Short Ride in a Fast Machine: A Memoir of My 11 Days at Jut

The piece starts with the knocking of a woodblock which creates a kind of rhythmic gauntlet through which the orchestra has to pass. — John Adams

IN 1986, Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony commissioned an orchestral work from John Adams for the Great Woods Festival.1 The resultant fanfare has become one of Adams’2 most popular pieces. In 2015, Adams’ work seems like a fitting anthem for the SF/SV startup scene, where many a hopeful donkey straps a horn to its nose and hopes for a myopic venture capitalist to mistake it for an undiscovered unicorn.3, 4

This piece came to mind a few Monday’s back, when the startup I was working for, Jut underwent a massive reorganization.5 A startup pivoting in San Francisco is fairly unremarkable (unless you work for it and the pivot involves laying off around 80% of the staff). On the other hand, when you were the last hire, 80% of the company is gone, and it was Day 11 for you, the event is a bit more noteworthy, and “Short Ride” takes on an entirely new meaning.6

Waiting in line for the Fast Machine

I applied to Jut as a result of a bad Google search. I was looking for a library to make plotting real-time data easier from an Arduino I had streaming JSONs from a sensor. I came across, which had nice graphs from streaming data, but required a backend not appropriate for ...

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