a switch, a reflection, and a commitment

It's been a while since I wrote an update on this blog. I've been so preoccupied with my 100 posts experiment that I haven't had the headspace to keep up with everything which hasn’t been ideal as much as I’ve enjoyed the experiment. I've been in a reflective mood lately, so I thought I'd send an update on me.

In some big news, I switched teams at Coda yesterday (coincidentally on my 2 year anniversary). Since I joined, I've been on the Business Platform team (which evolved from the "backend/infra" team) where we were responsible for auth, pricing, the workspace organizational unit, among others. I was able to grow in all the ways I wanted, stretching my engineering, product, and product design capabilities. I even got to lead the design and implementation of custom templates, something I've wanted for a long time for my personal use cases too. However, as we’re growing and concentrating team efforts more, I find myself less interested in the complex problems related to scaling monetization, creating an environment that promotes the business needs alongside the user ones) and increasingly drawn to the ones that are at the forefront of the product exploration in what we can enable for our users. A coworker described this as “existential problems,” ones that make you question the fundamentals of what’s possible and dig into the underlying purpose. I’ve heard my new team described as the “wild west” because it has the most ambiguity in pushing the frontier for what Coda could be rather than what it does. Next up, I’ll be helping pushing the platform for Packs forward with the goal of building towards a world of full data interoperability, where users own their data and can shape it as desired. I want to work towards a world where software empowers people toparticipate playfully rather than invoking dread on interaction and treating people as mere users and consumers.

It feels pretty crazy that I’ve been working full-time for 2 full years and the majority of that time has been spent working in quarantine. Coda has grown from <50 to ~150, I’ve really expanded my writing commitment with the 100 mini-essays, Postal Portals, as well as short-story posts for literary submission (hoping to have good news to share on this front soon 🤞). I’ve pushed my gambling theme forward in expressing myself more publicly in dance and fashion, and I’ve made strides in tilting my default mindset towards one of commitment rather than obligation, becoming more comfortable in expressing what I want in a given moment rather than accommodating what I imagine others to want of me. I’m trying to dust off and embrace that childlike play and curiosity approach in my every day and especially when encountering new challenges, like diving into random craft projects and exploring funsoftware and soft tech on the side.

It’s interesting how upleveled in abstraction my mind has been lately from that decision to explore switching teams. My mind turns to long time horizons and questions of principle and impact rather than the tactile complexities of solving an immediate problem. My dampening of curiosity has been lifted, and my mind is relishing the freedom to frolic in the sunny fields.

secret meadow from Howl’s Moving Castle

In the vein of this nostalgic mood, I was thinking about how I was just wrapping up my time teaching English in rural Taiwan two years ago. Last year during quarantine by my beside light, I was also seized by an intense sensation of nostalgia that inspired this poem. Among the crazy jumble of emotions falling out of these recent changes, gratefulness consistently flowers on the surface. I can’t point to pivotal moments that drastically changed my mindset, but looking back on who any time frame ago and who I am now, I can’t help but feel grateful for all the ways my self has grown and stretched. My mindset is slowly coalescing into an affirmation of all the principles that I value as I change my default actions to reflect what my mind thinks, and it’s all because I consistently set forth this intention to change in that direction, regardless of how far I felt from the end goal of the kind of person I wanted to be. By no means have I achieved everything captured in that person in my imagination, but things that used to scare me to the point of paralysis have become if not routine, conquerable. I’ve learned the power of taking one step forward, consistently, focusing on my commitment to the progress rather than how the progress or end result compares to the rest of society.

All I hope for moving forward is to keep moving forward on that front: one step at a time towards forging fulfilling and open relationships, creating dope shit with dope people, and enjoying the beauty of life.

Also, I’m just really jamming to Jackson Wang lately, so I hope you also become a stan.

Thanks for reading and being interested how I’ve changed! Would love to hear how y’all are doing and if any of this is relatable, my inbox is always open :)