It’s hard to shake off failure.
I did a lot in 2019, but it doesn’t always feel that way. I felt lonely, but made 100+ new friends. I didn’t ship enough side projects, but I started a new job and hired a bunch of people. I didn’t travel that much, but I gave a talk in Asia and went to New York 60+ times.
I reflect on the year to counteract that feeling.
Sasha turned 13 and people have always said, “oh just wait until she’s a teenager!” as if having an antagonistic relationship is a given for parents and teens. It’s clear to me now that this attitude lies in the insecurities of the parents, not the kids. We still get along great.
Sasha wrote a 30,000 word book, acted in multiple plays, and is crushing middle school. Owen grew his hair out, started a YouTube channel, and is crushing me in in Mario Kart. It’s fun to watch them grow independent identities.
Here’s my 2019:
I took a month off
I’ve never taken more than 2 consecutive weeks since I started working. I could have used another month, but having the luxury and privilege to take time off before starting at Betterment was great. I painted the inside of my house, had lunch at Mama’s Falafels, got coffee with everyone, finished The Wire, saw the Liberty Bell, hung out at Indyhall, and more.
In February I joined Betterment for Advisors as a senior engineering manager and began recruiting. We added 4 engineers and a designer, and successfully rolled all the engineers from the NY team onto other projects. By the end of 2019 we’ll have 22 people working in the sparkling new Philadelphia office.
This was what I set out to do but to look back and see that it happened is a trip. I’ve learned a lot of Ruby on Rails, leveled up my SQL, and already shipped a few features.
It’s still surreal to me that I got on a plane and flew to South Korea for 13 hours, gave a talk at a data conference, and then flew home in the same week. My first trip to Asia was successful.
I didn’t make too many new charts, but the ones I did make were fun. I gave one of my best talks this year at Data Jawn 2019 and showed some of these.
1. Network graph of HBO’s The Wire
I became obsessed with making pizza. Prior to this, the only pizza I’d ever made were from Boboli crusts or on top of an English Muffin. Using Joe Beddia’s, Pizza Camp, I made 15 pizzas and I think they started getting good by around #7.
Philly Dataviz Meetup
Herb Lau and I put on 5 killer data visualization meetups with speakers from the Philadelphia Inquirer, SixtySixtyWards.com, CypherPrime, the City Controller’s Office, Vanguard, UPenn, Stitch, and more. 2020 is only going to get better.
It might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever made. Enter a year and the name of your baby and it tells you how popular your baby’s name was that year, but it also makes it appear as though Harambe was slightly more popular. The project uses government data from 1880 – 2018 and I mostly used bash and csvkit to construct the dataset.
Finding a Hidden Album
Like hidden treasure chest under the floorboards, I found an early album by the Blow’s Khaela Maricich on Spotify and it made me happy.
My kids are way into board games now and we played a ton of Risk Legacy, One Night Ultimate Werewolf, and Ravine, but our favorite was this beautiful game called Wingspan.
Earlier this year I watched Russian Doll and assumed it would be my favorite but then I watched The Wire, Dark, Pen15, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Watchmen, and Fleabag.
I might have watched too much TV.
Thanks to a couple of long flights I watched a ton of films this year, but my favorites were Booksmart, Her, and The Favourite.
Bands I saw live: Swearin, Mike Krol, Fuck You Tammy, and A Giant Dog. Not too many, but according to Spotify this was my favorite song of the year:
I also enjoyed Palehound, Nana Grizol, Mike Krol, Swearin, Best Friends Forever, Lomedla, Radiator Hospital, Anna McClellan, Mitski, Theo and the Get Down Stay Down, and Lizzo.
My top 2019 list according to Spotify.
I got another tattoo and sometimes wear glasses
I got a 2nd tattoo, this time at Fishtown’s True Hand Society which is in a beautiful old church. I also broke down and finally got glasses so I can read after 5PM. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much better my mood is since wearing them.