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.

April 23, 2014


Today I turned twenty-nine. As a new tradition, I'm writing twenty-nine things I've learned in twenty-nine years.

  • Whenever a friend is on your mind contact them.

  • If you believe but don't expect you will never receive.

  • Take time to understand your interest and values; it'll help you focus, live more, and get ahead.

  • Expectation is acting on what you believe (your faith) before you see it.

  • You'll never have a breakthrough year if you focus on a breakdown year.

  • Money is a medium. Wealth is value.

  • Goals should always be aligned with values.

  • Under schedule and you'll have meaningful time to reflect and engage in leisure.

  • Like what you have to do; don’t do too much of it; get the most out of the free time that remains.

  • Stand out by means other than simply outworking peers. Be impressive.

  • Maximize rewards and interesting opportunities afforded while minimizing time investment and schedule footprint.

  • I've defeated statistics but my impact in society is not done.

  • A certain substance is really good.

  • I finally came to the realization that I will never get "into" sports. It's just not me.

  • Leaving Facebook and Instagram wasn't hard. It only made Twitter more interesting and valuable.

  • Being a star was never in God's plans. Remember this and you'll be full of Earth.

  • I don't like seeing my mom cry; losing my brother was emotional and still is.

  • Node.js isn't that bad.

  • I feel naked without a wristwatch on. I like watches.

  • Shipping is hard. Fitting a culture unlike you is even harder.

  • Marriage is cooler than I imagined; Tamara makes it beautiful.

  • Time swiftly passes.

  • Learning to think big is easier when you focus on less and meditate.

  • Knowing people use software I've open source is soothing.

  • I was reminded recently that understanding how to perform CPR is important. Learn.

  • Tamara and I are living a pretty awesome life. I'm continuously happy.

  • Vinyl records sound warmer than digital records.

  • Tattoos will be in my near future.

  • I want an experience, not money, not celebrity.

December 29, 2013

2014 Goals

This is my first time publicly writing about my annual goals, or any goals for that matter. I typically write them in a notebook or my Mac's text editor, then share them with Tamara. This routine has worked okay, but its largely been ineffective and loose.

This doesn't mean Tamara hasn't been a good support person. She's always cheered me on. Usually through packaged messages, reminding me that I have moobs or need to follow through with X. The problem has been me not honoring those goals.

If I had a blame card to give out it would say, "Royce doesn't document or track annual goals wisely".

So for 2014 it felt right to put my goals out there. The plan is to reflect next December on what went well and what didn't, sorta like Justin Mares 2013 reflection post but with more swagger. I also plan to track everything on a domain (more about this below). Hopefully the experience is insightful.

Welp, here goes a new thing...

10 goals for 2014

  • Go on (minimum) 12 dates with Tamara.

  • Pay off debt (i.e., student loans) and have a net worth of $0 or more.

  • Read 12 books from front to back.

  • Write 12 quality and useful blog posts.

  • Recieve A+ grade on 3 CS graduate courses (Taking 3 classes at CU Boulder next year towards CS Masters).

  • Exercise 208 times for at least a full hour (At a rate of 4 times a week).

  • Reduce body fat by 8 percent. Currently at 26.6 percent. Note: Follow Twitter hashtag #moobdiet for updates.

  • Create one or more software-oriented products that generates $20,000 in revenue.

  • Go on a 1 mile jog with Layla once a month.

  • Increase emotional and spirtual energy. Note: I'll do this by reviewing techniques from Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time once a month, meditating daily, and showing appreciation often.

How I plan to measure

I'll be using a mix of Fitbit, Foursquare, Google Cal, and other stuff for measurement and progress. All data will be viewable at a new site (, which isn't up yet but will be soon. I'll be using APIs for most of the data, other data will be punched in manually. You can think of as a quantified selfie site that serves as a one-stop progress dashboard. I'll tweet about the new site when its shipped.

As far as that last goal, I hope to compile feedback from Tamara (pretty sure she'll have tons of it), local friends and family. I'll summerize this feedback along with stats from in the end of 2014 results post.

Anyway, wish me luck. Happy New Year! As for you...

What are your goals? Let me know on Twitter