On Heroku and 2012

Alas, 2012 is quickly coming to a close. This has been an absolutely incredible year — easily the best of the mere twenty-four I've experienced so far. I became a member of the Python Software Foundation, traveled all over the world, met several thousand inspiring software developers, and collaborated on dozens of incredible projects.

It's important to reflect; perspective is everything.


I officially joined Heroku exactly one year ago today. It's amazing how time flies.

Heroku is directly responsible for the majority of my satisfaction of the past year. I feel incredibly privileged to work with this fine group of individuals — the most talented, classy, supportive, attentive, and caring group of people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Words can't serialize how much I recommend working for Heroku. If you are speaking at a conference, Heroku will fully fund your trip. If there's a natural disaster in your area (e.g. Super-Storm Sandy), you will be contacted by a dedicated member of the Vibe team, ensuring your family's safety, accommodation, and well-being.

The strangest part of the Heroku environment is our unlimited vacation policy. My job consists primarily of two things: Making Heroku awesome for Python, and Making Python awesome for Heroku. I took a week off after a six-week world tour last month, but kept finding myself doing what I love to do — my work.

I'm looking forward to many more years with Heroku.

Accomplishments & Goals

For years, I dreamed of being a well known member of the open source community. I spent hundreds of nights obsessing over other's code and developing my own development style and philosophies.

Much to my surprise, all of that work really paid off. Today, I'm the #1 most followed Python GitHub user and the #17 most followed GitHub user in total. Requests has been downloaded 1,500,000+ times and is indirectly helping change the world. OSX-GCC-Installer reached over 46 TB of downloads and directly inspired Apple's Command-Line Tools.

It's humbling to look at those metrics, as vain as they are. Validating your work is important.

Traveling the World

I've spent the majority of my time this year traveling. It's a bit daunting to think about, honestly:


One year ago, I had given only one talk in my entire life (PyCodeConf) and didn't even own a passport.

This year alone:

  • 139,669 miles traveled by air
  • 139 hotel nights.
  • 29 talks given.
  • 20 conferences attended.
  • 11 meetups attended.
  • 8 countries visited.

I also rediscovered my deep love for Photography:






(More over at 500px)

And even got the chance to reconnect with friends from past lives:



Lessons Learned

I spent most of my life moving around the country. Between 8th and 10th grade, I attended seven different schools. Being out of my element is my element. I've learned a lot during my travels. You have lots of time to reflect and get to know yourself.

Considering being a developer evangelist?

  • You'll get lonely.
  • Personal time is essential. Relax and enjoy yourself.
  • Window seats are awesome. Anyone who disagrees has no soul.
  • Less is more. My travel kit has slowly shrunk to a single small backpack.
  • You'll meet more people than you can imagine. You won't remember names. Just ask.
  • Your influence and audience is much larger than you think. The majority of your users are unspoken. How often do you reach out to the author of a library you love?

It's the best job on earth.

Personal Values

In closing, I'll leave a short list of my personal values. They haven't changed much over the years. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

  • Life's not a race, but there's no speed limit either.
  • Positivity. Negative atmospheres are toxic. Remove yourself from them.
  • Fallibilism & Open Mindedness. There is only one thing I can be certain of in life: that I am prone to error. Nothing saddens me more than someone who is unwilling to listen.
  • Attention is your only currency. Allocate it sparingly. Don't spend a single moment in life doing something you don't want to do.

Here's to 2013! Hopefully the Mayans based their calendar on the Twinkie.