Twenty-Teens in Review

Well, here it is, the end of 2019, the end of the decade1. 🎉 The end of the decade of my twenties, so probably the most eventful decade I'll experience2. Ten years ago, I was at my parents' house in Fall River, a senior in college on my last Christmas break of all time. I'd just accepted an offer from Yelp to start as a Software Engineer in June, 2010, reporting to Neil Kumar3. The world was uncertain before me. Today, I am sitting in my own house5, married, working for my third employer, sitting pretty in a very different world. What would 2010 me, using his dual-core ~3GHz computer and his iPhone think of 2019 me, using a quad-core ~3GHz computer and his iPhone6? Oh, indeed how times have changed.

Let's go through the highlights of the decade, shall we?

2010
  • Graduated from HMC (with honors)
  • Moved to San Francisco
  • Started working for Yelp with a bunch of HMC people
2011
2012
  • Started dating Eva
  • Yelp IPOs, people start leaving
  • Paid off my college debts
  • Obama gets re-elected to a second term. The dream of comfortable technocratic center-left governance seems to still be alive and kicking.
2013
  • Left Yelp, started working for Uber for my former-Yelp-coworker Oliver Nicholas
2014
2015
  • Got married, went on a fun honeymoon
  • Left Uber, started working at EasyPost for my former-Yelp-coworker Andy Bakun
2016
  • The world collectively loses its mind. The United Kingdom decides to turn Britain into a global pariah. The United States decides that what everyone really needs is an excuse to fondly remember the greatness of John Tyler's presidency.
2017
  • Lost one of our rabbits; gained a new rabbit
2018
  • Bought a house; moved to Berkeley
2019
  • Uber somehow managed to make it through its IPO
  • Lost any remaining faith in the tech industry
  • Wrote this blog post

Overall, I think I'd give this decade a solid B. Lots of character development and personal growth, but the work storyline was repetitive and the background political plot was unrealistic.

I think along the way I learned a lot about computers, a lot about American tech startups, and a bit about being a human being. But the big lesson I learned this decade was been the same lesson learned by young adults through the entire history of the world — there are no adults in the room, nobody coming to fix our mistakes and save us from our problems. There are no authority figures except us, ourselves. There are no elders whose experience we can lean on; the rich and powerful, the charismatic, the experienced — they're all just folks muddling through. I've seen a CEO worth six billion dollars have a temper tantrum, and I've seen our friend's two-year-old have a temper tantrum, and let me tell you: they're pretty much the same experience. Our entire planet is currently suffering through a protracted temper tantrum by a seventy-three-year-old millionaire politician and there are no adults in the room. People deserve your respect and trust because they earn it, not because they have a title or age or wealth or power.

What will the next decade bring? Will I keep making the same mistakes in my career? Will my family grow? Will the world continue its inexorable slide into totalitarian dystopia? Goodness knows that I have no idea. I guess we won't know until I write another post on January 31, 2029. See you then.

Currently listening to: Rogue Wave – Christians in Black


  1. Obligatory XKCD link 

  2. Note to the Powers that Be: that's not an invitation to start the robot uprising on January 1, 2020. 

  3. By the time I started, the CTO (Russ Simmons4) would've quit and Neil would be the VP of Engineering. I did not, in fact, report to Neil. Imagine how different my life would be if I'd worked as some generic "backend engineer"! 

  4. Not the hip-hop artist 

  5. BART is all messed up for the holiday, so I'm nominally Working from Home today. 

  6. Yes, I know, the iPhone 11 in my pocket is 48x faster than the iPhone 3G I had in 2010 (at least at Sunspider, which is the only benchmark that runs reliably on both) 


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