10 6 / 2013

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Learning anything new, although exponentially more functional, always ends up being a love story. Infatuation is born from knowing that the thing you want to learn had a history long before you even thought to seek it out.

I graduated in 2011 with a Master’s in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor’s in Architecture. I did it all: the Ivy League thing, the study abroad thing, the travel the world thing, the live and experience anything and everything in your 20′s thing. I hung on my wall representations of years of theoretical education. And then I found out everything I had loved about architecture, and everything I was passionate about suddenly became my worst nightmare. I found myself expecting to find wisdom about life through floor plans and building sections. And predictably, in my own small way, I failed. At 25, I suddenly realized I was trapped in my ignorance that happiness came from lived wisdom rather than discovery through doubt.

A year later, I decided to take my unfortunate realization that I was an amateur human and use it to my advantage. While the people I graduated with went to their 9­5′s and seemed satisfied with a passive existence, I ended my track to becoming a licensed architect and instead turned my design, photography, painting, and socializing habits into a source of income. I became the creative director at a small design firm and spent the next few months learning out loud to coordinate my mind and hands and eyes. I read and talked and sat at cafés — and listened, really listened to everything.

With the knowledge that my parents were the definition of supportive, that nothing was off limits and no price was too high, I registered for a three-week Ruby course. I walked into the first class wanting to add an experience to my roster of experiences and walked out driven to the brink of exasperation over the possibilities. I had fallen in love with Ruby. The person that ended up teaching me programming for the next nine months introduced into my life the electrifying gains and frustrations of walking blind through a world which was not made with me in mind, and ultimately mentoring me through the idea that similar to architecture, through programming there are near ­endless ways to speak and create, where it extends far beyond the content of what is being said.

My graceless fumbling and nuance while navigating this new world, in which I had no previous training, was not easy. I hesitated and stuttered through the code, to the point where the thought of staying in love was too daunting to ever be a realistic possibility, but determination is a powerful thing.

I was told Ruby would change my life. Little did I know at the time how right that statement would be. I became fully invested in the culture and the rhythmic cadence of figuring problems out. I started attending numerous tech events and meeting a tremendous amount of new people.

In February 2013, I got my first job as a developer and was once again reminded that being a developer wasn’t much different from what had made me fall in love with architecture when I was a kid, both just being a useful byproduct of figuring things out.

There’s something profoundly humbling about taking a different route and ultimately wanting to be happy, even when I was continuously told to stop “experimenting and learning new skills” and just work at what I got my degree in. I was constantly staring before a vast expanse of self-­doubt, and not so methodically came out the other end, successful but also happy.

Pre­existing clarity can at times become a limiting thing. I’ve been asked if given the chance, would I do it differently. Do I think that time and energy was wasted after investing so much into becoming an architect, only to learn that my investment was all for naught? Absolutely not. Who I am as a person and as a developer today, is the sum of my experiences… architecture and all.

Knowledge is never not ­applicable to the work that you will do. The foundation was laid and then it was iterated on. Through trial and error I was left with a powerful combination of strengths and assets. It’s easy to become influenced by talks of “the way things should be done,” and other abstract perceptions such as data or other people’s good advice. But self realization is a delicate phase of where you end up is as much about strategy as it is about falling and staying in love.

21 2 / 2013

Sometimes, it’s hard to envision the future when someone shows it to you…

I think one of the things that really separates us from the higher primates is that we’re tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The Condor used the least amount of energy to move a kilometer. And humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud of a showing for the crown of creation.

That didn’t look so good. But then, somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And a man on a bicycle completely blew the Condor away, completely off the top of the chart. And that’s what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me, is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.

~ Steve Jobs - 1980 something or other

04 2 / 2013

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Eight months after falling in love with coding and obsessed with the idea of working at a startup it finally happened and 2013 became my year. The dream became a reality and I became a developer at a startup where I get to help build a product that is all about career development, earning more money and utilizing all your resources to become the amazing person you were meant to be.

It’s easy to thank people once you get what you want, but thanking them before you get there? So I’m writing a thank you [letter] to everyone that helped me make it happen.

It started and in a weird way ended with Avi Flombaum, before he started his own school, while he was teaching night and weekend classes through skillshare. He started my obsession with Ruby and was the first person to talk about code as an art. He became my mentor and muse in a matter of months.

Mercedes Bent, the GA producer quickly became a therapist I desperately needed when coding problems got harder and drama arose from being around the same people all day everyday for 10 weeks straight. She managed to give advice whenever I asked for it and smiled through it all with me.

Chyld Medford, for telling me I’m his favorite everyday…and being an amazing coding instructor and friend. 

Christ Castig, for hiring me as his TA and making me fall in love with Front End Dev… and continuing to be a wonderful human being and friend.

Team Donezo [Aaron Fuchs, Adrian Baustista, Ray Chan, Jon Ku, Larry Buchanan, Hsi-Chang Lin, Thomas Yang, Chris Goodmacher and Dustin Coates] for being the best team of coders one can hope to have. For being an inspiration everyday and sticking around when we were no longer obligated to be around each other. 

Every single person that interviewed me and wanted to hire me when all was said and done. All the interviews I went on taught me so much about what it meant to be a programmer, how to be a better programmer but also what it meant to be a good person.

AGAIN, to Avi Flombaum for introducing me to people, recommending me, and helping me find amazing people that I would not only love to work with but also would help me grow as a developer. And for being the final decider and inspiration on which company I chose. 

My best friends Nisa and Hedi for allowing me to disappear for months and months while I figured it all out and for showing up whenever my heart hurt or when I just needed to whine. 

My brother for pushing me and making me believe I could have the world. Be an artist, a programmer and make money if I just worked really really hard. For continuously telling me that it all seemed glamorous but it was a lot of hard work and preparing me for long days and nights.

Lastly and most importantly I need to thank my parents. Not only for blessing me with such amazing genes but also for always putting my needs before their own, continuously paying for my overpriced education and funding my excessive lifestyle on my journey to finding my path and letting me make a ton of mistakes while I figured it all out.

Ask Barney Stinson why he is successful and he’ll tell you because he’s awesome. Ask my brother how he managed to be so successful and make so much money and be so happy all before his 25th birthday and he’ll say it’s because he’s awesome. Ask my mother, my best friends, and myself and we’ll say because of our parents, the people that came and left our lives, our mentors, a lot of hard work and luck…everything but being awesome.  

In the end, I’m here and I made it happen because I’m awesome. But THANK YOU anyway. <3

Z

31 1 / 2013

There’s something I’m finding out as I’m aging… that I AM in love with the world…

Beautiful Illustrated Talk With Maurice Sendak (Drawings by Christoph Niemann)

11 1 / 2013

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[the best way to accomplish good work, is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job] - Paula Scher 

10 1 / 2013

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My parents gave me a Macintosh II in 1995 when I was 10 years old. My brother immediately broke his apart and then put it back together. I went about mine a different way. I played Prince of Persia, Pinball and Tetris. I moved folders around. Added Disney icons to folders that had nothing of any value in them. Sat my Barbies in front of the monitor and played with my GameBoy instead. Wiped off the dust once a week and that’s all I needed my computer for. I never took it apart, I didn’t learn how to break it and put it back together.

Then when I was 11, I had the luxury of running around Architecture Grad students being fascinated with their designs half the time and teach myself photoshop at Apple the other half. My dad was the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at University of Tehran and the sole distributor of Apple Computers in Iran during the 90’s and that to me was the coolest thing in the worldI was obsessed with both worlds. So many colors, so many lines, so many possibilities, so much to create! 

Fast forward to 2010 and my brother started working at Google and it all started to make sense. So that’s what that was all about. All these years of me running to him to fix my computers and every new software I needed. That’s what his life was gonna be about: the tech world. I visited him at Square a year later and my fascination grew. I was no longer interested in pursuing Architecture and Engineering. That’s not where my world was going. I was no longer interested in just hanging out with techies, I lost interest in being the +1 to their events, it wasn’t enough…I wanted to be them. I wanted to be in the know. I didn’t want my brother to fix my computer or retrieve my files every time I broke another laptop or another hard drive. I wanted to do it for myself. I wanted to write programs that did things. I wanted to keep creating. But I was beyond architecture and buildings and images. I wanted to design spaces people actually occupied. I wanted to be part of the web

So my love affair with programming and Ruby [♥] started in June 2012. I saw a video on one of Skillshare's most popular programming teachers and the decision was immediately made for me. I had to be there, I had to do it. His energy and honestly about his motives and aspirations were so ridiculously infectious that I needed to be a part of it. The cost didn’t matter. Two courses and 2 months later, I had learned the basics but I was hardly a developer. I knew and was excited enough to have cocktail conversations and be able to keep up with all my tech friends and all these new people I had met and wanted to stay in touch with. But more effort was necessary. 

I’m not sure if I had fallen in love or rather fallen into code, but I so desperately wanted to be in the Tech scene in NYC and make great things that it was time to take it more seriously, it was time to commit and become a programmer. So in October I decided to put my faith in a bunch of people I didn’t know, a company I knew very little about, and in a program that had yet to be launched and go down a hilly road towards becoming a developer. [more on the journey in another post]

Now, 10 weeks later…I’m a full stack rails developer. And everything and everyone that happened in, around, during, and in the vicinity of General Assembly will forever be a part of one of the greatest love stories of my life.

xoxo,

03 1 / 2013

I wrote this a while ago… but it’s true today, more than ever.

Knowing things and knowing the REASONs behind them are two completely different things. Asking Why is the simplest and most powerful act of connection that you can make.

It’s important to learn lessons from other peoples motivations and mistakes and move beyond them.

Simply following a tradition because it’s the way it is, is tragic. There always needs to be an evolution. There always needs to be a change in things that make little to no sense. Religion is stupid. Programming is not. 

xoxo,

Z

30 12 / 2012

"Go after her. Fuck, don’t sit there and wait for her to call, go after her because that’s what you should do if you love someone, don’t wait for them to give you a sign cause it might never come, don’t let people happen to you, don’t let me happen to you, or her, she’s not a fucking television show or tornado. There are people I might have loved had they gotten on the airplane or run down the street after me or called me up drunk at four in the morning because they need to tell me right now and because they cannot regret this and I always thought I’d be the only one doing crazy things for people who would never give enough of a fuck to do it back or to act like idiots or be entirely vulnerable and honest and making someone fall in love with you is easy and flying 3000 miles on four days notice because you can’t just sit there and do nothing and breathe into telephones is not everyone’s idea of love but it is the way I can recognize it because that is what I do. Go scream it and be with her in meaningful ways because that is beautiful and that is generous and that is what loving someone is, that is raw and that is unguarded, and that is all that is worth anything, really."

Harvey Milk

03 10 / 2012



It’s my birthday month :-) The birthday invites have been sent out… and I’m beyond excited for what life has been the past few months and the year that’s ahead of me. 27 on the 27th… it will be epic.

As per the verbiage in the invites: "…It was of course a crazy year for me. It was full of moments I adored, moments I found beyond amusing and others I found downright annoying, if not distasteful.

I was a good sport, I smiled through most of it, and def rolled with what came my way. Ate a lot, drank a lot, worked a lot, made a lot of new amazing friends, and consumed a lot of everything with all sorts of people. This is how you become wise and blissful :-) …nothing but goodness.

Staying true to events that are nothing less than absolutely delectable, I’m throwing myself 3 parties surrounded by EVERYONE I love…”

xoxo,
Z

02 10 / 2012

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I went to Mayor Bloomberg’s tech party at Gracie Mansion yesterday…and as far as life goals…I’m just one step closer and a thousand times happier.

I’ve always admired Bloomberg. His love for technology and New York… his expansive knowledge of [things]. His never ending desire to make things better. And he’s funny.

Funny is important. Smart is important. Class is important. Ambitions are important. Always striving for bigger and better is important. Making things is important.

xoxo,
Z

24 9 / 2012


"I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself." -Oscar Wilde

24 9 / 2012

"I knew that I had come face to face with someone whose mere personality was so fascinating that, if I allowed it to do so, it would absorb my whole nature, my whole soul, my very art itself."

Oscar Wilde

20 9 / 2012


It’s a fine romance… It moves. It makes me think. It’s becoming the story of a successful month of design, which began with movement, and was amplified by a nod of approval.

A few months ago, which seems like a lifetime ago now, a friend of mine told me “if you’re devoted to one person at a time…in New York… you’re doing it wrong.”

It’s a fine romance. Pockets full of stories and smiles.

xoxo,
Z

18 9 / 2012

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From beautiful 1000 Islands! Finally some wind and chill to validate wearing an argyle sweater. The water, the islands, the food, the people, everything is a heightened level of magical to where I almost dread having to leave to go to Montreal and it makes me fear missing things. So I try to blink less, and sometimes I don’t till my contacts start hurting my eyes… 

One consistent factor of this getaway? Surrealism and unpracticality. 

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xoxo,
Z

17 9 / 2012


It’s imperative to envision yourself as the master of your future.

xoxo,
Z