X at Y. Previously A, B, and C.

You've seen this type of bio all over the web. "X at Y. Previously A, B, and C." I've been guilty of having this kind of bio since joining Twitter back in December 2011. I would list the company I'm currently at and those I worked at previously, without realizing it covers up who I truly am. I am not my job and my job isn't me. There is much more beyond my online bios that makes me tick. Moving forward, I want to be more authentic.

This thought popped into my head on my daily commute into Manhattan from Brooklyn. I was listening to Marco Arment's interview on the Inquisitive podcast. The first question asked was what he wanted to be known for1. His answer resonated with me. Marco would like to be known for his principles. Whether he is working on applications like Instapaper or Overcast is transient. The guiding principles with which he builds these projects don't change. That's how Marco would like to define himself.

This theme reminded of why I rarely follow brands on Twitter. I'd much rather follow the makers behind the products and services I use every day. I want to hear about their stories, lives beyond the office, and breakfast disasters.

Tess Rinearson sums up this trend of "personal branding" pretty well.

I don't want to fit this mold. So, let's get to know the real Jasdev. I'm constantly building habits. My favorite emoji is πŸš€. I used to compete on a bhangra team for three years. I probably follow more corgi accounts on Instagram than human accounts. I'm currently making an effort to read more books each year. Space will always fascinate me2.

Now that you've learned a bit more about me, I want to hear about the real you online. That's because beyond the 'resume' lens of your past is an amazing person who deserves to be celebrated regularly πŸ‘ Let's sprinkle a bit more authenticity into the world.

1: Discussion ends around 4:25. The link is timestamped to the beginning of the question.

2: I wanted to be an astronaut growing up!

One Surprise from Using the 24-Hour Format

As an experiment, I switched the time format on my devices to 24-hour. The justification was my OCD with saving space on status bars and simpler time math.

watchOS Watch Face

OS X Menu Bar

iOS Status Bar

However, the lack of AM and PM wasn't the only benefit I noticed. My perception of time changed. When I glance at my watch in the afternoon and see 13:00, it's much more intimidating than 1pm.

My brain now has this subconscious dialogue:

"Holy crap! 13 hours of the day have gone by? Time to focus, Jasdev. You got this."

The 24-hour time format allows me to better grasp the length a calendar day, instead of splitting it up modulo 12. However, the tricky part in keeping this appreciation is that a large majority of clocks in U.S. default to 12-hour. In retrospect, it almost feels silly that we necessitate the use of AM and PM through the 12-hour format.

The Value of Conferences

I'm a huge fan of Sean Rose. He is a forward-thinking mind in the world of product/platforms and is currently helping Slack on their mission to reinvent team messaging. One of his tweets made me think quite a bit about the value of conferences.

I had recently been lucky enough to attend Swift Summit, a conference for Swift developers in San Francisco. It was honestly one of the best decisions I've made as a young iOS developer. I wanted to offer a perspective on conferences that Sean's tweet misses.

Humanizing Your Heroes

A quote I used to swear by is "keep working until your heroes become your peers." I've have since modified my mindset towards this idea. Your heroes are really no different than you are. They may have a years of experience under their belts, but life is isn't about Y-intercepts. It's all about your slope. Conferences help remind me of this.

At Swift Summit, I met so many people I look up to including Chris Eidhohf, Felix Krause, Sam Soffes, and Grant Paul. A few of us even got sushi together! It was like a Swift developer's dream come true!

Meeting Chris, Felix, Sam, and Grant in person humanized my mental notion of them. Instead of only interacting with them on Twitter, I got to hear about their unfiltered day-to-day lives, fun hobbies, and work ethic. Ryan Hoover recently relayed this idea in his post about the value of Product Hunt LIVE Chats.

"Sometimes we’re given a chance to connect with our seemingly unreachable heroes thanks to the Internet, and recognize that they’re human, too." - Ryan Hoover

Fostering Community

Today most digital communities coalesce around forums, subreddits, private Slack rooms, and ad hoc Twitter circles. No matter how intimate these places are, nothing beats nerding out with a venue full of like-minded people. Every so often at Swift Summit, I'd look around and soak in the fact that I'm amongst a portion of the world's Swift community and that I belong! This helps remedy the occasional loneliness that creeps up with being buried in Xcode all day.

These are just a few of the reasons I love attending conferences in person. While events like Swift Summit do a great job making all of the videos accessible to those who cannot attend, I wish there was a way to lower cost as a barrier (potentially with attendee sponsorships). More frequent, local meet ups are also a way to tackle this :)