A nerd pretending to be a software engineer.

Retrospective - 2017

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Another has passed! A day in the new year is a good time as any to take a pause and look back to see how the year has been, and I think as far as a verdict goes, I can only say the year 2017 has been a mixed bag for me.


I accomplished many things that I’m quite proud of at work this year, yet I would be hard pressed to say that it has been a great year. Just shows how much can happen in such a short time in the startup world.

  • 👍 I started my current job around May 2016, and with that, 2017 has been the first year in which I worked entirely as a full-time remote employee. Looking back, the year started off pretty great.
  • 😀 More productivity! I have gotten much better at managing my time and focusing at the tasks at hand. I learned to not let Slack and email notifications to be that much of a disruption as they used to be in the beginning. My family members also finally got used to the idea of “working from home”, which also helps in this aspect.
  • 😀 Been part of a great team. We were able work with some new technologies to ship a critical-piece of software and see it get used on the ground.
  • ☚ī¸ A restructuring in the company has resulted in my team getting cut. Plans to expand the team further had to be reversed, and projects had to be scrapped. Lost a number of key team members and the team pretty much ended up with a bus factor of 1 (me).
  • 😰 I ended up being stressed out most of the time. Too many pucks ending at me made me feel restless. The uncertainties around the company direction also made it difficult to prioritise the work to do.
  • 😐 We still managed to ship a number of new features and keep improving the software, and we are somewhat still cruising along with some improvement in the metrics, but morale has low for quite a while.

The year 2017 at work started out amazing, though halfway through the year the situation changed quite drastically. The uncertainty is still continuing to the new year, and its time I look back and see what steps to take next.


  • 😀 Learned functional programming with Elixir and was able to ship a software to production with it! Too many things learned from this experience to list down here. I’m hoping to finish a number of drafts on this topic this year. For now, suffice to say that learning the immutable functional programming paradigm of the language and the concurrency model of the Erlang VM has been one of the most valuable thing I learned as a programmer, which would keep paying dividends even when I’m working with an imperative or OO languages.
  • 📖 Bought a Kindle Paperwhite in late 2016, and it has been the best investment in a gadget I made. I was able to finish 30+ books in 2017. I used to read mostly non-fiction books, as I felt like I needed to “gain” something from reading a book. I think the Kindle helped me learn to read just for the sake of the pleasure of reading, because it made it so effortless to start reading. Most of the books I read this year are fiction, mostly mysteries, my vice, but I also managed to read literatures like Kafka on The Shore which turned out to be much more interesting that I expected.
  • 💡 Got into a new hobby of tinkering with electronics that started with a random Raspberry Pi purchase. Started out with a simple programmable lamp outlet, but soon started spending a lot more money on this new hobby than I expected, so need to dial it back a little. But it has been fun. I already got a number of projects in mind that I would like to play with, and I’m looking forward to learn more about electronics in this new year.
  • Stopped using Facebook and Instagram, and learned to use the mute filter on Twitter. Pulled myself out of a number “online communities”. Much better for my mental health.


  • 👍 Managed to exercise quite constantly. I was able to wake up early and go for a morning run 3 days a week most of the year. There were weeks that I skipped because of travel or weather or other reasons, but there were also a number of weeks where I managed to put in 4-5 runs in a week. So I’ll mark this a yay.
  • 👎 Didn’t eat all that well. Many unhealty meals and snacks (Really though, Indonesian food are soo hard to resist!). Ended up not losing as much weight as I would like to.
  • 😰 Started getting pain in my wrists. I’m not sure if it is because of the mechanical keyboard that I got or if it is because of the long periods of reading on the Kindle (I tend to hold it by resting it on my thumb). I ended up switching back to my old low-profile bluetooth keyboard, and got a holder to help me grab on the Kindle. Not sure which of the two helped, but the pain seems to have subsided for now. I hope it won’t be back again.

End Notes

The situation at work has a way of affecting other aspects of one’s life, and I’m not any better in keeping them contained than most. Ended up with a number of side projects and blog posts drafts I didn’t manage to finish. This kinda left a rather unsatisfying end to the year, but nevertheless, I’m aiming to finish soon in 2018.

That said, its never too late to do anything worth doing. There are many things to look forward to in 2018. Been learning and reading on data science and machine learning, been considering joining a gym to improve my health, and who knows what else would come up or what they will lead to.

To chances in the new year! đŸŽ‰đŸŽ‰đŸŽ‰

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