Hi, my name is

Arne Roomann-Kurrik

This is my blog.

2017

I tried something new in 2017, which was to make a set of personal OKRs to fulfill throughout the year. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) are typically used as a planning framework by companies (both Google and Twitter implement them) but I had never tried to structure personal goals in this way. I’m not sure it’s a general approach I’d recommend for anyone else, but I like the idea of taking a set of abstract goals and trying deconstruct them into measureable tasks.

I respect the effects of small adjustments to habits compounded over time. New Year resolutions have been effective ways for me to implement such changes. In 2014 I started making one-second-per-day videos (and have done so in 2014, 2015, and 2016 so far!). In 2015 I started regular Rosetta Stone lessons to learn Mandarin. In 2016 I tracked my weight and food every day with the intent of losing 30 lbs by the time my daughter was born. In 2017 I wanted to be healthier, happier, grow intellectually, and create things. I’m writing this as a postmortem on the process, and an accounting for how I think it went.

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Reading List - 2017 Books

At the start of 2017 I, feeling a little unproductive, defined a set of goals which I’d try to achieve by the end of the year. It was around this time that I, feeling a little unhappy in my job, started looking at other places to work. While I was investigating the culture and history of Stripe (which I ultimately joined) one very common theme was how voracious of a reader its CEO Patrick was.

Reflecting on the meager list of books I’d completed in 2016, I realized that my own reading pace had dwindled over the years. Back when I commuted to Mountain View from SF, I generally had multiple hours per day to read. That became maybe 40 minutes each day when I started taking Muni to work downtown. When Twitter moved its office to within walking distance I basically stopped entirely, not making up in reading the time I was gaining from a shorter commute. I missed the depth I felt that I got from reading books and figured the best way to bring that back was to construct a goal of reading a specific quantity this year.

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Hackathons

The first time I remember hearing the term “hackathon” out loud was when I was a couple weeks into my employment on Google’s Developer Relations team. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do to help bootstrap developers for the nascent OpenSocial project. Patrick Chanezon, the Developer Advocate on the project, said something like “we’re going to cold call a bunch of social app authors and hold a hackathon to test out the API” which hadn’t really been done before—we were helping pave a new path for the company at the time. That first event was kind of a mess. I remember stalling for time with a room full of developers since our test server wasn’t booting correctly. An engineer was hurriedly trying to fix things so that the attendees could get to work.

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The Exterminating Angel (1962)

The premise for Luis Buñuel’s THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL is that a group of socialites are unable to leave a parlor following a dinner party. This is about as much as I knew going into it, which was exciting, since the premise works better that way.

I figure that if you’re going to keep people in a room there’s a few ways it can go. The most obvious is that the room is literally locked or blocked off and those folks need to escape it physically. In this case that seemed unlikely, mostly because the movie is named The Exterminating Angel and that would be a pretty bad name for a movie about a locked room.

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Timebox

Since starting a new job tends to involve a lot of reflection on the prior one, I’ve spent some time recently thinking about my time at Twitter. While there were both good and bad parts, I generally feel like I had a few great opportunities to participate in product design and understand how even simple looking products tend to have a lot of hidden edge cases and adjustments to smooth those over.

I generally use the example of analytics.twitter.com. Superficially, this site has a very direct purpose–to show you numbers associated with your Tweets. But as my team started exploring a landing page which would show aggregated impressions, we found all sorts of cases which would surprise our customers.

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Elsewhere

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