I’d like to self indulgently take a look at 2015. It was a pretty satisfying year, by which I mean ‘I did a lot of things I’m proud of’, and not ‘this was an easy year’. This was the hardest year with the most hustle. Let’s look back, shall we?

The Coffee

Easily the most life-changing 30 minutes of my year, we’ll start with a coffee.

The cool thing about asking people for a thing is that the worst they can say is No. You are welcome to entertain versions of events in which you ask and they laugh in your face and humiliate you forever, but those versions of events are so unlikely that they should be immediately discarded in favor of more likely things. Meaning you can ignore those terrible and unlikely outcomes and be left with this: you will never know the answer to your question until you ask, so you should ask.

So here is the single most important coffee of my life: I was an office manager and had been programming for only a few months. By January I thought maybe I might like to go to Hacker School and I mentioned this to several of my friends who are engineers, and each one of them said the same thing: “You should talk to Marc.”

Marc and I worked at the same place. But Marc was Very Busy, and Very Important, and Very Probably Not Concerned About The Office Manager’s Pipe Dream Of Possibly Going To Hacker School And, You Know, I Guess Becoming An Engineer, Nor Was He Likely Very Interested In Helping Her, And Also Very Busy.

I walked around thinking these thoughts for two months, and all the while my friends kept telling me to talk to him.

Then one day in March events conspired at work to frustrate me to the point where I nearly threw my keys at the wall. I am not the kind of person who throws her keys at the wall. I recognized this for what it was, that you can try to ignore your emotions as much as you like but emotions being what they are, they will not be ignored, and if you continue to ignore them they will take over until you, Annie, are standing with your fist clenched around your million keys because you are the office manager and you carry a lot of keys and you consider how surprised and concerned and frankly weirded out your friends who are sitting around you will be if you throw a million keys at the wall and how you can do better than this bullshit.

I took a breath, walked back to my computer, and asked Marc if he had 30 minutes sometime, and a couple weeks later, we got coffee and I dawdled and avoided the subject and talked about work until finally he looked at me and said, “Is this really what you wanted to talk to me about?”

Something something programming, something something Hacker School.

“You should go now,” he said.

“Like now? Like NOW now?”

“You should go now.”

Two months later I was in New York.

The Passport

At the tail end of 2014, fresh off a breakup, I impulse bought a plane ticket to Montreal, which meant I would finally have to apply for a passport.

Did you know that when you apply for a passport they take your birth certificate and mail it off along with the rest of your paperwork? I did not know this. It is nerve-wracking to hand over your original birth certificate and proof of US citizenship to a bureaucracy.

It worked out ok and is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I like Canada.

Never Smile Again

‘Never smile again’ is what you will do when you are parted from your friends. There is nothing I hate more than when friends leave, and hypocrite that I am, I somehow had to cope with leaving all my friends at once. I created a private Slack (guess the name omg guess) when it became clear I was leaving Stripe. I am glad I made this Slack.

New York

Moving to New York for 12 weeks was the hardest thing I ever did, and not something I’m interested in covering in depth, but a few things are notable:

  • I made wonderful friends in New York, and now I’m lucky enough to be a member of the best, most supportive, and most talented community in tech.
  • I learned that the internet is basically just string parsing.
  • I was on the front page of Hacker News twice (#4 and #1), which is weird, especially when you meet people and they’ve read what you wrote about million-year-old pre-internet protocols.
  • Things that kept me alive: phone calls from Lachlan, cherry picking with Danielle and her family, a visit from Bryan, the time Richo gave up on Slack and FaceTime’d me instead because I guess he knew I needed it, Kamal, Liene, the time I found out Tim worked at last.fm, afternoons with Steve, movie night at Heather’s, trading secrets with Jess, a hipster Brooklyn warehouse thing with Zander, watching Shale’s valedictorian speech live thanks to the miracle of the internet.

But I don’t know that I’ll ever look back on New York with fondness. When I left San Francisco everyone said I was doing the best thing for my kids in the long run. I believed this and still do. Everyone said I would enjoy being kidless and free for an exciting summer in New York, and I did try, but there never was a moment when it didn’t hurt, only moments when I managed to distract myself. I tried to focus on programming (in psychology, this is called ‘sublimation’. It is an excellent coping style). I tried to drink the feeling away (not healthy, but classic). I tried to embrace my new friends as well as my old. I started smoking again (sigh) (calm down, I’ve since quit). These things helped me cope, or pass the time, but none of it brought me home.

The Conference Submissions

I submitted to two conferences this year, RubyConf Colombia and Keep Ruby Weird. The former submission was a talk about how I built my own http server and was promptly hacked by a friend. The latter was a talk version of the blog post about old protocols.

One was accepted, and I went to Colombia (with my fancy passport), and I gave a talk about HTTP. The other talk was rejected, but it’s ok, because it turns out I met the conference organizer for Keep Ruby Weird in Colombia and I got to make him feel bad for rejecting me. :D

Colombia is pretty.

The Tweetstorm

I still don’t know how it happened, but this got me a job.

I didn’t intend it to get me a job. I run my mouth off on twitter all the time. I was legit procrastinating studying for tech interviews when Fiona started the hashtag, and I finally had an excuse to say some of the things I’d long been thinking every time tech interviews came up.

There are flaws all over my argument (it’s a tweetstorm, not an outlined, first, second, and third drafted essay), but it struck a chord, and it’s funny, so I’m proud of it. And I got to meet Peter Seibel!

The Hair

I looked good before, but oh man do I look good now.

</br> ⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎⬇︎

Since I was a teenager, I’ve wanted to color my hair, but either I didn’t have the money or I didn’t have a job where that would be allowed. Now I’m a software developer. 💁


2015 was good for a lot of things, but boy, was this not one of them. In fact, this was my worst year since becoming unmarried however many years ago.

By my count, I asked out or inquired directly of eight men for various reasons. I’m quite proud of all eight asks, even if five of them politely declined, and even if, of the three who agreed, only one was I very excited about.

No one asked me out in 2015. One of my friends says I’m intimidating. I’m fine with that.

Finally, there was the one where neither of us directly inquired, it just … was. It was the best one of all, for reasons I could write a book about.


  • I took ice skating lessons!

  • I did some knitting and I did some cross stitch, but not nearly enough.

  • I learned to pick locks.

  • I got super into Doctor Who.

  • It’s hard to estimate, but I did my nails between 80 and 100 times.

2016: Now what.

2015 was … busy. I’d like to think that my goals for 2016 are a lot simpler, but already I find myself hustling the small hustles that add up to the big hustles, like one of my first acts of the new year will be to submit a talk to PyCon (just under the wire, natch), and possibly one or two other conferences.

My main goal for the year is to move out of my tiny studio apartment and into a 2-bedroom in the Sunset – if you’ve got or know of a place for rent, let me know.

I’d like to get good at my job. Less treading water, more moving forward.

Thanks to a bottle of wine a week ago (this is true), I’m heading to Paris in April for the first time ever. I have already pulled out my old French textbook and am determined to finally master le passé composé – or maybe not master so much as I am determined to develop a rudimentary ability to talk about things I did rather than always about things I am doing (ou que je vais faire).

My crafting goals are many, and then of course there is the stack of books piled on the shelf, on the dresser, on the table, and next to my bed that I finally finally have the free time to read.


Literally everyone? Not literally everyone. Everyone whose name got mentioned above and more. A lot of people whose names and whose parts in my story didn’t get told this time around: Andreas (always Andreas, forever Andreas, again Andreas), Ryan, Karla, Julia, Patrick, Sara Michelle, Michael, other Michael, nelhage, Penny, Rob, Clint, Peter, John, Orla, Coda, Ben, Alex. More people than that. Almost all of you. Very nearly everyone. Some of you I suspect will play bigger parts next year.

I am very excited, are you?