Thumbtack, 6+ months

I’ve been at Thumbtack for over half a year now. Actually, almost 9 months to be exact. The company has grown quite a bit since I’ve joined. I think there were around 25 engineers when I started and now, there is around 60. We were quickly running out of space at our main office. In order to accommodate for our growth rate, we rented a space across the street, which opened up a couple weeks ago.

With growth comes unavoidable changes. There are now more people in management roles. For most, it was more of a title change than a function change. There are more processes in place which sound worse than it really is. I guess the best way to put it is that there is more structure in the company.

Overall, the company is doing well. We are having a strong start in 2016. There are lots of improvements and new features that are driving growth. There is still a bunch left to do on our product roadmap but if we continue executing, we will have no problem reaching our goals.

My time is now split between coding, interviewing and meeting. Starting this week,  I’ll also be “mentoring” a new Data Platform team member.

 

Knee Update

I made it through a whole day of airsoft without any pains in my knees! My knees used to hurt after a prolonged period of being on my feet. For airsoft, they would start to feel sore in the afternoon and at the worst, I would have trouble walking up and down the stairs at home later that night. I’m thankful that they no longer hurt. I attribute the reason to cycling which has strengthened my muscles. Maybe I’ll try running again (but that’s the reason my knees started hurting in the first place).

Pandem E36

Compared to the E30 M3, the body of the E36 M3 paled in comparison due to the lack of the box fenders. It was always something that detracted from the car in my opinion.

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But the recent Pandem (aka Rocket Bunny) kit changes all that. It gave the E36 the box fenders that it was missing all this time. A great kit for a relatively inexpensive car makes this a winning combo.

2015 Recap

A lot happened in 2016. I graduated for the second time from UCLA in March. I went through a stressful period of interviewing. I had an offer lined up that fell through last minute. In hindsight, I’m glad because that led to me joining Thumbtack. I moved up to NorCal in June (July?). By moved, I meant packing up a rental car and driving up. Half of my stuff is still at my parents. I started work in August. Work has been busy since day one but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s fast-paced but rewarding. I’m learning and taking on more responsibilities than I would have ever imagined. Jenn and I got engaged after many (7) years of dating. I got clipped by a car during my morning bike commute and thankfully survived with no broken bones nor skin. The holidays came around and lots of family time on both sides. We’ve been house hunting for the tail end of the year and put down an offer on a place.

It’s been an eventful year. Lots of big steps and long term commitments. Some would consider them life changing but it felt like a natural progression. I’ve been reflecting and I’m in a happy place with my life. There is nothing to complain about and many things to be thankful for.

Good bye 2015. Cheers to 2016.

Roadtrip to Joshue Tree and Limekiln

We took a trip to Joshua Tree in mid October. There wasn’t much to do out in the desert.

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Our site at the Black Rock Campground.

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Joshua trees and rocks and rocks and rocks.

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The next day we drove over the main part of Joshua Tree Park and hiked the Hidden Valley Trail.

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On our way back, we stopped at Limekiln State Park, a little bit south of Big Sur. We stopped by here 2 years ago when Jenn made her moving trip back to NorCal. We both much preferred the green scenery.

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We did a short hike to the waterfall, which we had already done during the first visit.

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We spent the rest of the day at the beach. There were lots of balanced rocks and balancing rock taking place.

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Attempted some night photography but most turned out blurry.

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Light painted our campsite. My poor job resulted in that weird light streak.

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The morning before we left.

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The Future

It’s hard to witness defining moments when you’re experiencing it day to day. I’ve been wondering how different the future, say five years, will be. Remember what life was like before the iPhone? When you had to print out driving directions from Google maps or better yet, MapQuest? This is like a time capsule of current topics that interest me.

Self driving and EV cars
All auto manufacturers are investing heavily in self driving capabilities. Most are following the route of equipping the conventional car with said features. Others, like Google, are redefining a “car” by completely eliminating the driving aspect. Apple is rumored to be working on something but details are sparse. On a tangential note, cars are transitioning to alternative fuels with Tesla leading the charge. I’m curious to see if self driving cars and/or EV’s will be the norm in a few years.

Impact of global warming
The main driver of EV’s is reducing emissions and greenhouse gases. Global warming has been a common theme in recent years. There has been more and more natural disasters that are attributed to abnormal climate patterns. The entire west coast of North America is suffering from a drought while the east coast is getting hammered by brutal winters. We are warned of the scarcity of certain food as global climate shifts to the extreme. Let’s hope the world can take greater action to curb greenhouse gases and pollution in general.

Tech bubble
Entrepreneurship spirit mixed with some wild ideas and easy capital has led to a boom in start ups. I work at one that has recently joined the unicorn club, surpassing one billion dollars in valuation. The inflated valuation is a whole other topic but everyone in the bubble is aware of the bubble. The bigger they are the harder they’ll fall. When a unicorn crashes and burns, it will have adverse effect on the entire sector.

Gun control
This is a touchy but relevant topic that resurfaces in the ongoing presidential (and general political) debates. I’m up banning guns if that means eliminating 100% of the casualties from gun violence. But we know that isn’t going to happen. We need a sane and realistic solution and not the extreme proposals of entirely banning guns or arming more citizens for self defense that are fielded by the Red and Blue.

Portland Photo Recap

Highlights from Portland trip back in July.

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First stop, Blue Star Donuts.

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Portland Art Museum.

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Lunch at Tasty n Alder.

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Dinner at Le Pigeon. Super tasty and very reasonably priced. Best foie gras dish I’ve ever had.

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Bike town.

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Hiked at Washington Park.

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Ended at Pittock Mansion. View of downtown.

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Salt & Straw for lunch. We each got a waffle with 2 giant scopes. Afterwards, we wandered around alphabet district.

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Dinner at Screen Door.

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Local coffee shop with amazing kouign amann.

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Grassa.

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Biked along the river.

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Berry season.

We also stopped by Seattle.

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Ballard Locks

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Weekend trip to SLO

Jenn and I took a weekend trip to SLO for a wedding. We finally got to try Firestone Grill since we were vegan last time we were in town. It was good but not spectacular. The firebird sandwich was bit messy to eat.

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We also stopped by Pismo Beach before driving back up.

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Thumbtack – 1 Month

It has been a month since I started as a software engineer at Thumbtack in SF. I can happily say that I like my work. The people are smart and friendly. Everyone has a great sense of ownership in their work. The company maintains a high level of transparency and retains its startup culture while growing rapidly. The past month has gone by very quickly and every moment was spent learning and working on something new. It’s incredible how much I’ve learned and how much I still don’t know.

Despite the happy ending, the journey was not easy. I’ve applied to well over 100 positions and did not hear back from most. I did many coding challenges and phone interviews, moved on to a handful of on-sites, and received a couple offers over a stressful three month period. If the day wasn’t spent interviewing, it was spent studying and preparing. I owe a lot to Jenn for her support and reassurance after disappointing interview results. Interviewing is probably the most stressful thing I’ve done and I don’t plan to do it very often.

I’m thankful for the position that I am at, being able to continuously learn and be challenge. It motivates me even more to work hard and take full advantage of the opportunity given to me.

Hypercar Gathering

The April ’15 C&C at Santana Row had a large turnout. Along the usual exotics were a McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari. All that was missing was a Porsche 918 to complete the trio.

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This is actually chassis 007. I’ve heard that the current owner recently acquired it.

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Enzo and Ferrari in matching color that are owned by the same couple.

There was also a Pagani Hyuara but I put that car in its own league along with others cars like the Koenigsegg. I haven’t seen a Hyuara in person since the North America debut at the Pasadena Art Center in 2011.

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