RC Day -1: Goals for RC

Aug 13 2017

Tomorrow begins my 12-week stint at the Recurse Center, hereafter “RC” :)

In the spirit of SMART goals, here are some specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely goals I’ll grade myself on at the end of RC.

Pair with people and build great relationships

RC’s guide mentions that “I wish I had paired more” is one of the most frequent pieces of feedback from alumni – even when they’ve been told this in advance!

Having social anxiety, this isn’t the easiest thing in the world for me, but it’s something I’d like to get better at. RC will be full of fascinating people with skills I don’t have, and sharpening my programming and interpersonal skills by learning from those folks – as well as imparting what knowledge I can – is the primary reason I applied in the first place!

So, note to self: when you’re thinking that it’s easier to just spend a few hours by yourself, remember this and try to fit in some pairing time.

How will I measure this: in the 12 weeks I was at RC, did I pair at least 36 times (3x/week)? Have I made connections – new friends, colleagues, etc. – that I’ll stick with after RC is over?

Build something cool to show off

One possible idea I had for this is to try to resurrect My Favorite Weather Site of All Time, the late lamented WeatherSpark. The site was the best presentation of weather data I’d ever seen, but it died an ignoble death thanks to being written entirely in Flash. Take a look – how awesome is this?


How will I measure this: did I produce at least one complete project? Was I happy with it?

Renew and continue building my programming and systems skills

The job I just left was educational in many ways, but it didn’t leave much time for nose-to-the-grindstone programming. I’d like to get back into systems development as well as work on some new skills. These might include:

  • A new language: Rust, Clojure, Ruby
  • Refamiliarizing myself with a known language: Lisp, Scheme, C/C++, Javascript
  • A new problem domain: machine learning, graphics, native applications, compilers
  • Deep dives into security

How will I measure this: can I point to at least one concrete thing a week that I didn’t know before?

Share my knowledge with others

I’ve acquired a reasonable amount of hard-won security knowledge in my time at Akamai, some of which is likely to be of interest to other folks. I’ve also had a good amount of experience interviewing people – perhaps I can help others to interview?

How will I measure this: are there people who can say I’ve helped them?

Make more public contributions

These might include:

  • blog posts
  • programming-related tweets
  • talks
  • conference applications

How will I measure this: did I make at least one significant public contribution per week?

Embrace serendipity

RC will certainly involve challenges and new domains I’d never expected.

How will I measure this: did I take advantage of opportunities that came my way? Did I display adaptability in the face of new challenges?

And so it begins

Come back in 12 weeks to see how I did :)

RC Day 0: Welcome, Meeting, Panels, and Presentations → ← Right-Click Image Uploads for Static Sites on macOS