Thursday August 8th

Twilio’s Signal and Github Private Launch

I’ve been swamped

  • Life has been pretty crazy in my last week in SF. I’ve spent time hanging out with friends at my hackerspace, and just wrapping things up before my week in LA; the last week in LA.
  • Interestingly, I’ve also been doing interviews for next summer, among other things. So who knows how things will go. I guess a lot will depend on my advisors, as well (as I am being co-advised)

I attended Twilio’s Signal Conference

  • I had received word that I received a scholarship to attend for free, and to also attend their dinner on Day 0 (since they use zero-indexing). It was really awesome, and I got to dress up as a unicorn-fairy, even!

  • there were a plethora of cupcakes, which did not help my resolve to not eat as much sweet stuff :) The Bay area tech companies are not great for keeping a diet :)
  • M. Glauser gave an amazing talk on the leaky pipeline, and on her organization, Techtonica, which seems to be really an awesome organization to helping underrepresented persons get into tech. It doesn’t take a percentage of your salary, and it also trains companies on how to keep underrepresentations in tech. She spoke about class straddlers, as she saw herself as one; someone who didn’t necessarily grow up with means, and whose relatives were mostly blue-collar, and how that affects having a white-collar job. One example I thought was particularly thoughtful was that people with her background are used to operating independently, and are so less likely to ask for help within their network, for example. So it’s important to recognize when people are struggling with this background and offer to help, etc.


  • Signal was really awesome. I got to custom make my avatar, which I saw as a Batman with a machete and green hair (completely not what it is, but it’s my avatar, so..)

  • Interestingly, my experience was that the conference provided a lot of interesting use-cases for problems in communication and encryption, which is super important to my field of study. So that was especially rewarding, and I came out with at least six more ideas for topics of exploration for grad school (within my field of study).

  • Having the Slack for the scholarship winners was really awesome, because I was able to interact with my peers and have a really welcoming, fun experience at the conf.

I thought I was going to a bash

  • I left work half an hour early because I thought that I would attending a casual drink and hangout. I was really surprised to see an extensive array of food, including oysters.

  • What is crazier is that I went upstairs to use the restroom (the bash was held in a location that used to be a parking lot), and saw a giant screen and an area that looked like a stage. Little did I know, it was a soon to be Macklemore performance. So that was pretty crazy, and a treat.
  • I’m not into Macklemore or anything, but his performance was pretty great.

  • I had been speaking with a guy who just completed his PhD via the Scholarship Slack. We meant to meet up, but there were 4000 people there, and I had given up hope. As I was retrieving my bag, I read the nametag of the person standing next to me, and sure enough, it was him! We ended up chatting about his experience, he gave me awesome tips and he ended by saying “I am rooting for you”. I left on a high.

I got home just after midnight

  • It was a long night, but I got home. A few hours later, I made it over to an Invite-Only, Github Launch event.

It was super cool!

  • Being the person that I am, I found an intern and asked him about his experience. Part of my experience in the Bay area was also to find out from people who worked there (especially interns!) about their experience. A lot of companies and recruiters sell you on their company as ideal, but it’s better to find out from people who have spent their time there. It’s also great to get a sense of the kind of people they have as interns. In this case, I noticed how diverse the office was since the first time I gave a talk there. I immediately struck up a conversation with an employee and soon we were laughing and he asked me my name. It was really welcoming.

  • The launch was about integrating Actions into CI/CD. That blew my mind, because the power of having that is truly incredible. It enables triggers in your yaml file with logs that can be searched, and also having a secrets area for tokens. Really great work.

So my time is winding down

  • But I am definitely going to make it to my Hackerspace before I head out. I’m really excited to start as a grad student. Everything in my journey since February has really reinforced that my decision was a good one. And I’m really grateful for the opportunity to grow and mature and obtain better analytical skills in general, and to get better at Haskell and to learn some Agda.

And that’s it.

Written on August 8, 2019