Reflexions on my 25th Year

For the past two years, I’ve written a retrospective on my year. I didn’t want to stop the tradition, but I’m also in the process of transitioning my blog and couldn’t write it there, so I’ll share it here and cross-post it when the blog is ready.

2012 was an interesting year. Work-wise, it was a time of great adjustment. After 2 years doing web development, trying to make high-fidelity applications work on mobile platforms, I faced reality and moved back to native iOS development. I’ve already shipped work I’m very proud of, and I’m really excited about the next steps. 

I’ve also managed to get myself into a better fit. Earlier this year, I posted about wanting to be a designer in a couple of years. I’ve since rescinded that comment. I’ve come to realize that I was using that as a proxy to what I really wanted. What I really wanted was product ownership and a voice in product direction, and I realized that I don’t need to put my love of building product and engineering behind to achieve it. I admit that I traditionally always had a foot out the door. To be frank, I had one foot out the door when I came to Facebook. This good wave I’ve been riding and my complete immersion in Facebook’s culture has me both-feet-in and trying to take advantage of my situation.

On that topic, let’s talk about multipliers. This was another one of my big revelations this year. There are two kinds of career multipliers: Internal and external multipliers. Internal multipliers refer to the amount of product development that happens per unit of time. A new engineer has an internal multiplier of 1 – Every unit of time invested into the product, moves the product forward 1 unit of development. As you move up the hierarchy, your internal multiplier increases: A designer spends 1 unit of time designing a product, then hands it off to N engineers who spend N units of time developing it, the designer’s multiplier is N. A PM makes a decision, M number of designers design it, N number of engineers build it on Y number of platforms. The PM’s multiplier is N * M * Y.

External multipliers refer to the amount of time your work affects the world. For example, If I spend 10 hours working on a feature, then over the life time of the product, X number of people will spend Y amount of time using it. Therefore, my external multiplier is X * Y. This is where Facebook shines. The external multiplier of a Facebook employee (And Google, and Apple, and…) is immense. It still gives me goosebumps to think about the sheer amount of man-months the products I’ve built have sucked up from humanity. I hope the return on investment was worth it 🙂

My career goal for 2013 is to increase both multipliers.

Life-wise, 2012 was the year of the bicycle. I rode harder, faster, better, and more often than I ever have. As a result, my legs are huge, I’m healthier, happier, and most importantly, I’ve met and befriended a lot of people I otherwise wouldn’t have ran into. Thank you guys for being a big part of my year. Things weren’t perfect though. I’ve had a dark cloud follow me for the better part of the year. It has proven difficult to shake off, but I believe it has made me a stronger person and it has helped me strengthen my friendships. Without the support of everyone around me, the tough times would’ve been much tougher, and the good times wouldn’t have been as good.

My social makeup has changed a lot and I’ve been blessed to meet the people I met. Whether it’s the insane amount of bicycling (or what seemed insane to me) I did this summer (Thanks FB Cycling!), or the people who have helped me grow professionally and personally, the person I am as 2012 draws to an end is very different than the person I was when 2012 started.

Weight-loss is another recurring theme of these posts. I’m ecstatic to report that I’ve hit my goals. It’s been a two-and-a-half year long journey and without the support of my friends and coworkers I couldn’t have achieved it. I won’t go into details about this journey here, it needs its own space. But I’m there. I still sometimes look in the mirror and stand thinking about what my life was like in 2010 and what it’s like today. Thank you Chuck EdwallJuan Camilo Pinzón and Ken Goto for introducing me to running and cycling.

2013 is going to be a year of Gran Fondos, big bike rides, good times, and new experiences. I look forward to the challenges of 2013.

Special thanks this year to Joel SeligsteinJohn CiancuttiJosh WilliamsJasper Hauser (so many J’s!), Ari GrantFrancis LuuHugo Angelmar. You may not have known it, but our conversations and friendship have had a deep impact on my outlook and perspective, and for that, I’m thankful.

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