Monday, June 8th, 2020 · 4 min read
What happened to George Floyd — and the many others killed by police brutality, discrimination, and injustice — is horrible. I condemn racism in all its forms.
These sentences should be easiest things in the world to say, yet I’ve hesitated to publish something online.
Because what does writing these words out even do?
Firstly, to say these words without thinking about what I could do to take action or changing anything about myself felt disingenuous.
Secondly, it’s been hard to know where to start. I grew up in a mostly white, mostly well-off town. Going through school, I assimilated. Discussions about race in the curriculum were more abstract than anything. I can count on one hand the number of Black students that shared a class with me my senior year.
That is: my understanding of race in society is severely limited by my sheltered personal experience. It’s not a topic I’m completely comfortable with or even know how to discuss.
But recent events have shown how uncomfortable many Black Americans feel day-to-day, and consequently, the importance of having this conversation. The responses of many, both online and offline, have shown how powerful making a public commitment to making a difference can be.
Over the past week, I’ve been inspired by many — from public figures to coworkers to friends — who have already taken action. I’ve been especially inspired by those friends who never seemed politically active or passionate about social justice, but whom I respect and trust and who have been inspired enough to make a statement.
It’s really because of them that I am sharing this — to see those folks speaking out in a way that I’d never seen from them before was powerful, a catalyst in encouraging me to confront my own inaction and lack of understanding and to come up with a genuine plan moving forward. Because of them, I’ve been pushed to think more deeply about what I can do to effect positive change.
With that, I’ve decided to start by committing to the following:
This is by no means exhaustive and I’m sure there will be things to add going forward, but I am ready to make a commitment on these items right now.
For those of you who wish to make a difference but have stayed silent to this point, I think I may understand where you are coming from. The issue is uncomfortable and you may not know what to say or do. At first glance, it doesn’t affect you or I. It might feel strange to commit to being anti-racist if you don’t see any racism personally in the first place — what’s there to do?
I know that it took me some time to truly think about our nation’s history, how racism affects us all, what I could do personally, and then feel confident enough to write something. Honestly, I’m still not 100% comfortable publicly sharing something like this — it’s not necessarily my “brand.”
But I’ve realized that saying something is really the easiest, most basic way I can begin to make a difference, and I share this with the hope that this may serve as encouragement to others to engage with this issue more deeply, just as my friends’ visible action did for me. Only all together can we make meaningful change, and sharing a few honest words is the easiest way to start.
Specifically, I plan to donate a percentage of what I’m saving for retirement each month (scaling as a function of my income). I’ve wanted to make charitable giving a more intentional part of my personal financial strategy for a bit now and I think this is the simplest way to go about it.↩
A friend who works at a tech company with donation matching is generously offering to match my donation, which is awesome. If you know someone at Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. (there are quite a few companies that donation match employees), consider reaching out to potentially double your impact.
If not, Netlify is also matching donations made to select organizations.↩
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Hi, I'm Nate. I taught myself how to code before college, and I entered the University of Michigan in the fall of 2018, where I discovered interests in math, economics, and personal writing.
College was a serious step up from what I was used to in high school, so one especially late night my second semester, while working on a problem set in the math atrium — I decided I had enough. I needed a break from school.
I began planning a gap year in Barcelona and reaching out to old web design clients from high school for contract software work. Those plans went out the window, though, when I miraculously landed an internship at Google for the coming summer.
So, when school let out in May, I flew out to San Francisco and moved into a place in the Mission District instead. I soon realized that much of what I was looking for in my gap year — the unparalleled personal and cultural growth that comes from living alone in an iconic, bohemian city; a hungry market for entrepreneurial software engineers — was right where I was in San Francisco.
In August, I officially disenrolled from my sophomore year of classes. I got my travel fix in September, zooming across America and visiting Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago as part of a ten-state excursion, before heading back to San Francisco by way of 52 hours on Amtrak.
In October 2019, shortly after the founders completed YC S19, I turned down my Google return offer and joined Jupiter as their first hire. Outside of establishing a strong engineering organization and codifying our guiding development philosophies and practices, I've spent the last few months building end-to-end systems with TypeScript, React, Kotlin, gRPC, and Kubernetes.
I started this little blog to share some of these experiences — I hope you enjoy.