth reading on these topics:

In any case, this was a big find for me this year, like finding fitness was last year.

In 2018: I'm probably going back to Burning Man with Karen: our camp is full of wonderful people. At the very least we can do a regional. There are other blog posts in the works but I hope we can build some art to bring and share; either building off of existing projects or new ones.

Relationship Milestones

Karen and I moved in together. We consider ourselves extremely lucky that the other has a dog who brings just as much joy and frustration as our own. We spent Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with hers. My life, on the whole, contains no shortage of relationship overthinking and angst but I'm happy with how the two of us are going.

In 2018: Knock on wood, we continue to do well, keep the magic going, and summarily identify and execute threats to said magic with gusto and style.


My dog continues to live, seemingly happily, with me for the second year!

I went to Disneyland and Trejo's Tacos.

Coding projects slowed down, but I ended the year making a bunch of little changes and reclaiming my blog. It's part of a series of paper cuts on how I want my relationship with Online to be. I'm also committed to learning about Machine Learning in the next year.

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