November 2015 In Review
November was pretty eventful. I ended a job at TUNE, took two weeks off, celebrated Thanksgiving with my church family, ran the Seattle Marathon, and started a new job at Facebook. The two weeks I had off were memorable because I didn’t have a laptop and was consequently unplugged from social media and the tech news - no Twitter, HackerNews, TechCrunch. It was probably the most unplugged I’ve been in the last 5 or 6 years. I spent the time reading, running, and hanging out (mostly with Fred).
One book I finished during that time was Tim Keller’s book on Prayer. Keller writes about prayer’s necessary coupling to meditation on the Scripture and introspective contemplation and how this is an avenue to seeing the depths of God’s truth, as well as our own disorder and redemption. I’ve written this past year about how I wish I was more self-aware - Keller argues that we cannot come to see ourselves as we really are apart from prayer, because it is in prayer that God gives us His greater perspective. The book also discusses how Martin Luther used Scripture reading to drive prayer and vice versa in his own personal time with God, a method I’ve also tried recently. I read a chapter, praise God for what I see about Him in the passage, confess where I see my own sin in the passage, and ask for help to change and be changed - and it has been really refreshing. The first day I did this, I distinctly felt like I had a glimpse into the riches of God’s glory.
At church, we went through a Friday night teaching series on “God and work” and how we should view our jobs in light of our faith (and in light of eternity). Many of us had wanted to talk about this for several months, so I was pretty excited, and I wasn’t disappointed. It coincided with my break in between jobs, so I felt like I had more capacity to reflect on what I did well and what I didn’t do well at TUNE and how I hoped I would do differently at Facebook. It was a mix of some pretty pragmatic things. I realized that my commitment to running during our lunch break had weakened a lot of my relationships with coworkers since I spent lesser time socializing with them. I realized I felt like I hadn’t made much evangelistic progress because I had neglected to pray for opportunities and for specific coworkers on a regular basis. I learned I have a bad history of being unresponsive to emails and texts and not investing well in people’s personal lives regardless of their faith/worldview. These are all things I’m hoping to develop and display well at Facebook.
Speaking of this new job, I’m really psyched. I just finished my first week at Facebook and I’ve been incredibly impressed so far with such an open culture and the tech that powers the company. It’s crazy to me that I can technically call all of these people my coworkers: Sebastian Markbage, Christopher Chedeau, Dan Abramov, Lee Byron, Sebastian McKenzie, Christoph Pojer, Jing Chen.. I really appreciate the culture of “move fast” (fearing missed opportunities rather than fearing failure) and “done is better than perfect.” These are ideas I actually believe, this idea of hacking things together with rapid iterations. The frameworks and architecture are important, but unless you can build and rebuild, they only really exist in an abstract or theoretical world.. This week, I worked on a bug that will reach like 230 million users. That sort of scale is inconceivable to me. It’s like a million times bigger than anything I’ve ever written.
As for leaving TUNE, it was a mix of feelings. I saw the company nearly quadruple in size in less than two and a half years and felt like I actually did some good work there. (Though now, in a sort of existential reminder, I also now realize that I will never see or touch again those thousands of lines of code I wrote.) I had some good relationships there as opposed to my much shorter time at Amazon. I’m sure TUNE will continue to make a big difference in the ads industry and in the Seattle tech ecosystem, and I still have very high regards for the talent on the front end team there.
I’ve been able to be a bit more disciplined in my spiritual disciplines. I finished Matthew and Mark this past month and recently finished memorizing Romans 10. During my time off, I did a little bit more outreach, as I went out once with UW Epic and once with Fred to Seattle Central. I also finished a book by Mark Dever titled “The Gospel and Personal Evangelism” about the role of evangelism in the Christian’s life (why do we say that every Christian should evangelize?) and what the gospel is and isn’t.
The Seattle Marathon happened, which was interesting. It was mid-30s and it didn’t really warm up. I thought I could run 7:30 miles all day, which honestly didn’t seem that foolish beforehand, but I erroneously based that pace on my past fitness level and not my current. I stuck with 7:30s for maybe the first 15 or 17 or so miles. I then cramped up at mile 21, which was actually the same place I started to cramp up when Tim and I ran the same race 3 years ago. I consumed a lot of salt and someone massaged my quads and I did the last few at maybe 10 minute pace. I felt pretty strong at the end mentally since I had done the last 6 miles of that course maybe like 15 times, but it was frustrating to just not have anything left in my legs at the end. Anyways, I have some mixed feelings about it now, but I certainly appreciated Suzi coming out in the rain to cheer me on.
This is an abrupt ending, but I wrote the bulk of this post about two weeks ago and didn’t write any sort of conclusion into it.. and now, it’s slightly too late. Will have more to write about at the end of the year as Suzi and I will be back in Oklahoma for Christmas and New Year’s! Thanks for reading.