In early 2020 I was mulling-over the pain of commuting from my home to Toronto. Having been subjected to a 3hr daily back-and-forth at a previous job, I dreaded the stress of a long trip. My dream of listening to relaxing Podcasts had never manifested. Instead, I would frequently code on the Go-train and the constant distractions sucked the fun out of building software. Covid was initially just a rumor but it soon became apparent that it was a formidable foe of humanity. Confined to the hallowed chambers of my residence, I had the epiphany that the commute would be a thing of the past. I decided to join a Toronto-based fintech firm.
I’ve had a lot of fun at Wealthsimple. I worked with 2 Sr devs to roll out an event-driven Kafka system while the meme-stock frenzy was stil incubating. Just as we deployed our system, order volumes started 10x-ing every month. We were the only Canadian broker to stay up during the 2021 Gamestock insanity and our system was processing tens of millions of events daily. I also built fractional trading with 2 devs, which accounts for about 20% of our order volume these days. The company culture of taking care of each other really spoke to me and I published a tech brief template to help other devs create great project plans. It’s now a standard for all new work at Wealthsimple.
In mid-2021, I decided to switch ladders to management. Drawing from my prior experience at Ritual and my time as a startup founder, I supported our team as we shipped 4 projects in 6 months and hired 3 devs, resulting in a formal change in my title. Our new team is called the Order Pipeline team and we ensure a delightful ordering experience for our clients, from the very first click on mobile to order execution in the market. This year, I really want our team to champion technical excellence - we will enforce best practices in our codebase through tooling (e.g. Sonarqube), e2e integration testing and knowledge sharing via labs. Having helped Jrs become intermediates, I also want to develop Senior talent in the team through our growth-plans and 1-1s. By EOY, our team will execute efficiently and independently, and I hope to apply my learnings to the rest of the org. On a personal front, I hope to absorb as much knowledge from my mentors at work and outside work. Additionally, I want to read at least 3 books this year on management.
If one could filter out news related to Covid just for a moment, fears of climate change, bitter political division, government suppression and AI-doomsday scenarios keep us on edge. On the flip-side, I’m excited about the plummeting cost of lab-grown meat to combat climate change, the potential for blockchain to combat censorship, advances in vaccine-development and the use of AI in self-driving vehicles. We have to remain balanced and examine all the tradeoffs for all the negatives in this world. However, this doesn’t imply that we remain inert. We must try to align with a cause and make changes to solve humanity’s problems. Even small changes can make a difference, for example, consuming less red-meat or contributing to the blockchain community.
Practising mindfulness can help mitigate the impact of stressors and maintain a calm and composed mind. To paraphrase Naval Ravikant “If you stop obsessing over your own story for even ten minutes you’ll realize that we’re really far up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that life is actually pretty good”. To this end, I hope to spend at least 10 mins a day on meditation.