Young Reacts #222

I am excited to share that I am starting my new role as a staff engineer at The Trade Desk in April. I am excited about the role for several reasons, but here is the big one.

When I started my career, I didn’t think much about the domain/industry I was in. I assumed that my team could fill me in when necessary and that the domain knowledge was easy to pick up. So I changed my roles without considering their domains. I moved from data analytics to social media to content producing to e-commerce.

Only when I reached the senior level did I realize that my lack of domain knowledge held me back. Some of my high-performing peers, based on their understanding of the domain, had a vision of how their teams should evolve and were able to hold their teams and partners accountable for business success.

Following their examples, I wanted to build my expertise in an exciting and essential area. And I chose online advertising because it powers most of the consumer internet and continues to evolve due to changing regulations and new media platforms. So I expect this industry will continue to have many opportunities in this industry.

Software Engineering ⚙️

Kill Your Personas

When I thought about accessibility, I only considered those with permanent disabilities. So I often deprioritized accessibility for my products. This article taught me that there are temporary and situational factors, too, and that accessible tools help many more people than those with permanent disabilities.

You Don’t Need a Build Step

Since Deno doesn’t have years of legacy software to support, they challenge the status quo in the ecosystem, which helps me to solidify my mental model. This article taught me to categorize different build steps into two: those that improve the dev experience (compiling, bundling) and those that will enhance user experience (minifying, code-splitting).

How Skyscanner Embedded a Team Metrics Culture for Continuous Improvement

When you roll out new initiatives like team metrics, it’s crucial to take time to win the team’s hearts and minds, which will take much longer than the rollout itself.

Hyundai Promises To Keep Buttons in Cars Because Touchscreen Controls Are Dangerous

This isn’t about software engineering but it is still an excellent example that a high-tech solution isn’t always better.

People ❤️

The End of Front-End Development

I agree with the author that front-end engineers’ jobs are not at risk. Our jobs are just changing, but that has always been the case. We won’t be able to keep our jobs ten years later by using the same tools and methodologies. We should improve our problem-solving and prioritization and pick up the necessary skills (prompt engineering, IDEs with AI) along the way.

Managers Exploit Loyal Workers Over Less Committed Colleagues

I have an allergic reaction to the word “loyalty.” As we’ve seen from the tech layoffs, no company is loyal to its employees, and employees shouldn’t be expected to be so, either. This research that loyal workers get asked to do more free work is another reason why loyalty isn’t a good trait. Both as a manager and an employee, I much prefer the concept of an alliance.

Business 💰

Fingerprint Pro: The device identity platform for high-scale applications

Fingerprinting is a technique to identify individual machines without identifiers like cookies or device UUIDs. Instead, it uses a combination of information on the hardware, the operating system, and the browser. You can see it working on the linked website. Unlike cookies, the scary part is that one cannot opt out of fingerprinting.

Young Reacts #221

Happy Monday! I just returned from my trip to Korea, so I apologize if my jet lag shows in this issue. Enjoy 🙂

Software Engineering ⚙️

Debugging Architects

How does one stay relevant as a super-senior engineer who may not be coding as much? The author argues that debugging is an inexpensive and non-blocking way to discover the ground-level truth.

The 5 Categories of Engineering Metrics

DORA metrics (deployment frequency, lead time for changes, etc.) show an engineering team’s engineering efficiency, but the team should track more than that. Is the team meeting customers’ expectations? Are services healthy? How do individuals feel about the work?

People ❤️

Why you need a “WTF Notebook

A fresh set of eyes is a gift we can enjoy only for the first few months in a new environment. This article shares how to take full advantage of it.

Everyone messes up. Here’s how to say you’re sorry.

My takeaways are to be direct by using active language and to remember that it’s not about me but about the other person. It takes practice to apologize well. But it will further strengthen our relationships.

Life Is Easier With a Fake Assistant

Some pretend to be their assistants to be more direct in their asks and shield themselves from rejections. And it apparently works! The appearance of being important enough to have assistants helps them get dinner reservations, tickets, and so on.

Business 💰

Changes at YC

Even YC is adjusting to the macroeconomic shifts. But such an adaptation is not yet a sign of weakness.

Young Reacts #220

As I hung out with my one-month-old niece, I started thinking about what the world will be like in 20 years. I had no Facebook in high school, no smartphone in my first college year, and I still had my DVDs shipped from Netflix. It’s a very different world now, and I wonder what it will become in the coming decades.

Software Engineering ⚙️

Common Beginner Mistakes with React

It’s been a while since I worked with React, so I read this refresher. I knew most of it except the mistake with an async effect function.

Code GPT: Artificial intelligence inside your IDE with this open source extension

I wasn’t aware that there are open-source Chat GPT extensions like this. I wonder how legal it is to use this for work…


This “library” is not an actual library but a collection of patterns to replace lodash or underscore utilities. Even if you can’t abandon lodash due to browser compatibility, you can read different patterns on this website to test your knowledge of modern Javascript.

People ❤️

Apple Pie Position

This tweet has a lot of corporate cliches that are generally accepted well: “We have too many meetings,” “We need to replace our team meeting with written updates,” etc. The challenge is that some of these cliches are effective in some cases and not in others. So our professional responsibility is to judge when they help the business move forward and when they do not.

Staying aligned with authority

I enjoy being a contrarian and effecting changes. But this article tells me that my success also depends on my ability to align with my manager and leadership and earn sponsorship.

Business 💰

Silicon Valley Bank has failed

In case you missed the news, Silicon Valley Bank, a bank that primarily serviced startups and VCs, had a liquidity issue and was shut down by regulators last Friday. There was a fear that this failure would instigate widespread bank runs, but Federal Reserve stepped in to protect the bank’s depositors fully on Sunday.

Silvergate has collapsed

Silvergate Bank, a bank that most crypto companies worked with, also shut down last Wednesday as its financials took a hit from the recent crypto collapse.

Young Reacts #219

I cannot believe it’s already March and we are one-sixth into the year. How are your plans for the year going?

Software Engineering ⚙️

Don’t Call It A Platform

When a user cannot opt out of a tool, a tool will deprioritize the user experience. So I am 100% behind what the author says.

However, what happens when we have already adopted a tool and the switching cost is too high? How can we then prevent this perverse incentive from creeping in?

Writing our 3-year technical vision

I enjoyed this 2021 article from Eventbrite because it sets the stage for its vision well. It goes from business goals (5x revenue) to supporting features (supporting super creators) to technical vision (team autonomy and reliability) to concrete actions planned and taken (microservice architecture, etc.). I will bookmark and come back to this from time to time.

People ❤️

Companies Can’t Ask You to Shut up to Receive Severance, NLRB Rules

Since severance is not a right in the United States, employers sometimes choose to insert a non-disparagement clause with the severance agreement in layoffs (Twitter did in its recent layoff). That choice between severance and freedom to speak surely made it more difficult to right the wrong, and I welcome this change.

But I also wonder how many percentages of severance came with a non-disparagement clause and what incentives the companies will now have to provide severance.

Big Transitions in the Tech Industry, a job search website, published a 2023 state of software engineers report based on its data. My key takeaways are:

  • “Salaries for local roles showed more volatility, while remote salaries have remained flat since layoffs began.”
  • “Even though it’s been a volatile year for cryptocurrency, demand for skilled blockchain engineers held steady in 2022 compared to 2021.”
  • “By December 2022, 72% of interview requests (IVRs) went to candidates with six or more years of experience, up from 64% in January 2022.”

Business 💰

Inflationary Psychology Has Set In. Dislodging It Won’t Be Easy.

I learned this concept called inflationary psychology this week. It’s a phenomenon where consumers readily pay higher prices because they believe that the prices will go higher and their wages will increase too. Well, that’s certainly how I’ve thought about my recent purchases.

EU narrows antitrust case against Apple over rules for music services like Spotify

The European Commission originally had two charges against Apple:

  • “imposing its own in-app purchase payment technology on music streaming app developers (‘IAP obligation’)”
  • “restricting app developers’ ability to inform iPhone and iPad users of alternative music subscription services (‘anti-steering obligations’)”

They decided to drop the first charge. But since the second charge has clear consumer harm (higher prices through in-app purchases), the Commission will continue to pursue it.

Young Reacts #218

Here are the articles that taught me something last week. Enjoy!

Software Engineering ⚙️

The Standard of Code Review

I’ve been thinking about changing our code review culture to be more permissive, as I feel hampered by minor feedback. I liked this core principle of Google’s guide: “In general, reviewers should favor approving a CL once it is in a state where it definitely improves the overall code health of the system being worked on, even if the CL isn’t perfect.” (emphasis mine)

Fixing a 3 second lockup in our app by switching from Apollo Client to URQL

This article got me thinking about how I would resolve the Apollo Client freezing during the initialization. The author’s team found an easy solution as they didn’t rely on Apollo Client’s caching. If swapping a GraphQL client is not easy, I don’t see an easy path forward; we could minimize data loaded initially and load data as needed. But given how Apollo works (vs. Relay), finding unnecessary data in that initial loading will be difficult. So this article made me less inclined to choose Apollo for a large single-page application.

After Alaska Airlines planes bump runway, a scramble to ‘pull the plug’

As software permeates every aspect of our lives, the code we produce has real-world consequences. It is impossible to create a bug-free system, but it’s possible to provide redundancies and workarounds for system malfunctions, like in this case.

GraphQL Network Inspector: Chrome Plugin for GraphQL network monitoring

This Chrome extension is platform-agnostic; you can use the extension with Apollo, Relay, or any other client. It can be helpful when you are playing with someone else’s website.

People ❤️

Remote work helps push disabled employment to a record high of 21%. But the gain is imperiled by return to the office mandates

Amid layoffs, more companies are mandating regular time in the offices. While I am more productive and happy to work in the office, I shouldn’t forget that working from the office will strain some of my colleagues due to family care responsibilities or mobility challenges.

Business 💰

Forget Milk and Eggs: Supermarkets Are Having a Fire Sale on Data About You

I used a 15% discount and a $5 coupon to get a bottle of champagne for our anniversary yesterday. And this article details what the store will do with that data. The store will share that information with other advertisers, and the advertisers will complement it with other sources to target me better on various platforms. “Data is the new oil.”

Notion’s now letting anyone use its AI features

Just months after ChatGPT’s arrival, it is getting integrated into our everyday tools and workflows. To take a step further, I’ve heard many have used ChatGPT to write peer feedback for review cycles, and while I am uncomfortable with the idea, I am very tempted to do that.

Young Reacts #217

I hope you are enjoying your long weekend 🌴

Software Engineering ⚙️

Bringing Javascript to WebAssembly for Shopify Functions

Due to its lack of type information and language features, it hadn’t been possible to compile Javascript to WebAssembly. Shopify found a way to package a Javascript runtime in WebAssembly with a developer’s Javascript code, enabling Javascript to run in a WebAssembly runtime.

The Future (and the Past) of the Web is Server Side Rendering

This article explains how single-page applications came about and why it’s time to go back to server-side rendering, this time in more modular island architecture.

People ❤️

‘Cyclic sighing’ can help breathe away anxiety

I am still learning to manage work stress and anxiety better. My usual approach is mindfulness (meditation, taking different perspectives, etc.). But I am going to try practicing five-minute of cyclic sighing.

Meta is ‘flattening’ its workforce

It must be disheartening to learn that their leadership roles no longer exist. On the bright side, Meta provides an option for them to transition into different roles.

Business 💰

Shorts in the YouTube Partner Program: Eligibility, Ad Revenue Sharing & Analytics

Unlike the preroll or midroll ads in long-form videos, which are attributed to the creators of those videos, ads between short-form videos bear a question; should they be attributed to the previous Short creator or the following creator? YouTube chose to solve this in a Spotify-like way: all eligible creators will get a cut of the total Shorts ad revenue based on their views.

Interesting Finds 💡

React.js: The Documentary

A tech job platform produced a documentary on React.js featuring interviews of its early contributors. I haven’t watched it, but I plan on watching it.

Install a server in your house, get free hot water!

A UK company came up with the idea to use a server as a water heater, which provides free hot water to the resident and some ESG points to the owner company.

Young Reacts #216

My thoughts are with the recent earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. Please consider donating to the relief efforts if you can afford to do so (see this guide on how).

Software Engineering ⚙️

Passwordless deployments to the cloud

I learned that it is now possible to set up build pipelines without storing credentials somewhere. Using OAuth, a build system can get short-lived access to your cloud provider. And other major platforms, such as Jenkins and CircleCI, support this feature.

Go-like channel in 10 lines of Javascript

The author uses Promise cleverly to minimize the waiting time between two async processes. I wouldn’t have thought to optimize this; even if I had, I would have used EventEmitter.

People ❤️

‘I felt hoodwinked’

I feel the urge to look all-knowing, especially in front of strangers. Just this morning, I signed the delivery note for our new chairs this morning without inspecting that they were, in fact, ok. Luckily, the chairs were in good condition. But I have to break the habit of jumping to yes.

How To Design The Long Life You Love

I suppose I still have some time til I perish, but I have started thinking more about my legacy to the world. I don’t think I will have kids, who seem to become many parents’ purpose. If so, what then?

New Manager Assimilation: 5 Simple Steps to Setting Up A New Manager for Success

This article is a good reminder that we cannot leave new employee onboarding to time and luck (or, in many cases, conflicts). We can speed up our onboarding by following an explicit process that answers hard questions.

Zoom is the latest tech firm to announce layoffs, and its CEO will take a 98% pay cut

While the pay cut will not make it easy for those laid off, it is a tangible way to show accountability.

Business 💰

Reinventing search with a new AI-powered Microsoft Bing and Edge, your copilot for the web

Last week, the biggest tech news was Microsoft declaring war on Google’s most profitable turf: search. Microsoft doesn’t need search ad revenue, but Google does. Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing introduces a new way to search, whose UI takes away the ad slots the traditional search UI has. Will this chat-based search go mainstream? If so, will Google find a way to monetize it before it’s too late?

Amazon Q4 2022 Financials

Here are a few takeaways from a former Amazon VP:

  1. Amazon advertising and AWS are wildly profitable while Amazon retail is losing money.
  2. This means Amazon can subsidize its retail division to grow at a loss.
  3. That is unfair at Amazon’s scale, and AWS should be spun off from Amazon.

Young Reacts #215

By the time you read this, I may already be an uncle as my sister is giving birth to a girl really soon. I am happy to have a new member in my family and look forward to assuming my new role as an uncle (I hope I can be a fun one!). This moment does give me pause. Crises have been never-ending but life still goes on.

Software Engineering ⚙️

Interop 2022: Outcomes

I just learned of this Interop project, where browser vendors come together to make the web more consistent. The project comes with the tests to check spec compliance, whose results you can see online (you can also drill down to individual unit tests like this failing flexbox test).

Netlify acquires front-end platform Gatsby

Gatsby was one of the first next-gen build frameworks that pushed the web from single-page apps back to server-side rendering. People behind Gatsby founded a company in 2018 to provide commercial support but it didn’t pan out as much as they had hoped. I wonder if this acquisition signals a beginning contraction of the front-end build framework space.

The yaml document from hell

When I worked with a YAML file, I appreciated how easy it was to author it, unlike a JSON file with curly brackets and double quotes. But this article opened my eyes to how YAML can be unpleasantly surprising. I am especially surprised by the Norway problem, where a plain text no is parsed as a boolean false.

People ❤️

Owning your unique experience

After more than ten years of working, I started looking back at the paths I hadn’t taken. What if I tried working at a large company earlier? What if I stayed at Netflix longer? So many what-ifs. This article helped me overcome that regret by looking at what I have instead of what I missed.

Business 💰

The Celsius examiner’s report: a picture of fraud and incompetence

The title says it all. Celsius was a massive Ponzi scheme behind the facade of crypto, albeit incompetent.

Musk Oversaw Video That Exaggerated Tesla’s Self-Driving Capabilities

Musk’s described behavior felt eerily similar to that of Celsius’s founder. I understand that founders need to believe in their visions and products. But when unfinished products or aggressive marketing hurt people, that’s a step too far for me.

Ending Suspension of Trump’s Accounts With New Guardrails to Deter Repeat Offenses

I agree with the decision to end suspension here after the 2-year suspension period is up. But I hope it doesn’t take another Jan 6 to suspend Trump or any other politician.

Young Reacts #214

I was surprised to see many new subscribers to this newsletter over the past couple of weeks. I appreciate and welcome you all, and I hope you find the shared articles as informative and enlightening as I did.

Software Engineering ⚙️

Speeding up the JavaScript ecosystem – module resolution

This excellent article taught me how module resolution works behind the scenes (i.e., how Node.js can import without file extensions). Check out the author’s first article on Javascript performance, too.

The gotcha of unhandled promise rejections

I am used to seeing a few warnings about unhandled promises during development and testing. But I never wondered what “unhandled” really meant. The article explains how they happen and how we can work around some tricky scenarios.

Announcing TypeScript 5.0 Beta

Another version of Typescript is coming out. If you are familiar with SemVer, it may look like a major release, but it’s not. Typescript does not follow SemVer and goes from x.9 to x+1.0, with every release having a few breaking changes. I am most looking forward to the improved module resolution in this release.

Community Health Analytics in Open Source Software

This Linux Foundation project defines many metrics to measure the health of an open-source project and maintains a tool to measure them. Given that our technology choices have a long-term impact (imagine you chose Angular instead of React five years ago), it’s prudent to understand the community health of the technologies.

Business 💰

Why VR/AR Gets Farther Away as It Comes Into Focus

This article puts the current state of VR/AR into perspective. More demanding performance goals under tighter physical limitations (weight, dimension, cooling, etc.) with (resolution, frame rate, sensors, etc.) make the technology harder to appeal to the mainstream. I got quite a bit pessimistic about these devices after reading this.


Consumer Reports, a US non-profit, created an automation app for consumers to protect their data based on the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Interesting Finds 💡

this house may or may not be real

Apparently, many staged photos on real estate listings are now “virtually staged,” meaning that the furniture and fixtures are photoshopped. It disturbs me to think that we won’t be able to trust information about the most expensive purchases of our lives.

Young Reacts #213

The tech downturn is hitting closer to home, with a few in my close networks being impacted. Whatever happens, we need to remember that layoffs are not an indictment of our performance, and we are more than our jobs.

Software Engineering ⚙️

The Turbopack vision

Webpack is being left behind by its newer competitors. Its creator, Tobias Koppers, has a vision for a faster next-generation build system based on Rust.

MemLab: An open source framework for finding JavaScript memory leaks

Meta open sourced a tool to detect memory leaks automatically. I love that it’s based on Puppeteer, enabling it to be easily added to an existing test pipeline.

ESLint’s 2022 year in review

I particularly found its 2022 budget review interesting: ESLint received $197,345.27 from various sources and spent $140,704.09.

People ❤️

Inspection and the limits of trust

“Trust but verify” is a behavior I am not comfortable employing. I am not even sure that this is how I want to behave as a people leader. However, I see many leaders at Square exhibiting this behavior.

DevOps culture: Westrum organizational culture

To ensure good information flows through an organization and improve the organization’s performance, Dr. Westrum’s research says a few behaviors must be present: high cooperation with cross-functional partners, encouraging sharing of bad news, etc. This guide details the behaviors and accompanying survey questions to measure the culture.

Business 💰

Twitterrific: End of an Era

After Twitter silently shut down its 3rd party API last week, Twitterrific, the app that created much of Twitter’s ethos (the bird logo, the word Tweet, etc.), has shut down.

TextingStory icon evolution

The creator of an app with 20 million downloads got to its first million downloads with a logo made with a PowerPoint. It shows we can still achieve the product market fit without much polish.