Drive. This was the word that I chose as a theme for 2016. I wanted to be better at pushing things forward, specifically with personal projects, and to do more driving in the garage queen parked downstairs. I managed to make it to a track day at Laguna Seca this summer, I completely failed to ship a single side project this year.

my favorite photo of the year. credit to #gotbluemilk hanging out by the corkscrew. #bmw #m3 #lagunaseca

A photo posted by sven chen (@pistevo) on


It has become a rather popular meme this year to blame 2016 as a sh!tty year that just needs to end. And while I personally think it all started downhill when the San Jose Sharks lost in the Stanley Cup Final, what better time than now to reflect on the positive, rather than the fact that we have a classless president-elect.

The Biggest Win

The single best decision I made all year was making the leap of leaving what would be a well-known and, in hindsight, very comfortable job to work at one of the fastest growing enterprise software companies ever. It has been a crazy 9 months at Slack and the company has almost doubled in headcount since I joined, but I couldn’t ask for a better place to work. The people behind the product are amazing and I can’t wait to see what we ship in 2017.

The Best Purchase

After many, many years of searching the internet for modified Honda Ruckus’, I finally bit the bullet and bought one of my own. There were very few that showed up on craigslist used for a reasonable price so I bought a new old stock 2015. Not having to be crammed in to someone else’s armpit, get stuck in an underground tunnel because of a street car delay, or wait for an hour for a bus that ironically is called “the express” has infinitely improved my quality of life. Add to that the feeling of freedom you get on a two-wheeled motor vehicle and you end up with a ridiculous amount of joy from a little 49cc scooter.

The Most Unexpected Joy

Owning a Volvo. If you asked me when I was 16 if I would ever own a Volvo SUV I would have laughed at you. The 3rd row seating has come through as an extremely useful addition and while the steering has the response of a wet noodle, it still reaches 0-60 in 6 seconds. The feeling of safety, the impeccable Bowers and Wilkins sound, and the Range Rover-like presence is something I never thought I would say about a family car. I love our Volvo. Weird.

The Biggest Blessings

Earlier this year my wife quit her high-stress finance job. This meant she no longer had to travel out of town every 3 weeks and that she could take care of virtually all of the pick-ups and drop-offs for our 2 small children. This couldn’t have come at a better time than as I was adjusting to my new job. On top of that, it meant that she was able to travel to Taiwan to spend about 2 weeks on a mother-daughter trip while staying with my parents there. To see the smiles on their faces and to introduce my daughter to “the motherland” is something that could have never happened if she had never taken that risk. And while 2017 looks to be a very different situation for a family, I will always see this year as a year we got to grow closer as a family.

As we close out a weird, terrible, frightening, and uncertain 2016… here’s to hope for the future.