oh hello again

It has been a few years since I’ve regularly written anything in a public way. More than a dozen in fact – the last time I can recall doing so was just after high school, and I am now 34 years and 3 months old.

My first instinct was to kick this off with a technical post, since my capital-B Brand purports to be: funny, handsome, knowledgable programmer. But this post by Julia Evans has made me reconsider what goals I have for writing blog posts, and the chief reason would be to kick off interesting conversations. And to start off, let’s do a conversation I often have with myself!

how did you get here?

And to be more specific about “here”, how do I find myself writing my first blog post in 12 years, late on a Sunday night at my kitchen table, in my Brooklyn apartment? Well, for the writing bit, it’s because I’m currently at the Recurse Center, and fellow Recurser Katie has kicked off an Iron Blogger challenge, the gist of which is that I’ve committed to writing a blog post a week.

how and why did you end up at the recurse center?

In June 2018, I applied and had two friendly interviews with former Recursers, and then they accepted me for a 3 month batch. I would summarize RC as something like “art school for programmers”, which is to say: a dedicated time and space for self-directed programming education, with a strong emphasis on sharing your work, and a strong disposition against established habits and pretension.

And like art school (so I hear), they heavily expect and encourage some amount of “floundering”, i.e. struggling to figure out what to do next, as that’s a sign that you’re getting better at self-directing. Which I think is fantastic, since I’d much rather be floundering in a group than floundering independently, which is what I’d been doing from October 2017 til June 2018.

and why had you been floundering alone those 9 months?

In October 2017, I quit my job at VHX after 4.5 years, which was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made and still affects me to this day. Well technically, the company I quit was Vimeo, after Vimeo acquired VHX in mid-2016, and then renamed the division to Vimeo OTT. I was Director of Engineering (second in command) for most of my time at VHX, and became the de facto head of engineering after the original CTO left.

It was the best job I’ve ever had. And the people I met there are still some of my closest friends to this day. But going through most of a full startup life cycle, including the intense pre and post-acquisition adjustments, really drained me of my mental energy and my commitment to the job. I knew I had to leave while I could still have those valued friendships, and before I got too cynical about tech.

And after I quit, I thought: Great, I finally can do my own startup, or make videogames on my own, like I’ve always wanted! But, it turns out that’s really quite hard to do on your own. Thus, the floundering.

It also didn’t help that I disconnected from one of my main social circles just as 3 months of dark, brutal New York winter was starting up. Definitely should have timed that better!

okay, and before that?

That’s enough for this starter post ;) How I ended up at VHX, in tech, and in Brooklyn is probably best saved for another time! Till then, thanks for reading.