Year In Review - 2013 Edition

31 Dec 2013

It’s been a very sparse year for the blog, this is only my third post in 2013. It’s certainly not due to lack of things to write about. Quite the contrary, this has been my most eventful year yet! It just means I need to get more disciplined about writing.

Here’s my eleventh hour attempt to recap the major events in my life in 2013.

First off, I got married! That consumed most of the last quarter of the year, though I was fortunate enough to not have as much work or planning to do as my wife or my parents. We also went on a lovely cruise (my first) right after a big fat Indian wedding, both of which were unforgettable experiences. I can highly recommend cruises to anyone looking for a stress-free vacation. Once you’re on the boat, there’s little to worry about other than the odd feeling of just how relaxed you are (I caught myself thinking “Aren’t I supposed to be doing something?” on several occasions).

Secondly, I completed 1 year at Firebase. It’s been quite a ride. I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve accomplished in the year I’ve been here, and excited for what’s in store. Over the past year we’ve grown from oh-7-can-fit-in-a-room-easy mode to holy-crap-we-need-a-new-office mode. We’re up to 15 people now, with more in the pipeline and I suspect we’re going to grow a lot more in 2014 (if anybody knows of a great office space in SoMa, San Francisco; please drop me a line). Working at a startup can bring with it an amalgam of emotions, and a range of knowledge that I wouldn’t have been exposed to if I had taken a more traditional career path, for which I am grateful. I couldn’t have asked for a better set of people to share my first startup experience with.

I’m also incredibly happy that most of the code I write at Firebase is open source. Contributing to open source projects is how I got my start as a professional programmer, and being able to give back to the community as part of my day job is a rare and fulfilling opportunity.

Another fun thing about working at Firebase: I got to play with the “Google Languages” Go and Dart as part of my job this year. The last time I used Go in any non-trivial capacity was when it first came out - 4 years ago - to write a code generator. The language has since hit the magic “1.0” version and it was a pleasure to revisit (it has a real package manager now, among other things). Dart is a bit younger but also considered mature enough that it is also “1.0” and there’s now a port of Angular to it. Dart was similarly fun to work with; really, what new language is not fun to use, especially in the first week?

The 9fan in me loves Go, but the Mozillian in me wants to root for Rust. Likewise, while I’m excited about Dart (especially since the Angular port), the Mozillian in me wants to always bet on JS. Nevertheless, 2014 is going to be an interesting year on the programming languages front.

Finally, 2013 was also the year where I started understanding more about the Quantified Self movement. I had always been collecting a bunch of data about myself, unwittingly, or at-least for a purpose other than looking through it retrospectively to improve my life. I started using more of these services this year, but haven’t been happy with any particular one so far. They’re all extremely fragmented and don’t let me do as much with the raw data as I’d like. I think it’s still early days and we’re going to see a lot of improvement in the coming years. Can’t wait!

Lots of other great experiences this year: Made so many amazing new friends, Jet-skiing at Key West, Dining at Opaque and The Restaraunt at Meadowood, Blizzcon and the Hearthstone beta, and of course my favorite movie of the year: The Desolation of Smaug (my wife nods in agreement).

Happy new year to you all, and here’s to a wonderful 2014!