- Fran Mendez
Disclaimer: The following is the self-review text that I wrote for my Postman manager, Kin Lane. I thought it would be cool to share it publicly given that it does not contain any company confidential information and could be useful for some people. You also know how much I love radical transparency 🙂
Last year started super! All I remember is the excitement that we recently announced we were joining Postman. With Jonas, Maciej, and Sergio on the team now, Lukasz and I could finally focus on the important next steps: define a 5-years vision for AsyncAPI, create a new open governance structure, and donate it to Linux Foundation. The more time I was keeping AsyncAPI on my hands, the more people could lose trust in us. Time was playing against us. And especially against me! In a few weeks, I had to finish all this stuff because my next “project” was around the corner, and she would not wait for all this AsyncAPI blah blah blah.
Like in a movie script, everything seemed to be perfectly aligned. We created the new open governance structure, I donated everything to Linux Foundation, got my driving license (not trivial in Spain, started studying in August 2020), and finally, the magic happened, and Ada was born 💜 All the stress was gone in a second. Not sure if this counts for my professional self-review but oh boy! I got a master's degree in diaper changing, shit cleaning, and singing. Yeah, singing! I sing Proud Mary (Tina Turner) when I want to calm down and sleep Ada. It works like a charm. She loves good music. Also, coincidentally, this was the song that was playing on the radio the day I received an email from Abhinav accepting all the details of our partnership 🙂
After almost three months into parenthood, I decided it was time to get back full-time to Postman and AsyncAPI. Well, all the “full-time” that Ada was letting me work 😅 I had to figure out how could I be the most helpful to the AsyncAPI community. Got back to my work on the vision and roadmap for the next 5 years and noticed nobody picked the “Create a framework” issue. For weeks, I tried to influence and convince folks to give it a try and start the work. I failed. I wasn’t sure if this wasn’t really a thing or if I wasn’t explaining myself correctly so I thought I’d give it a try myself during the summer and showcase the potential of such a framework. And I built Glee 🚀
Everything was perfect. Ada was growing healthy and happy, AsyncAPI was moving forward without me behind all the time, and people were finally seeing the point of Glee. However, one day we received the news that one of our community members and Google Summer of Code participant, Khuda, was stuck with his family in Afghanistan and their lives were at serious risk because of the Taliban takeover. We had to do something. We moved quickly to collect money for Khuda and his family to escape from the war and go to a safe place. The community response was awesome. And even though it all started with Khuda, we couldn’t stop there as a friend of his and also open-source contributor, Ahmad, was in the same situation. This has been probably the most emotional and important endeavor of my whole life, comparable to the birth of my daughter. I literally was having nightmares during the days it took them to go from their cities to a safe place in Pakistan. Nowadays, I'm super happy to share that Ahmad got an offer to work in Barcelona and would be able to bring his family with him, and I'm working closely with Sarah Lye and lawyers to bring Khuda to the UK to work for Postman on AsyncAPI.
With our Afghan friends now settled in a safe place in Pakistan, it was time for me to get back to work on AsyncAPI and Postman. During the summer, Postman launched support for WebSockets but without including support for AsyncAPI. It was more in an experimental fashion. I thought it was time for me to step up and make an RFC proposal for Postman to become a multi-protocol platform. This is a long-running thing. I don’t expect it to be implemented the way I suggested but I hoped (and still hope) it can serve as a conversation driver.
As we were approaching the end of the year, I thought it was time to boost the AsyncAPI 3.0.0 conversation and so started a new live stream format called Thinking Out Loud, where I invited community members to join me in thinking about how the next version of AsyncAPI specification could look like. Especially, on the topic of publish/subscribe confusion. The result was so good that after four episodes, I had enough information to create a proposal to solve the publish/subscribe confusion. This triggered so much discussion that we decided to double down and dedicate a meeting for those who want to work on the next version of the specification, and of course, a new season of Thinking Out Loud.
Last year, I really struggled with delegating. This is something I'm paying more attention to now and always question twice if this is something I should be doing or could be delegating. In any case, I shared my struggle here.
Another thing that I noticed is that I completely stopped writing and communicating (except for Thinking Out Loud). This is something I'm also working on improving right now. To keep a regular drumbeat.
And, to finish, I'm aware that I can improve as a people manager. I'm just not sure this is what I want to do 😅 I really think this is a full-time job so I try to help and support my team as much as I can but I can't be proactive. Of course, I'm always there to listen and we keep regular 1:1 meetings every two weeks but that’s it.
Improve my communication skills and activities. Do more writing, video, live streams, and keep conversations with AsyncAPI users in different companies. And, eventually, write a book or a few books about AsyncAPI.