Oh look another post
It's been quite a while since I've posted here. I did a little bit of private daily journaling in May and June of 2020 as a way to fend off stress, but other than that I haven't written a single thing.
In the interest of building up some momentum to post stuff here again I'll do a quick recap of things that have happened in the last (almost) three years.
I ended up leaving Truepill in August 2020 without a very good plan for what I wanted to do next, but I knew that I needed to take a break that was longer than I'd feel comfortable asking for at a startup. Leaving wasn't really any issue with the team at Truepill, but lockdown gave me a little more clarity on how I wanted to be spending my time, so I took a risk (a fairly big one at the time, looking back) and took some time off to recharge, do some open source and start looking for my next gig (also big thanks to Judy for sticking around when I told her I was quitting my job with no next job lined up about two months into our relationship).
Those three-ish months off were amazing and I'm glad I took them off. I was able to start running regularly along the bayshore trail in Foster City and San Mateo, I was able to spend some real time on open source stuff, and I was able to read through Understanding Computation by Tom Stuart. One downside is that I quit on my own so there was zero severance and zero unemployment, so my break time was ultimately decided by how much of my personal savings I could afford to burn. I eventually started leetcoding and interviewing at a couple different companies for a couple of different roles (I even interviewed for some SRE/Production Engineering roles!).
After some interview stumbles and ghosted applications I was near the end of a few companies interviewing cycles. One of them was a company that two good friends from college had been working at for a couple of years and were fairly happy with. This company was Quizlet, which as far as I knew, was a website for making flashcards. During my multiple interviews I had some great conversations with different engineers that I'd be working with directly if I got hired. One of my realizations during my time off was that I care a good amount of whether or not what I'm working on is something that I believe is good for society, another was that I care deeply about being on a team with good people. When I say good people I don't mean top-of-their-field (although that's not a negative on their own), I mean people who get along, can work well together to make something greater than any one of us could do. My first ever job at iFixit definitely checked those two boxes, but it took a tour through two other companies after iFixit to realize that not every place lets you work on something that matters to you, or places you on a team that you can work well with, or even get along with. In reality maybe most places don't let you do that. I mentioned this to my hiring manager early in the interview process and after my virtual onsite I had interviews with everyone on the team to get to know them better while they decided whether or not to give me an offer. The day after receiving my offer they even invited me to a Friday afternoon game of Among Us before they all took Thanksgiving Break. A joke that still comes up every once in a while (even two years later!) is that they always killed my character first so per the game rules I wasn't allowed to talk to them for most of the time while the game was running. Even still, being invited to a team game before I had even accepted the offer was definitely a first for me.
So long story short, I've been at Quizlet since. I was a little worried that my resume was starting to look like swiss cheese after my departure from Truepill, so I'm incredibly happy that I can build up some tenure at a place like Quizlet. In my time so far I've been promoted (which was a first, all of my previous promotions came from switching companies, not from staying at them), I've been able to lead multiple projects, including redesiging our Test study experience, improving our embedded flashcard experience on our set page to match our Flashcards Mode study experience, and most recently refactoring that portion of the React app to work with our new NextJS version of the site. It's been a great time, and I'm looking forward to the new work we have upcoming this year.
Judy and I moved in together and we moved from Redwood City to Foster City. It was... interesting. The lagoon is sort of fun in theory, but it's not fun having to drive 20 minutes to get to the nearest non-residential area. The apartment was very nice, but the location just wasn't for us. As soon as our lease expired we moved to San Francisco, another first. Our apartment is definitely not as nice as the one in Foster City, but we live in a pretty fun and busy area, so we kind of flipped our scenario from Foster City. We've been in the current place for over a year, which I think is a record for me for longest time without having moved. It took a little adjusting, but we take MUNI everywhere now, and we got some bikes so we can bike around the numerous parks or even to Ocean Beach if we have time. We both have offices in the city now too, so we can commute in when we feel like it.
In other big "Life Stuff" news, we got engaged in May!!! We went to Tahoe in early May, took a fun little hike to Fallen Leaf lake and on the way back to the car we started getting rained on. There's a lookout over Emerald Bay in the SW corner of Lake Tahoe that we'd stopped at almost every time we'd come up to Tahoe since we started dating, and as we drove past it, the usually packed parking lot was completely empty due to people leaving to escape the rain. I parked, said I wanted to take a quick picture since it was basically a tradition, and boom the sun came out. And then boom the ring came out. And then boom engaged. So yeah, we're getting married this year, I can't wait :D.
I ran the SF Half Marathon last July (or June? I can't remember). I was planning on training for it and then finally got COVID three weeks before, so basically ran it with no training regimen. I ran it with the hope of finishing it at all and got a time of something like 2 hours and 24 minutes, which wasn't too bad. I signed up to run it again this year and hopefully I can get closer to a 9-minute pace instead of a 10+ minute pace.
Also as a fun bookend to my previous blog post, I recently gave an in-person talk at SFNode in October (which was also hosted at Quizlet, thank you Quizlet). I don't have a recording of it posted anywhere, but I'm looking forward to hopefully presenting more often at things like that and continuing to help organize SFNode.