Ghost Town by Kanye West. What a real touching album. Short, sweet, to the point. You do you Kanye, hopefully forever.
Last Friday was my one year anniversairy at Astranis. In college, it was super easy to keep track of the years. I can look at my transcript and pin individual memories to classes, projects, houses, friends, all the good stuff. It’s not quite as good as Facebook, but it’s a pretty damn near perfect log. Now I’m stuck in the real world though - so what happens here? There’s no obvious delineations between years. Life just kind of continues onwards. I guess I need to find my own milestones in all of that. While ideally there exists some kind of work life balance, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with keeping track of life milestones through my job. For me, it’s a pretty convienent checkpoint between the end of the year and the start of the next one too. Let me break down the things I got quite good at this year, starting with work and moving on to life on the whole.
This was not the opener I would’ve expected! Once I joined back Astranis back in August, I was immediately promoted to person who is kind of the most qualified to hire more EE’s. Ok, that seems nice I guess… oh wait, I have to interview people? According to our hiring tool, I’ve done 127 interviews since I’ve started. Sorry to those first few people, but it did not start off well. I didn’t really know what to do, who to hire, or what to do? But with some research and some practice, I think I got pretty good at it. I’m still not in love with trying to interview people who are technically senior1, but I’ve gotten over my fear of it.
Designing Hard PCBs
What’s different between a PCB and a chip? Not too much. I designed a couple 4 layer boards in college, but my chip took 10 layers to get working (9M1P, for the curious). I never got a chance to spin a big fancy board, though I always wanted to. Nowadays, I can spin a 10 layer board in around… well, a day! That was an awesome experience last week. I spent a couple days triple checking the schematics [it was a respin of something we had a few dumb bugs with], and I just decided to sit down and get it done. Lo and behold, boom, in one day2. I have really fallen in love with Altium as a tool, big shoutout to them.
This one isn’t as big a shocker, but I’m still happy to include it. I knew that I loved teaching and providing technical mentorship in grad school, and I’m just really glad I get to keep doing that. This is a combination of being the “lead” in what I do and having interns. Liberal use of “lead” here - mostly just because it’s a startup! Eventually I will secede technical leadership, but not just yet. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on my presentation styles, and I really owe it all to my adviser. Thanks so much Pavan!!
I read a friend’s blog post semi-recently about how learning at your job is overrated. Yeah um, friendship with that person is on the ropes now, but the point is that they’re so insanely wrong. I have learned some amazing things about this industry. Some are technical: radiation effects, thermal designs, DFT/DFM. Some are work related: GNC, astrodynamics, coding good. Some are just startup life: fundraising, VCs, how to balance priorities.
Living in a city means there’s always a hundred things to do. Actually getting out of my house and doing any one of things has been the hard part. With my bike and my Kindle, I have no excuses anymore. I feel a lot free-er to just go out and live my own life. Go to that concert alone? Sure! Meet up with some random people in the park? Why not. Bike for a few hours but don’t see anything new? Also totally cool. Just do it, yo.
Old School Upkeep
Looking back at my goals for the year, I just wanted to read and write more. Happy to say I’ve done that. I’ve said this 100 times at least, but I feel like the goal of all these habit trackers is to just build your habits up. They’ve successfully done that! I feel bad when I don’t read or write. I love this little site on the internet, even more now that I frequently update it. When I don’t write in a long time, I get this odd yearning that I need to start writing something down somewhere.
I think the major theme I’ve learned from all of this is that, guess what - practice makes perfect. No secrets there. Maybe next year I’ll really put two and two together and figure that out ahead of time.