April 18, 2016

Parenting Advice

A month ago I went to brunch with my aunt, uncle, and cousin Joy. We talked politics and discussed family matters and so on. It was your typical family lunch. Towards the end of our conversation, we got on the topic of raising kids who like to learn. This is a topic I think about a lot, especially for my daughter. I left the conversation with a refresher of what to do as a parent, but also tactics that I never thought to do.

Parenting Advice:

  1. Understand how your child learns, early.

  2. Hire mentors as tutors, early.

  3. Learning starts at home.

How my uncle and aunt went about achieving their own tips is interesting. They hired a child psychologist, which allowed them to better understand their kids learning style. They then use this knowledge to match their child to mentors and tutors that could nurture their learning style.

Now, from the sounds of it you would think their kids were mentally challenged but that’s far from the truth. Joy is a STEM teacher in Iowa. Vernon is completing a JD at Boston Law school. They’re suffering from success in most eyes. I believe the reason why is because they started early, and knew that learning begins at home.

January 04, 2016

Hacking Child Care

There are several sites that help parents find a nanny, like care.com, sittercity.com, or your local nanny placement agency. These services are great for setting up child care, but there is a growing number of parents who want to share their nanny with a family (or two).

You can imagine why this would be extremely useful (i.e., split costs, lessen commute, etc). It's a win-win (winning!) because the families get exceptional child care for half the cost, and the nanny gets paid a few bucks more a hour. The challenge is finding a family can be difficult, especially if you want parents who live nearby and share your schedule. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could just go to a site and set-up a nanny share in seconds?

Try Pareday.com if you want to find a family and share a nanny. It's simple and to the point.

Pareday helps parents share a nanny, while hacking child care to be more personalized and cost-effective. My wife and I have been using Pareday to find a family and within a week, met with a family 10 minutes away from our house. We simply signed up, posted what we were looking for, and Pareday told us who was nearby based on our zip code.

Some of the features include:

  • Shows distance between you and other families using your zip code.
  • Send a nanny share request and a message intro.
  • Email alerts matching families to your start date, schedule, and minutes away from you.

Check out Pareday.com today and let me know in the comments what you think!

September 02, 2015

Python and Diversity

NUMFocus is a non-profit organization that supports open-source projects like NumPy, SciPy and Pandas. If your familiar with any of these projects, you should donate to NUMFocus. They also support women and minorities, which I'd like to talk about here.

A couple months back I received a diversity scholarship to PyData Seattle. I wasn't expecting it to attend, but I applied anyway and got the award.

It was obvious that there was an effort to foster diversity at the conf. There was a record amount of women in attendance, discussions on diversity, and increasing demographic that reflects America. As a black male from rural Kansas, I liked seeing a diverse conference. We need more of it, especially in tech.

That is why I believe diversity scholarships should be offered at all tech conferences. It will cut societal bias and make it easier for women and minorities to attend. It's also a good pipeline for companies looking to diversify their team.

I'll end with this. Python is here to stay. Not because it's a powerful language and champions tools for data analysis. It's here to stay because the Python community understands the power of diversity. Just read the diversity statement for proof.

April 23, 2015


I went back and looked at all my old pictures captured in my twenties the other day. That's a good way to remind myself of everything I have to be thankful for, and I have a lot.

One of many things I have to be thankful for is my wife, Tamara. The Saturday before my 30th birthday, she threw me a surprise birthday party. It was crazy but the fact that she planned it while caring for our newborn is a world wonder. I love her for that.


I've lived a fun and happy life. My family and friends are to thank, as well as my threshold for risk and experimentation.

Whatever you do, choose happiness. It's the best way to live.

Here's to another year and birthday.

April 14, 2015

Hackers as Parents

I recently wondered what goes into being a newborn parent. Now I know and it's like a Hacker's life.

I had just got back home from NYC, settled into bed to catch up on emails and Github. Tamara came into the bedroom and sat next to me with a mysterious look. I had mistaken this look as the "I did something wrong" face expression. Instead of telling me what was on her mind, Tamara pulled out her iPad, started video recording, and asked me to sing a song (it's a thing we do every now and then).

After I dodged the sing-a-long, she reached behind her back and handed me a 4-inch device that had been put back into its original package. By this time, I had a good idea what was going down. It was a pregnancy device and it was blaring positive. Emotions were high and my short freak-out found comfort in the process. The process where it takes 9 months to make a baby, and I would need all 274 days to mentally prepare.

I was fucking scared. Even though we had active plans to get pregnant.

What goes into parenting a newborn? It's a question that I asked myself while waiting. After getting advice from friends, parents, their parents, and random people, I concluded that fathering a newborn is as native to me as hacking.

Let's think about some of the most exhausting times when hacking.

Fixing Fires

I hate it when VictorOps alerts me in the middle of the night. The reason I hate it is because it happens at night and the issue is the worst kind - server is down. To dig into my frustration, this means my awesome dream is over and my conscience needs to wake up. This is hard for me to do, and even harder with a newborn.

The same type of activity happens when caring for your newborn, though different state of mind.

When your baby is crying in the middle of the night, hate should not be a thing you think about. So not only do you have to fix the fire, you need to fix it without cursing the problem to resolution. You also have to be curious about what's wrong with your newborn. The two obvious items for my girl is either (a) she wants milk or (b) her diaper needs replaced with a fresh one.

But the point is this - patience is a virtue. You'll learn what this means especially when you become a parent. Real talk.


Ever since college, I've missed out on good sleep. Writing proofs, digesting discrete math, decrypting a lecture of my Danish professor before examination. These things often required sleepless nights.

Once more, work deadlines fuel with adrenaline to ship often end in restless nights. This cultural heuristic is fading, but having a random sleep schedule turns out to be great training for parenting.

Here's the difference though. Parenting a newborn is a Hackathon on repeat forever. I'm only two weeks in and I already feel like a zombie, infested with baby throw up and milk residue. It's a Father's paradise.

Bug Daze

Sometimes when I debug a code error, I get stuck or become tired at looking at the code in question. A break may help but pairing with a co-worker yields more energy, less time wasted and a chance to recognize the power of team.

When Tamara needs rest, I take care of Tayven and try my best not to bug her (unless Tayven wants milk). The last two weeks have been especially helpful because when Tamara and I both need a break, Tamara's mom steps in to watch over Tayven.

Team parenting with Tamara has been powerful and will only get better. It lets each of us renew our energy and load balance our responsibility as parents.

If your worried about parenting a newborn child, being a Hacker has made you better equipped than most. The next step is figuring out how to parent when they're no longer newborns.

I have a year or two to figure that out.