ArtCenter Graduation Spring 2022

I’ve been teaching at my alma matter ArtCenter over Zoom since the middle of the pandemic. What started as one class grew into two classes and two labs this past term.

This weekend I made a 36-hour trip out to Los Angeles to congratulate the students in person and meet my nephew who was born two weeks ago.

Graduation banners

Graduation crowd

Congratulation to Chenxi Lu, Chang Gao, Tong Li, Hamza Salar + all the rest of the graduating class on all your accomplishments.

Design work by Chango Gao

Design work by Chenxi Lu

Design work by Hamza Salar

I also snuck in a quick bit of sightseeing too!

Me with Griffith Observatory in the background

Focus Academy Conclusion

The final two weeks of the Focus Course Academy have concluded and I’m really glad that I started off the year by participating in it.

I’ve defined a set of lifestyle practices that I’ll be working to put in place over the next year. The goal of those is to build up some margin in all areas of my life both so I can navigate challenges better as they come as well as be available to jump at opportunities when they present themselves.

My Lifestyle Practices

After a great week 1, for week 2 of the Focus Course Academy we went through a series of excercises that led to the creation of a list of lifestyle practices we will adopt over the next 12 months. These will our first steps towards long-term goals that we also tangibly defined. Here are mine:

  1. Strength train with push ups (3x a week)
  2. Be showered before 7am (daily)
  3. Write down tomorrow’s most important task (5x a week)
  4. Keep screen time average below 2 hours (weekly)
  5. Keep headphone audio exposure below 20% (weekly)
  6. Read a devotion (daily)

This week was challenging but rewarding – putting down on paper how I want numerous key areas of my life to look 1/5/20 years from now was a really worthwhile excercise that forced me to answer some hard questions.

My Life Vision

I’ve been participating in the beta of the virtual Focus Course Academy. The on-demand course had been sitting 10% done on my dashboard for months and the accountability of this cohort has been exactly what I needed to finish the course. I found going through their Plan Your Year workbook in 2019 immensively helpful in contibuting to my success that year.

I’m going to try and post a quick blog at the end of each week of that week’s final homework item for posterity’s sake.

For week 1, we put together our life’s vision after going through a bunch of excercises. Here’s mine:

In my roles as a husband, father, business owner, teacher, and citizen, I want to express, impart and exemplify the values of being adventurous and full of integrity. I will do this by decisively planning experiences that make memories with my family, endlessly learning so I can share new places to see and problems to solve with my children and students, always advocating for the long-term interests of my family, customers, and neighbors, and ruthlessly guarding my time and attention so that I do the things I say I will.

→ Vue.js Documentary

I finally watched the Vue.JS documentary this weekend. I’ve been using Vue since early 2018 but never knew much about its origin story.

It’s an inspiring story about the growth of a truly independent open source project and is definitely worth the 30 minutes if you’re a Vue developer.

AWS Suspends Parler

I read AWS’ letter to Parler that BuzzFeed published this weekend, AWS’ requests seem extremely reasonable. I’ve dealt with the Trust & Safety team on a few occasions, and at least in my experience, they enforce their rules pretty strictly.

Rather than this being a case of Big Tech’s bias against conservatives, available info makes it seem far more likely Parler got away with a lot that a regular company wouldn’t because someone on the Amazon retail side didn’t want the headlines. The events of last week tipped the scales.

Parler was running a large social network on a relational database at least as recently as this summer, it’s clearly amateur hour over there. Initial reports of a hack right before the service went offline last night seem to indicate not much has improved.

Obviously, I’m speculating here, but so is most everyone else.

If Republicans were serious about fixing the larger issue they are decrying today, they’d start by reversing their previous stance and put a Net Neutrality bill on Biden‘s desk in his first 100 days

Geography Can Shape Opporunity

Having spent the last half-decade of my life in New York City, rural Pennslyvania (Danville), and now a small Midwestern city (Fort Wayne); I’ve been fortunate to experince nearly the full gamut of American life (at least at this latitude).

Today, I finally read the transcript of Joe Biden’s speech almost a year ago at Northwestern University. I think he understands the regional divide in America better than anyone with his platform.

So many people take a negative view towards the half of the populace that doesn’t live near them, not taking the time to understand how their life experiences led them to where they are. I deeply appreciate Biden’s optimism and share it in addition to the fact that he’s contributing specifc, actionable ideas as solutions.

I’m proud to be working in tech in middle America instead of in the VC hubs. I like knowing I’m contributing to the solution instead of furthering the problem.

1026 West Berry Street

Photo of Exhibition Entrance

I stopped by the 1026 West Berry Street: The Fort Wayne Art School exhibition at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art yesterday. It was interesting to learn about the history of art education in my new hometown.

It definitely caused me to reminess of my days at 1700 Lida Street.

Even though it was extremely hard and I work as a developer mostly now, I’m still really glad I studied graphic design at an art school and went through all the foundational classes which that entailed.

It taught me how to create, communicate and execute which remain the core of everything I do and both a developer and business owner. Obviously, those are things you should learn in any program, but I contend that there is something unique about learning design for developing those skills.