Jevin's 2023 annual reflection


  • I took on too much this year and it took a toll on my mental health.
  • I started making electronic music and found it to be a great outlet.
  • Unfortunately, I got caught up in some work drama at Humi, leading me taking on a new role as a Staff Engineer at Clio.

Check out last year’s 2022 in review


Technical Project - Cabinet Lights

One of my close friends, Jamie, spent several months building a custom cabinet for our kitchen, which we renovated last year. He had the idea to install some mini pot lights inside the cabinet, and of course, of course I couldn’t resist connecting it to my smart home. So, I went a little overboard with WLED, a QuinLED Controller, and LED strips to create a vibrant display of colors and animations.

It took me about 25 hours to figure out and solder everything together. My main goal was to showcase Jamie’s hard work, which took significantly longer than it took me. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Making Electronic Music

As a kid, I was always playing some kind of musical instrument and taking lessons. But once I got a “real job” and started a family, making music took a back seat. I always regretted not being able to further my skills, especially since I listen to music all day, every day. I wanted to be a part of the music community.

Electronic music has always been my favorite genre, starting with Trance in the 90s and then moving into Progressive House. As someone who struggles with music theory, I started looking into tools that could help me create music.

That’s when I discovered Ableton DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and paired it with an Oxygen midi controller ($150). It’s been great for making basic music. And the best part is using to download samples, loops, and melodies created by others. It’s a great starting point for making full tracks.

I even made my first little beat to share with others. It’s not the best, but it’s a start! It’s a combination of Splice tracks and my own solo work.

And here’s how it looks in Ableton:

Synthstrom Deluge It was a hassle to sit down at my computer and click around just to make some music. That’s when I stumbled upon the concept of a “DAW-less” setup, where people ditch traditional computers and use other tools to create music. After doing some research, I decided to go for a used Synthstrom Deluge. It’s geeky, has open source firmware, a tons of features, and a whole lot of buttons. Once you get the hang of the workflow, you can just turn it on and start making music in no time.

Even the little ones can join in on the fun:

I’m going to connect it to my kid’s iPad, so I can access a variety of high-quality instruments and additional features.

Check out this extensive tutorial if you want to jump around and see how it works:


I played a few games this year with various themes. My favorite was Dave the Diver, which I played while sitting on my bed. My six-year-old watched and loved it so much that when the game ended, she cried all evening because she missed “seeing my friends in our sushi restaurant.” Now, we often revisit the game together to visit our restaurant. :heart:

Cassette Beasts was a quick playthrough during a slower week. It has a sweet story, cute art style with some Pokemon flair. The mechanics aren’t too deep but enough for some challenge.

I joined the Battlebit craze for a bit but my reflexes really aren’t what they used to be. I regularly get destroyed.

Vampire Survivors started this whole genre of game that is a crazy dopamine rush for my brain. I started down this train and loved it.

.. the game I love even more is Time Wasters. While I wish the developers didn’t name it with something as on the nose as what they did, it’s been my go-to game for unwinding from work for 30 minutes or so.


As I mentioned in my music-making section, I love electronic music, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only genre I listen to.

I won’t overwhelm you with a long list, but here are my top three progressive house songs:

I also kept coming back to this one:


I added some plants to my office. Unfortunately, a few have died (maybe from over-watering or underwatering?), but there are still a few that are thriving. It definitely freshens up the space.


I can’t understate how powerful adding ChatGPT to my workflow has been this past year. I knew a little bit about it’s power, but it was only when I was catching up with Chip Ranau and Eugene Vyborov that I really understood how much leverage LLMs can provide.

I’ve used it in all kinds of contexts:

  • Comparing resumes vs job postings to screen potential candidates (hint: it doesn’t work great)
  • Using it as a therapist to quickly work through my thoughts.
  • Writing Executive Summaries
  • Boilerplate code. Example: I was able to generate scripts to benchmark three different databases in under three hours. I estimate it would have taken at least three days to read the docs and do the same thing without AI.
  • Debugging software by inputting code and the errors. (Not work stuff)
  • Building childrens stories for my kids based on a particular theme, with them as the main character.

… and so many other things. If you haven’t tried it, read up on how to write good prompts, get GPT-4 access and go to town trying stuff. You’ll have a blast.

40th Birthday Party

Ashley and I both turned 40 in 2022 and had always talked about throwing a party at our place. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it last year due to the ongoing renovation. But this year, we finally made it happen!

We invited more people than we could handle and it turned out great! We were honoured to have so many folks come and celebrate with us.

I cooked two briskets, stocked up on Costco appetizers and hired a party band. It was a blast!

It took me three days to recover from just two beers and staying up until 1am. I guess that’s a sign of being 40. Ugh..


Joining Clio and Becoming a Staff Engineer

I joined Humi in January 2022 and everything was going great. But in November 2022, there was a major shake-up within the company. It was like a scene straight out of “Silicon Valley”. The internal drama and power struggles were unlike anything I had seen before and didn’t align with my personal and professional beliefs. So, I began exploring other opportunities.

One thing that wanted to try is leaning back into my technical expertise by becoming a Staff or Principal Engineer without any direct reports. I figured the skills I’ve built working cross-functionally and across teams could be valuable.

In April, I joined up with Clio as a Staff Engineer, overseeing the technical architecture and direction for some of our largest systems. Having the ability to have mornings for focus time, not having to manage people drama and working on hard technical problems has been really refreshing.

One unexpected result about becoming an IC: People tell you so many things they wouldn’t tell their managers! Probably other engineers feel you’re “one of them” and because you don’t manage them, you don’t have actual power of them. I feel I can have some new types of interactions I haven’t been able to have in a while. Fun!

Travelling to Toronto to visit some of my favourite “Clions”:


Back in 2011, I hired my first sub-contractor Luca Pette to help me with a government contract. We’ve kept in touch over the years and during our catch-up call in February 2023, he mentioned a project idea he was planning to open source. Interestingly, it addressed a problem that I had encountered at both Zapier and Humi. We decided to collaborate on it for three weeks to see how we could develop it into a product.

While I’ve been busy with other commitments, Luca has been the driving force behind the project, putting in countless hours and working with companies to bring it to life while I do what I can in the background.

I’m excited to announce that this month, we have our first paying customer at $100/month and the product will soon be deployed into that company’s production environment. We’re both thrilled about the potential of Typestream and can’t wait to see where it takes us!


I had two incoming requests for consulting help, and surprisingly they have come from the Federal Government. It’s been fun jumping in with my “industry expertise” to help them evolve. I’ve been able to lend my experience in building both Kubernetes and Gen-AI capabilities.

Personal Growth

Anxiety Back with a Vengeance

After being diagnosed with ADHD and implementing management strategies a few years ago, I noticed that I was able to be even more productive. However, I may have pushed myself too hard. As things got busier in the fall, I started experiencing persistent stress and tight muscles. I also had trouble sleeping since I was constantly thinking about my never-ending to-do list.

After seeking objective perspectives, it became clear that I was taking on too much. I decided to dial it back, practice mindfulness exercises, and take a break from my tasks over the Christmas holidays. As a result, I am finally able to sleep better and my anxiety has decreased.

Lesson learned: Just because I have extra capacity in my life, doesn’t mean I should take on more.

I’ve been using Headspace on and off since 2015 and it has been incredibly helpful in training my mind to be present in the moment.


The family is doing great:

  • Ashley is loving her job and our marriage has never been stronger.
  • Our daughter Savannah (12) has picked up sewing and has a weekly sewing coach. She’s also a talented runner and recently placed 8th in her age group in the city.
  • Jackson (9) is having a blast playing competitive soccer for the Gloucester Hornets. He’s focusing on becoming a Keeper and is well-liked by his team. In his free time, he enjoys playing PvP Minecraft, but we’re also encouraging him to explore other creative hobbies.
  • Our youngest, Rosalyn (6), is a ball of energy and loves to socialize. She is doing “Acro” dance and just had a recital a few weeks ago.


Cape Cod

We did the 8 hour drive from Ottawa to Boston in July to spend a few days in Cape Cod. It’s a really nice area with great beaches. One of our favourite things to do was to check the Cape Cod Shark app to see if there were any sightings at the beach we were going to be at. Beaches were reguarly closed due to shark sightings. Wild!

Miami Beach

In April, Ashley and I did a quick two night stay in Miami Beach to get a change of pace. We ate some great seafood, and our highlight: An architectural art-deco tour of the area.

Software Entrepreneurs Retreat

In the past decade, I’ve only been to a handful of conferences. Usually, I don’t feel like the cost and effort are worth it for a few reasons:

  1. Most of the talks can be found online.
  2. Workshops are usually better using content found online.
  3. There are plenty of ways to engage and network online.

However, there is one event that I absolutely cannot miss in person. Every year, a group of us bootstrapped software entrepreneurs gather for an annual retreat somewhere in the US. This past fall, we met in Austin. Each attendee shares their annual update and requests feedback from the others. It’s amazing to have 15 unbiased people giving you feedback with no other agenda than looking out for your best interest.

I presented about Typestream and got some potent feedback on how to push the business forward.

Looking Forward to 2024

I took on too much in 2023 and it really took a toll on my mental health. So, I’ve decided to make some changes and focus on a few key things:

  • I’ll continue to work on my electronic music, but without putting too much pressure on myself. I just want to enjoy the process of creating.
  • I’m determined to find ways to accelerate TypeStream’s growth.
  • We also plan to scale back on the kids' evening activities so that we have more energy to spend and invest in them.

Hit me up!

One of my favourite things with writing these posts is that there are always a few folks who reach out and I get to connect with. Anything here fun?

Hit me up!

Have a great 2024 y’all!