Happened Narrated Reflected

To Hannah and Jason

Thank you all for coming today.

I am not normally the type to give wedding speeches. Despite the nearly fifteen wedding ceremonies I have attended since my own wedding in 2002, I have never once been asked to give a speech about the couple. (To be fair to my friends and family, I have not volunteered to, either.)


All News Is Local

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, and this is my pledge post:

I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same.

Now, it would be terribly easy to write a post about Ada Lovelace Day organizer, and close personal friend, Suw Charman-Anderson. So easy, in fact, I feel it would be a bit of a cop out. (Sorry, Suw!)

Instead, I will write about a different personal friend. Because that isn’t a cop-out at all.

A blog focusing on the goings-on of a city doesn’t sound revolutionary in 2009, but in 2002, it was practically unheard of.

In the time since, Jen Chung’s tireless editorial work at Gothamist has been a source of stability in a restless city. Day in and day out, Jen is researching, writing, posting, and responding to the news. Yesterday, she posted 15 separate stories – an average day, from what I’ve seen. In the time since Gothamist was founded, as of when I’m writing this, Jen has written eighteen-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety posts. Just for comparison: in the time it takes me to crank out a single entry, Jen is averaging fourteen – and that’s with me having a two year head-start.

Of course, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts most – and what’s even more impressive is her tireless work to cover the stories that New Yorkers are talking about and affected by. Every major NYC story over the last five years – HookerGate, the Astoria blackout, the Transit Strike, Flight 1549, even the Maple Syrup Mystery – has her fingerprints all over it. Jen’s work helped to ensure that after four years of fighting for a press pass from the NYPD – denied on the grounds of “being a website” – Gothamist was finally issued one in February for a City Hall press conference.
Her job is largely thankless. She is frequently raked over the coals by Gothamist commenters over typos and grammar mistakes. Somehow, under all that stress and pressure, Jen remains down-to-earth, friendly, and personable.

Six years has taken Gothamist from personal blog to indispensable resource. Nearly everyone I know reads it; the New York Times said it “reflects everything worth knowing about this city.” I can’t imagine living in the city without it. (To be fair and also not be beaten to death by other friends, plenty of that cause can be attributed to Jake, Neil, Tien, and the other editors.)

As one of the most prolific, knowledgeable bloggers I’ve ever met – as someone who’s work ethic is unmatched – Jen Chung is the woman in technology I admire.

Debated Reflected

On Goodbyes At The Workplace

As you may know, I work in the education segment of the technology world. This has taught me a few things.

*One*, very few people are here for the money. We tend to be below market price for base salary, and while the difference is usually made up in fringe, many people are looking at that dollar sign for an indication of self-worth.

*Two*, very few people are in it for the prestige. Despite the idea that you are afforded more lulls (not lulz) by the concepts of winter break, or spring break, or summer vacation, you aren’t. There is a constant, overwhelming pile of work – not only to keep the lights on, but to advance the mission as well.

*Three*, because of points one and two, there are a few types of people who mesh very well into this environment. It takes a very particular mix of multitasking, self-sacrifice, persistence, optimism, and zany madcap humor to feel comfortable here. It takes a person willing to trade the spoils for the stability to stay here.

I’m proud to say I work with a handful of people who fit that description. But today, I have to see one leave – not for money, not out of frustration, but to spread her wings and travel the world for a year with her husband.

This wasn’t a surprise, per se; the employee in question was kind enough to give four months notice. But it only really hit me last week, that this constant source of balance and sanity in my workplace is going to be gone as of 5PM today. The contact won’t be gone – I still expect to be chatting endlessly over IM late at night – but the constant interaction will be.

It’s tough losing someone who’s been so valuable to your work experience. And it’s hard, in an environment you’re so used to be professional in, to realize how much certain coworkers mean to you.

Enough melancholy – Paula, it’s been a dream working with you. Thank you for everything. I am undeniably jealous of your plans, and wish you all the best. New York will be here, waiting patiently for your return.