Hi, I'm Arcadiy.
In July of 2016 I quit my job to travel the world with my wife. Over a year of country-hopping through Europe and Asia later, I'm coming back to the U.S. and rejoining the real world. Before that, I was a PM at Microsoft, working on OneDrive (the important bits you can't see at a glance) and then SharePoint (where I fixed at least 1% of our customers' nightmares). That's what I'm good at: understanding and then overhauling important, messy, non-obvious things for the better.
In my quest to make things better, I've learned a little bit about a lot of stuff. Here, though, I'm focused on travel, technology and careers. Want to take a look? Just the highlights, coming right up.
How to travel around the world
Traveling for a year is more than a little different from traveling for just a few weeks on a holiday, but it turns out that most of the lessons I learned apply to every trip I take. Here's what I've figured out:
- Preparing for the trip was both exciting and exhausting. We got rid of the vast majority of our possessions, quit our jobs and figured out a bunch of logistics; here's everything we did to get ready to go. Coming soon!
- The hardest thing about planning a big trip is figuring out the list of places to go.
- Once you decide where you're going, you have to work out what you're going to bring. We did the whole trip with carry-on backpacks (and successfully conquered all the major European low-cost carriers without having to pay). Here's everything I brought, and what did and didn't make the cut in the end.
- When you're traveling on a tight budget, you have to be pretty smart about how you handle money while abroad so you don't lose a chunk of your cash to senseless commissions and fees. But really, you should learn to avoid needless fees whenever you're traveling anywhere.
- You can't always stay in hostels and hotels and keep your sanity (or your budget!). We spent a large chunk of our time abroad staying at AirBnBs–enough that I wrote a guide to using AirBnB if you're worried about getting started.
- We know tourism can easily ruin some of the most beautiful places in the world. We did our best to avoid being Those Guys and generally be sensitive about our presence in other countries.
- How much 14 months of continuous travel actually cost us, given we weren't willing to travel like Super Hardcore #RealBackpackers. Coming soon!
- What coming back looks and feels like, and how we restarted our lives. Coming soon!
You can also check out everything I've written about travel.
It's been my job to keep up with technology for many years, but it became my passion long before that. Occasionally, that spurs me to think deeply about a subject and write it up.
- Password managers are great, but to really get them to hit the mainstream, we need sites to adopt a common password management API. Here's a very high level overview of how I'd design it. (I also presented about this at Seattle's Ignite conference!)
- Speaking of APIs, there's an enormous difference between a company that releases a bolt-on API just because and one that considers it their main product, and treats it accordingly.
- When highly visible platforms like Twitter have policy issues, all sorts of people weigh in. Often, they don't understand why policy discussions at an online platform are so hard, nor what agents at those companies can do. New!
- After several years at Microsoft, I found myself caught up in the Microsoft hardware and software bubble. Here's why I switched to Android and a Mac.
- When a codebase grows organically over years or decades, you often end up with a giant monolith and then look to figure out how to refactor it into, say, microservices. There are two paths to approach that refactoring, but only one of them is likely to work.
- When my wife and I planned our wedding, we were shocked at the complete failure of wedding planning tools to account for the fact that modern-day partners plan a wedding together. You can, instead, plan your wedding the 21st century way.
- Techies, myself included, often start to cast doubt on popular technologies just because they've gotten popular. It's worth fighting that contrarian urge, though, because it hurts people who are just learning.
Here's everything else I've written about technology.
Jobs and careers
Your career is one of the most important aspects of your life, so I think it's important for everyone to share what they learn about the business world over time. Here are some of the top takeaways I've had over the past decade:
Want more of my thoughts about careers? Here you go.
The last thing I wrote
The conundrums of Twitter policy
Nov 10, 2017
You can't solve an online platform's support struggles in 280 characters
It took only eleven minutes on an otherwise ordinary Thursday to set off the latest internet firestorm. A Twitter support agent took advantage of his last day at the office to briefly disable the controversial personal account belonging to one Donald J. Trump, who just so happens to be the current president of the U.S.
Those eleven minutes triggered the typical polarized reactions. A large swath of the internet celebrated that an account with a long history of bullying and sharing falsehoods was suspended; another substantial group, on the other hand, felt vindicated in their assertions that the tech companies are inherently against them.
The truth, of course, is far more banal than either group would like to believe: an employee with particular views took advantage of his or her access and the opportunity afforded by their impending departure to make a political statement they believed in.
Twitter the company did not intend to take any particular action or stance on Trump's Twitter presence that day, and while you can debate whether or not they should, the actual discussion online and in the media seemed to focus on what support agents can and should be able to do.
Many of these betrayed a lot of confusion about what support agents at these companies are able to do, and most of the rest tried to prescribe solutions that made this seem like a simple problem.
I spent over five years working at Microsoft on OneDrive, which, as a document and photo storage and sharing service, had to navigate these problems regularly. While I don't pretend to be an expert, I learned that these kinds of decisions, about what a support agent can and should be able and encouraged to do, are some of the toughest conversations you'll have in a company whose business revolves around user-generated content. So let's talk about why this is so hard.