11 January 2018
2017 was a year of upheaval and growth by necessity.
Our daughter, Wren, came in May. The second child is multiplicative rather than additive, for sure. Our son was two, so we’d seen a bit of parenthood, but the new effect started on day one with our son having brought a little impetigo infection to the recovery room. Ok, so our one-hour-old has to contend with the germ warfare going on at daycare from the start? That’s new.
She’s 7 months old now and wonderful. There’s a special kind of bliss seeing she and her brother being sweet to one another. We’ve found new routines, recipes and reactions that are keeping everyone fairly sane. The double-daycare-dropoff in the morning feels like a real fatherhood rite.
My wife and my relationship began around gardening. In 2012 we bought a small house with a huge yard, and proceeded to install four huge garden beds, a chicken coop, a pair of dogs, and generally fancied ourselves to be mediocre, though enthusiastic urban farmers.
With the second baby, our needs turned a little more practical, and our futures towards school districts and play dates. We toured about a dozen houses on the west side of Colorado Springs over the course of four months or so and worked Zillow like a job. Then one day we found the one, it was listed and we had an offer written on in within about eight hours. We really love it: cars in the garage, awesome great-room on the kitchen, 3/2 upstairs and another 1/1 down. Across the street from one of the biggest parks in town.
It all happened a little fast, and we haven’t officially sold our old place just yet, but it’s getting close now. I’d like to think the personal upheaval might abate through 2018, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
BombBomb had a phenomenal year: revenue and staff headcount both grew in the ballpark of 60% over 2016. Our new prompt tools were a breakout success and promise to be a foundational element of how we build software at BombBomb for the next few years.
2017 started with me having 16 direct reports across two teams: IT and Software Engineering. Over the course of 2017 I hired about 15 people, mostly software engineers. To make this at all sustainable, I had to graduate some exceptional engineering leads into formal team leaders.
This was the first time any of these six team leads had formally had direct reports. There was a fair bit of growing pains:
We all read through The Five Levels of Leadership to gain a baseline shared language for our first few steps into this new responsibility step. We also set up a regular lunch with that group to share stories and troubles.
I hopped out to NYC in January to attend the inaugural Hacker Connect. This event is a Real Estate technology get-together for people pushing standards and innovations in that space. I especially enjoyed the talks on Blockchain for Real Estate and AR and VR for home tours.
DVLP Denver is an awesome little conference put on by some technologists in Denver that had an eclectic mix of speakers touching on all things internet technology. The venue was especially delightful: four small art galleries in Denver’s Santa Fe arts district. BombBomb sent a contingent of four of us.
The best long-term takeaway for me was getting into the DenverDevs slack community. This is one of the best virtual professional technology communities I’ve ever encountered. There’re a number very helpful channels on specific technologies, and a playful community in general. Check it out!
I learned about the NYC CTO Summit on a Wednesday and the next Monday I was on a plane. It was a wild hair, but it worked out great! My favorite presentation was by Yvette Pasqua titled, “Tackling technical debt at scale”. We’re putting a Continuous Application Health program together at BombBomb in Q1-2018 and we’re all very excited about the prospect.
2017 was about change and growth for me. Kids, houses, and starting to become a leader of leaders added up to a lot of gnashing and learning by failure. I intend for 2018 to be more about refinement and polishing the new world I inhabit.