Inside Out

Notes on seeking wisdom and crafting software

Mistakes were made - 2022 edition

Table of contents

We’re starting a new ritual to celebrate the year gone by. You’re reading the 2022 edition.


  • Reading: 8 papers, 6 books (goal: 22 books).
  • Writing: 5 posts (goal: 12 posts).
  • Work: multiple experiments and adventures.
    • Completed the platform scale project. Moved back to app development.
    • Fixed innerloop/engineering for the team. Embraced monorepo, npm workspaces, jest, axe and a11y, contribution guides and design docs in repo. Created a craftsmanship culture.
    • Tried a large x-org collaboration. 6 months collab and 6 months development.
    • Try the manager role. Checked.
    • Wrote a lot of code as a manager. I know; this one justifies the title of this post in case you were wondering ;)
  • Home: great clarity on processes and tools. I think almost nirvana there.
    • Lab and projects
      • Back to Arch Linux. Other OS was too limiting.
      • Shutdown my old laptop based home server. Moved to ODroid M1. Saved a ton of energy usage for 24/7 selfhosted services.
      • Jailbreak and moved Kindle into permanent flight mode. Upgrade software to KOReader. Zotero for papers is nice.
      • Started writing handwritten digital notes with Deco Mini v7 tablet and Xournal++. Loving the effects so far.
      • Two new software releases: noted and mm.
    • Body and mind
      • Daily journal: 48 weeks. Wrote gratitude journal for last quarter on/off.
      • Started walking and swimming but couldn’t persist beyond a month.
      • Mind vs me: I fought hard, mind won.
      • Philosophy: bunch of theory, less practice. Discovered new podcasts.
      • High consumption of info and low sharing.

Lessons learned

  • This year was a lot of activity at Work. Looking back, I probably focused more on the how than the what. It did help raise the bar, but may be the cost was too high.
  • Technical debt is a choice. Tension between shipping value and crafting great software is real. Most of us err to former. I tried to achieve both and burnt.
  • Learn to say no. I heavily biased towards action and our team shipped pioneered change. Again, the cost was too high. Never take on work without an appropriate level of funding.
  • Leadership is not a one size fits all mantra. I failed miserably doing this, applied same principles to everyone. Got lucky to save the day. Leaving the year with little more emotional maturity.
  • Shipped a bug fix several years late. Customers had assumed the bug to be a feature. Broke the world. Again, got lucky being part of a great team. Consistency matters more than correctness sometimes.
  • Few times I let a broken window stay around. Team suffered.
  • I felt uncertain and questioned judgment several times. I think the ones where I persisted turned out well. Will know this year. Always ask for data when in doubt.
  • Our toddler is more rational and calm than me. Several times I got angry because I didn’t understand his motive. Maybe humans are rational in the beginning until parenting happens.
  • Even after shunning external news, selfhosting and carefully curating what I read, I consumed tons of irrelevant noise. Found myself guilty of mindlessly swiping news from the orange site. More books, more notes and lesser articles.
  • All of us know the truth. We hear the truth and rejoice in the congruency. And most of us still make the mistakes. Sticking to the truth is extremely hard; especially in those moments where you think the world is unfair. This year, I must practice.

Year ahead

  • Reading: 23 books, 23 papers.
  • Writing: 23 posts.
  • Work: 5 experiments.
  • Home:
    • Lab and projects: 5 experiments with 2 AI/ML efforts.
    • Body and mind:
      • Journal: weekly. Gratitude daily.
      • Walk: 2/week. Swim: 1/week.
      • Philosophy: practice 3/week.