2011, A look back
A brief look back over what I’ve been up to in 2011.
I wrote The Fallacies of Distributed Computing Reborn: The Cloud Era in Januaray of last year and gave a talk on it at Dreamforce. Broadly speaking, these fallacies are just known constraints imposed on distributed systems by the current state of technology. I spent a lot of time this year talking to New Relic customers about the systems they are building. It’s so great to see continued awareness of the challenges in scaling web applications, and even better to see the many interesting solutions people are working on.
I learned a lot in the last year about the nuances of scaling a SaaS business as well. The rate of signups and new customers for New Relic in 2011 increased dramatically and it was quite the wild ride.
When New Relic moved from South Park in San Francisco to SOMA, I started to take the ferry. Since I’m no longer driving, I started reading a lot more. Some notable reads from the year:
- We Are All Weird by Seth Godin - the mass-market is dead, long live the weird!
- Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda - a personal and simple book about zen
- A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole - great novel; the source of @hotdogsladies nick
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson - of course
Peepcode also played a big role in what I was learning this year.
- Backbone.js - I have a few side projects in the queue where I’ll likely use Backbone
- Event Machine - I’m really curious to try out Goliath so I wanted to brush up on EM
- CoffeeScript - I only wrote a tiny bit of CoffeeScript this year, but it feels good, man
- Vim - I switched to Vim fulltime and love it (again)
- UX with Ryan Singer - it’s great to see Ryan’s thought process and the considerations he makes when designing a UI
- Learned from a dozen or so tech conferences - best: PyCodeConf, New Context Conference, SXSW & Velocity EU
- Traveled to Japan, Germany and Argentina for conferences
- Shipped newrelic.com + countless split tests and marketing programs
- Shipped then killed WODFinder.com - This was a realtime aggregator of Crossfit workouts all over the world using superfeedr.
- Shipped EatMoreProtien.com - A quick idea for a single-page app w/ JQuery. Simple and useful, though I should make this more mobile friendly.
- Shipped the start of a ruby wrapper for the MoveableInk API - love the idea behind MovableInk
- Shipped a New Relic script for Hubot - GitHub’s awesome and capable chat bot
- Shipped Next Ferry - a mobile web app to help you catch the next ferry (geo-optimized, SF-Marin only)
- Shipped change-inside-surroundings.vim - my first Vim plugin, mostly as a learning exercise
- Presented Shipping it Faster: Agile Development and Feedback System (Panel) - New Context Conference, Tokyo
- Presented The Performance & Scalability Mindset - San Francisco Rails Meetup
- Presented DevOps Metrics and Measurement (Panel) - DevOps Days Mountain View, CA
- Presented The Ultimate Productivity Hack: Having Kids - Ignite RailsConf in Baltimore, MD
I made some changes to my digital and computing life in 2011:
- rdio is awesome - I have terabytes of music at home, but convenience is king. Love discovering music from friends as well.
- (mac)Vim - I left Vim behind when I started writing Java in 2001 (shudder). TextMate was fun for a while, but it feels great to be back, baby.
- 13" MacBook Air - The best laptop I’ve ever had
- Kindle - The smallest and simplest kindle is amazing to read on. I don’t know why I waited so long.
- OSX Lion - fullscreen for everything is the ultimate productivity hack
- Wunderlist - finally, a beautiful TODO list that syncs properly across mobile, desktop and web
- Partial success and goals: Less apps, less stuff, less process, less email, less waste, less cruft.
2011 was pretty great. 2012 is going to be even better.