A decade ago, as I was sitting at my desk at Google, waiting for
blaze1to run its suite of testing and compilation tools on my relatively minor commit, I wasn’t exactly feeling the excitement of having “made it” to one of the top tech companies in the world. In that infinite stretch of time between code-as-communication and code-as-machine-instruction, my mind wandered into the future—perhaps 10 years hence, when I’d be running my own software consulting firm, and I would not be building web interfaces for my clients with GWT.
I maintain that what I’m most proud of is this blog’s longevity. Hardly anything lasts beyond a few years in the digital world, and the web has a bad habit of being both very old—in computer years—and very new at the same time. Some of those older blog posts are formatted inadequately and feature broken images, victims of a WordPress engine and a decade’s worth of database & system migrations that have eaten away at the edges of legibility. To the writing itself, all this practice has enabled a stronger sense of voice and identity in how I’m expressing myself, though of course that is also a continued evolution.
As to that original goal of fame and fortune leading to an illustrious career in software consulting, I would fulfill my ex-Googler destiny and go join a young scrappy startup named Square, which quickly meant that I wouldn’t have much time to work on, much less write about, technical side projects2. Instead, I found a niche in people management topics, writing about my own and others’ experiences of becoming and growing as engineering managers. And while this hasn’t resulted in the aforementioned celebrity, it has been useful to connect folks in our industry, past and sometimes future colleagues (during interviews), and even friends and acquaintances.
I guess I’m signing up for another decade.