Archive for May, 2008


May 2, 2008

Disclaimer: This post may contain an inordinate amount of cheesiness, but bear with the author as it is an outpouring of relief before the next wave of madness begins.

I think it would be a fair assessment to say that the last couple of months has been a pretty demanding time at work. The fruits of our labour are now available for public viewing here, and as much as I would have liked that extra hour of sleep occasionally, I have to say that it’s been absolutely worth it.

Of course, none of this would have been worth it, had it not been for the giants upon whose shoulders I’ve been able to stand on and help to build a kickass product. [Clarification: There are more giants, but they don’t have a web-presence]

Some of the lessons that I’ve learnt or would like to learn from my experiences so far [Note: Some or all of this might seem very obvious, but it’s good to reminisce]:

  • What they say about startups being one long roller coaster ride is dead-on. One moment you’re celebrating a significant technical achievement, the next moment you’re despairing at dead servers. I guess what I’d like to do is maintain a zen-like equanimity about it all and is something I have to work on.
  • They say pre-mature optimization is the root of all evil, but pre-mature benchmarking is not. Don’t be afraid to test the edge case and look at performance – for us, it helped to unmask some deficiencies in our solution, which made the common case blazing fast.
  • Don’t take criticism personally. It’s easy to get sucked into trash-talk with customers, managers, partners – you name it, but I think it ties in with maintaining composure and having the belief that every cloud has a silver lining.
  • Taking a break is absolutely crucial. Sometimes the extra hours spent on staring at code, is better spent watching a movie and you end up being refreshed.
  • Management of time is really important and is something I really need to work on. Bring on GTD and RescueTime
  • By nature I am a pretty optimistic person and I think that helps to some degree to overcome troughs in a project (especially when they come along at an alarmingly fast rate)

Of course, there’s only so much you can do personally to get a kick-ass product out in the wild. Like I’ve said before, I’ve had the privilege to work with some amazingly talented people and so here’s my cliched thank you to all of ’em; who I’ve had worked with; played Rock Band/Winning Eleven with; got litres of Red Bull with; discussed architectures and pitfalls with, and overall had an absolute blast.

And also to a few people will remain unnamed, who have tolerated my increasing periods of absentia. Thank you very very much!

Postscript: As soon as I clicked ‘Publish’ I noticed Chu Yeow’s more informative, more contextual post. Check it out!