One of my favorite aspects of the end-of-year holiday season is the time I spend relaxing and celebrating the past year. I am not one to champion my wins too much — success is often met with a happy acknowledgement and then it’s back to work — but this year, I wanted to share some of the items that made me proud.
Release of Blockade.io — Last year, I used the holidays to write Blockade — a browser plugin to block malicious infrastructure — that I then released in January. I really enjoy this project for a number of reasons: it’s open source, freely available to anyone and a great demonstration of how serverless infrastructure can be leveraged in security. In keeping with tradition, I worked on some new features this holiday season and plan to release them next month.
Learned the Value in Leverage — When I first joined RiskIQ, I thought the two-man startup approach that made PassiveTotal successful would easily translate to a 140 person company. Not only was I so wrong, but in trying to take on every role, I often burnt myself out. This year, I doubled-down on a different approach — leverage. Instead of writing code myself, I enabled teams of engineers. Instead of trying to balance product direction, I consulted with the product managers. Instead of trying to help close deals, I built materials to make sales more comfortable. In short, I played the long game to scale what I knew I was good at by enabling others and it’s been amazingly successful.
Defined Product Management within RiskIQ — Despite being given the role of VP of Product for RiskIQ in 2016, it wasn’t until this year that I really embraced the challenge. For the first couple of months, I suffered from immense feelings of imposter syndrome. Instead of letting it bury me, I transformed those feelings into fuel to learn more. I spoke with others in the industry, watched videos online, read books and adopted practices that were proven to work. In closing out the year, I still feel like there’s so much to learn, but instead of being filled with fear, I am excited at the prospect of what’s next.
Started Roasting Coffee and Released a Roasting Platform — I’ve been obsessed with coffee for years and decided 2017 was the year I take control of another part of the process, roasting. Using videos from Youtube, I learned about coffee roasting and bought my first roaster. Unsatisfied with the existing roasting software, I built a platform to help organize my coffee data and it’s now my primary toolset for tuning roasts. Roasting coffee has been extremely gratifying and has unlocked a lot of new opportunities.
Collected New Tools to be a Better Person — Deep stuff, I know. In all seriousness, I was fortunate enough to attend a leadership class midway through the year that focused heavily on understanding the perspective of others and being in tune with your own behaviors. What I enjoyed about the class was that all the tools they offered were already within me as a person, it was just up to me to apply them. I still find myself struggling to apply every lesson I learned and know I will never be perfect, but I am doing more now than ever before to be a better person.
Improved my Health and Cutback Drinking — I’ve been working out on a regular basis for well over a decade now, so my fitness level has always been great. This year, I started spending more time watching my diet — mainly what I was eating. I also took note of my alcohol consumption and made a dedicated effort to assert control over my drinking by introducing dry periods. I learned a lot from experimenting with different ways to stay in shape and look forward to keeping the practices next year.