2016 Year in Review

2016 turned out to be a pretty crappy year, but it wasn’t all terrible. I made some good progress on my personal goals, so there’s that. Here’s a review of my 2016. If this sort of post strikes you as excessive navel gazing, that’s because it is — therefore I urge you to stop reading right now.


The theme for this year of my life is probably “insane amounts of learning.” In the first half of 2016 I was at Braintree working on a new payments platform. In August I joined the Google Chrome team.


In the tech community I had the privilege of engaging with more people about more things this year. Front-end Hyperpolyglot, a comparison table I made of component idioms in popular front-end frameworks, got featured in JavaScript Weekly. I mentored programmers at NodeSchool. I spoke at the SF Payments Engineers Meetup about the future of Web Payments. Of the tech-related things this year, the highlight was getting to be on the Building Better Browsers panel with Jen Fong-Adwent, Yan Zhu, and Jon Kuperman at ForwardJS.

Diversity & Inclusion

I said in my 2015 yearly review that in 2016 I wanted to start helping in any way I could to improve tech’s diversity problem. I spent November crawling millions of web archives to analyze gender representation in tech media. I found that the tech media reports on women about half as much as they are represented in the industry. I still feel like I’m not doing that much (and am afraid people think I’m just doing this for attention), so I hope to make a lot more progress in this direction and get more involved in 2017.


The highlight of traveling this year was backpacking around Mt. Rainier with two of my best friends from college.


Speaking of running, 2016 was the second most productive year I’ve had in terms of mileage, almost beating out 2012. I use a tool called rcrd to keep track of how much I run, workout, drink, etc.


Looking at how much I drank, 2016 was fortunately not the most productive year.


My goal for 2016 was to beat 2015 and read more than 9 books. I made that goal with 18 books in 2016. However, I think looking only at total number of books read incentivizes the wrong behavior, so for 2017 my goal is to read enough books to have 3 strong recommendations: a fiction, a non-fiction, and a technical book. Here are my recommendations from 2016:


Virtually the only fiction I read this year was the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, which was amazing.


Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.


Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems by Betsy Beyer, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff, and Niall Richard Murphy.


My biggest regret of 2016 was not volunteering more time or donating more to help with the election. This year was a wake up call for me and I’m sure a lot of other people. I will not make this mistake again.

However, potentially my biggest failure is that I did not fail more. This tells me I need to take more risks in 2017.

If you got this far, thank you for reading bout my 2016. I’d love to hear about yours, and I hope you have a happy new year!

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