This is a slightly edited version of a post that was originally published to Hatch (a version of Medium inside Medium) on March 7, 2014. See Hatching Inside Medium for context on this collection.
On my first day here I was asked to do two things: introduce myself and tell everyone what was my biggest fear. Let’s start with the latter. My biggest fear is when someone tells me to write an article introducing myself. Now that we’re done with this terrible joke let’s talk about my past and my goals.
All my life I want money and power. — Kendrick Lamar, modern American philosopher.
I came to San Francisco six years ago straight from Tashkent. I came here because I was browsing Hacker News one day and stumbled upon a job posting from a new startup called Disqus. I had no idea what Disqus was but I recognized a few keywords such as Python and Django. So I applied, mostly just for the hell of it.
Amazingly enough Disqus not only replied but also agreed to package and ship me to the United States after only three remote interviews. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea why they picked me over other candidates (given that I was on the other side of the world) but when an opportunity presents itself, you don’t ask questions.
So a few months after the interviews I landed in SFO. I had two suitcases and $700 in cash. Daniel and Jason (founders of Disqus) picked me up from the airport and the first thing I did was to call Daniel Jason and Jason Daniel.
Whether at the bar with superstars / Or cruisin’ in the trooper car / I really don’t care who you are / All I really need is a friend — KRS-ONE, classic American philosopher.
After Disqus, I decided to move from web development to browser development and went to work for Mozilla. There I mostly worked on Firefox Developer Tools which was very new and interesting to me. But I still missed web development and wanted to go back. I needed to find a company that was as great as Mozilla with an equally important mission. In addition to that, I was still happy at Mozilla so I wasn’t really looking around. I was more like making notes in my head about different projects and startups.
It’s been twenty-two long hard years of still struggling / Survival got me bugging, but I’m alive on arrival — Wu-Tang Clan, a group of classic American philosophers.
One company that kept getting into my head-notes was, as you might have guessed by now, Medium. But, before we go any further, let’s talk about my parents. My parents were both journalists in a totalitarian country so life was often stressful. I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else, however, because I learned the importance of free press — and the importance of people sharing their stories. Otherwise, bad people come in and start twisting history like it’s a modeling balloon or something.
So I noticed Medium. It was really well designed but — please don’t fire me — I put it in the same bucket as other new companies that were pretty but with no substance. And then Medium acquired MATTER — a project I supported on Kickstarter and was a big fan of. So that really upgraded Medium for me and a few months later (maybe a year?) when I was ready to leave Mozilla only one company was on my list. I applied and ten minutes later Don called me.
The rest is future.