2011 Year in Review

2011 was a tumultuous year for Nathaniel Welch. In 2010, I said that in 2011 I would graduate from college, travel Europe and move to a city. Seems like a lot for a year, right? Well I agree, but I was successfully pulled them off. On top of those three things, I also quit my job at iFixit, started working at Punchd, which then got acquired by Google. Insanity.

Some of this insanity is visible in Last.fm's graph of my year's listening trends

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlnwelch/sets/72157626948243548/with/5826629101/" title="cpgrad2011-221.jpg by dlnwelch, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3502/5826629101_615de8c6b0_m.jpg" alt="cpgrad2011-221.jpg"></a>

We can see I listened to more music during winter quarter when I was applying to jobs and also trying make sure I graduated on time. Around May and June, my listening started to calm down. I was pretty sure I was in the clear, but still freaking out a little. Then, on June 11th, 2011, I graduated!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/5971070357/" title="Nat and Eifel Tower by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6129/5971070357_58895612ab_m.jpg" width="180" height="240" alt="Nat and Eifel Tower"></a>

Then, you'll notice a giant dip in listening. All of July, I was in Europe (I didn't write nearly enough about my trip...) and June was spent moving and visiting people.

In August, I moved to the Parkside District in San Francisco and started working at Google! Google has been a lot of fun, although I must admit switching from a forty person company, to a six person company to a thirty thousand person company has not been easy. College taught me how to work in small groups and write code. It did not teach me how to play the politics game though.

Near the end of August, I drove up to Seattle with my buddy David Horn. We attended PAX with the always entertaining Mark Gius and I visited my cousin Becky and her Husband Jeff. Tons of fun was had by all despite our car troubles.

September was fun as well. There was a brief excursion to Hardly Strictly to see Broken Social Scene (which reminds me, I also went to Outside Lands). Also, my good buddy Kareem and I went to Strange Loop 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri. I'd highly recommend any programmers who can go check out the conference. I learned a ton and met some really interesting people.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/6271104101/" title="Bird in SF by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6231/6271104101_0c758217df_s.jpg" alt="Bird in SF"></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/6022320198/" title="Playing grown up. by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6142/6022320198_4f914b7ed5_s.jpg" alt="Playing grown up."></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/6271097107/" title="Mass Effect 3 by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6060/6271097107_a8a7f3ccb1_s.jpg" alt="Mass Effect 3"></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/6271628778/" title="St. Louis by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6111/6271628778_753b521db7_s.jpg" alt="St. Louis"></a>
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/6271106081/" title="Presenting at Cal Poly by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6035/6271106081_4f0259d38e_s.jpg" alt="Presenting at Cal Poly"></a>

In October, Punchd went down to Cal Poly to recruit for Google. This was really cool because we got to present in front of around 150 people. I don't think I did too well on my section, but oh well, it all worked out. Also, in October, Steve Jobs died. But I'll get back to that.

In November and December, I finally started to get into the swing of things. Most of my time was occupied by work or hanging out with friends. I got to go to a few concerts and catch up with a few people I hadn't seen in awhile. Also, I was able to meet some famous people, thanks to Google: Matz (the creator of Ruby), Bryan Voltaggio (famous chef) and a few guys from Stone Brewing Company.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/icco/6271104727/" title="Downtown Palo Alto Steve Jobs Memorial by Nat W, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6104/6271104727_c08979b396_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="Downtown Palo Alto Steve Jobs Memorial"></a>

Okay, back to Jobs. So, for those of you who know me well, I love create stuff. Probably one of the more fundamental beliefs I have is that empowering yourself and others with the ability to create new things (no matter the size or complexity) is one of the most important acts you can do.

Steve Jobs did this. I haven't read his biography, nor did I ever meet him, but Jobs and Apple created great tools that let the people of the world create. Sure, some of their policies have been incredibly harmful to both journalism and technology, but when someone dies, I think it's important to look back and remember the good that they caused in the world. Steve Jobs pushed Apple to create amazing tools that pushed the boundaries of design and technology, which made the world a better place. To remember him, I made a trip down to the Downtown Palo Alto Apple Store. I took a picture, spent a little money and then went and got a cup of coffee.

Later that day, I continued coding. I didn't necessarily do it for Jobs, but it was interesting to think about the effect he and his company have had on my life.

Later in the year Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the C programming language, also passed away. Ritchie also had a big impact on my life, because C was the first language I ever really felt comfortable with.

Anyways, those are just some thoughts of mine on the subject, since I didn't put them anywhere else.

I was hoping to get together a graph of my GitHub commits, but I didn't get that far. I'll see if I can pull together some sort of review of my programming feats this year by February.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dlnwelch/6494262343/" title="Welch Family by dlnwelch, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7147/6494262343_ab28a67d9e_z.jpg" width="640" height="425" alt="Welch Family"></a>

Happy Holidays to all!

P.s. You can also read my family's Holiday Letter if you'd like.



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