Time for Change: from charity: water to Hillary for America

This has been quite a year. One full of rich experiences running the range of emotion?—?all of which has reminded me to embrace life truly, fully, and deeply. The latest manifestation of this is one I am incredibly excited to share.

In a few short weeks, I will be leaving charity: water to join Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as her new Director of Product. I will be working under her exceptionally talented CTO & CPO along with an amazing group of women & men to create digital products around donation, fundraising, volunteering, grassroots engagement, field organization and election analytics, all in pursuit of putting Secretary Clinton into the White House.

I couldn’t be more pumped for this move. For as long as I can remember, civic awareness and respect for governance was a significant part of my social fabric. Government, its leaders and agendas, was a constant discussion around our family dinner table. Politics, back in India and here in America, was a standard debate at any childhood dinner party. One of my earliest memories is going with my dad to vote on election night in 1988, him showing me how to mark the ballot and allowing me to cast his vote. Formative experiences like this meant that when I turned 18, the most exciting thing was not that I could rent a car or buy a pack of cigarettes, it was that I had finally earned the right to vote.

So it was a no-brainer that when my name got thrown into the Hillary for America mix, I was going to jump at this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I cannot wait to synthesize everything I have learned in 12+ years of building engaging digital products to help elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States. If you find this as compelling as I do, know that we are immediately hiring for my team and there are many HFA roles open across social, digital, product, analytics, design and engineering. If you are interested or know someone who would be a great fit, please email me. Added bonus to all this excitement: I’ll be staying in New York, a place that is surprisingly feeling more like home, for the next 17 months as the HFA campaign is based in Brooklyn.

Of course, this change comes with sadness. Bidding farewell to charity: water, an organization I have an immense amount of respect for, is bittersweet. Deciding to say goodbye to Adobe after 10 years and leave the San Francisco Bay Area (which was my home since birth) to move to New York and help run product at this creative, collaborative and charmingly disruptive charity was one of the best decisions of my life. For the last two years, I have stepped out of my teeny-tiny Manhattan apartment on my way to work with a bounce of pride in my step. It is a no-brainer that I will continue to support charity: water forever and always and the first step is to find the perfect replacement for my role. We are hiring immediately for a Director of Product here at charity: water and if you are interested or know anyone who is, please send my way: deepa@charitywater.org

So my little adventure continues, first wrapping up at charity: water, then throw in some international travel to get the blood flowing, and finally onto this crazy campaign which I suspect will alter my life more then I can imagine.

An everlasting thank you goes to Nat Koloc, who changed my life on Easter Sunday with a cryptic email that ended with: “p.s. what are your thoughts on presidential campaigns?” And a special thank you goes to my father and a select few special friends (you know who you are) who encouraged me to tackle this opportunity with courage & gusto.

Goodbye SF/Hello New York

It is so strange to type these words – but last Friday was my last day at Adobe. There are very few companies I’d ever consider leaving Adobe for, but recently I volunteered at a New York-based company called charity: water, and fell in love. They use technology to bring clean & safe drinking water to millions of people in developing countries and I am moving to New York to join their leadership team as Director of Product.

Saying goodbye to Adobe is weird. I literally grew up with Macromedia & Adobe – everything I know about real-world engineering, product management, teamwork and leadership, I learned there and that makes me so proud.  Adobe was truly the job of a lifetime!

Saying goodbye to San Francisco is even weirder! I have been in this amazing city since I graduated from Cal, and its where my home & heart is. But, a short detour to NYC to experience life on a different coast was too good to pass up.

I am crazy excited for what’s happening in the next few weeks – a new domain, a new job, a new city. I’ll be heading out to New York in the next couple of weeks – and though I am moving there, I will be living a pretty bi-coastal schedule, being back in San Francisco every 3-4 weeks. Whenever you’re in NYC, hit me up!

I have never been that good with change, but I gotta say: life feels really exciting right now.

Summer 2013: Where I’m Going

In a few short days I start a 7 week sabbatical from Adobe. (One of the many things that makes Adobe a great place to work is that employees get a paid sabbatical every 5 years of employment.) This past year has been absolutely whirlwind – I work on Creative Cloud and we just released a major update that I am incredibly proud of. The time to take a breather is near.

For my first sabbatical, I traveled: India, Singapore, Thailand. It was colorful and tasty and sweaty. This time around, I am sticking with the sweaty and spending my 7 weeks at the heart of everything that is: New York City.

I’ve been lucky to visit New York a lot over the past 10 years. Each and every time I go, especially the last couple of years, I return feeling crazy inspired. I often describe it as “a B-12 shot for my life.” What specifically gets me going? Well the tech scene there is amazing – I love how New York employs technology not just for technology’s sake, but instead in an interdisciplinary way. “Made in NY” tech shops are showcasing the intersection of technology and art, fashion, cuisine, social change, storytelling, and on and on and on. I want to soak in these vibes, learn and join in on the creative thinking that is radiating out of some of these interesting startups and non-profits. As part of that, I am very excited to be doing some work for an organization I am passionate about, charity: water. Additionally, I have an idea for an online project related to creativity and charitable giving. The idea is still taking form, but I am beyond excited to quietly design, develop and push out a personal project fully on my own.

Similar to the tech scene, the performing arts scene is forward-thinking as well. For every traditional concert or classical dance performance, there are creative mashups and totally orthogonal disciplines coming together to put on an unique show. And in New York, these alternative shows draw a crowd! The dancer in me, freaking out a bit that the years left to continue dancing are limited-ish, is excited to work on some show ideas and find some collaborative partners out there. Who knows, maybe my LED/El-wire-bharathanatyam costume idea may come to fruition.

So what exactly will I be doing for 7 weeks? I’ll be working hard at charity: water, with their fabulous team of designers and developers. I will be going to hackathons, design meetups, music performances, plays, movies in parks, art shows, broadway shows, standup shows & improv shows. I want to visit the offices of Behance, Tumblr, Etsy, General Assembly, FiftyThree, Art.sy and so many more. I want to eat at every David Chang/Momofuku restaurant. I want to drink Stumptown coffee every day, learn the subway system and wear those true summer outfits I am lucky to wear once in SF. I want to talk to as many people as I can who are using technology in whatever way possible to improve the world, just because.

Will you be around New York from 6/22 – 8/12? Do you have any ideas about people I should talk to, events I should attend, places I should eat? Do you want to join me in doing any of this?

Hit. Me. Up.


New & Improved: IAMDEEPA

After an embarrassingly long time with an embarrassingly fugly blog, its time to unveil the new, fly, iamdeepa.com!

I have to say, updating my blog was strangely mesmerizing. It was a fun opportunity to play around with WordPress’ advancements, modifying CSS/HTML and PHP in a variety of different editors, and in general taking a little walk down “blogosphere memory lane”.

I learned a few things while redesigning the blog this past week. A couple of notes below:

  1. Don’t wait too long to update your WordPress version! I hadn’t updated my old blog’s WordPress version in 4 years. This meant I had to painstakingly update by hand from WordPress 2.2 to WordPress 3.2 including dependent plugins and whatnot. Never will I be so delinquent in updating – its a pound of hurt.
  2. The maturity and cleanliness of WordPress themes has really improved. I love the theme I chose (F8 Lite by Graph Paper Press) and its free to boot. I was impressed by the variety of choices and felt kind of inspired to create my own custom theme. Once you figured out how the PHP templates all worked together, it was pretty trivial to go in and hand tweak changes – especially if its in one of the standard templates (like header or footer).
  3. I ended up hand tweaking a fair amount of CSS and PHP and tried a couple of different editors. I ended up being most happy with Coda. It was simple and straightforward and lightweight. I’ve become more and more fanatical about, whenever possible, culling together a smaller set of purpose-driven utilities for my development environment rather then having open a big and heavy IDE. Coda was something in line with that desire and I found it to be perfect for what I needed to do. I also briefly played with Mou, and liked the potential there. It took a little bit to get used to the hot-keys such that I wasn’t hunting and pecking down each menu, but once I got the hang of it I was able to write/edit prose fast and see exactly how it would look in-context.

I’m hoping this new redesign kickstarts me into posting more often. I have a couple of interesting posts in the pipeline about Flex as well as HTML5, so keep an eye out for those.

BTW, I tested the new site out on Mac only browsers (and not all permutations). If you find any issues, please leave a comment with which platform/browswer you were using. Thanks!

Take a moment to do some social good

My wonderful friend, a fellow techie and all around inspiring, creative and passionate dude, Amit Gupta, has recently been diagnosed with leukemia. He’s the man behind amazing things like Jelly, the photospectactular mailing list/blog Photojojo and the recent new venture: Material. If you’re a fan of any of these sites, a fan of Amit himself, or a survivor of AML – please take a moment read this.

It looks as if Amit will need a bone marrow transplant some time soon. Unfortunately, minorities are incredibly underrepresented in the national marrow donor pool. This is where we need your help! It is painless to register as a bone marrow donor. Please take a moment to do this if you’re unregistered but please please please especially do this if you are of South Asian descent (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives or Sri Lanka). My fellow brown friends, I’m looking right at you – you could end up saving my friend’s life!

Registering as a bone marrow donor is incredibly easy. You can do it in person through registry drives in your area (check here to find one near you). Bay Area/San Francisco friends, there are drives coming up in the next few days. You can also register by mail if getting to a physical drive proves difficult.

Amit – you’re a fighter who gets shit done. You will beat this my friend!

UPDATE! The incomparable Seth Godin sweetens the deal.

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Fun Update

Man oh man, crazy few weeks. The most exciting thing is that we announced Flex SDK 4.5, Flash Builder 4.5, and Flash Catalyst CS 5.5!

I’ve basically been traveling non-stop for the last two months talking to customers, visiting user groups and speaking at conferences. Really a whirlwind time making my way through Paris, London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna and…Denver. (I kid, I kid, I love Denver!). I seriously had the time of my life (and celebrated my birthday in Paris!).

My 360Flex Denver keynote is up live if you want to check it out. It has some awesome demos of mobile application creation with the Flex 4.5 SDK and Flash Builder 4.5 as well as demos of several of the handy new coding productivity features in Flash Builder 4.5.

Additionally, an interview I conducted at FITC Amsterdam with ActionScript Hero is online as well.  We talk about several of my favorite topic: Flex, FlashBuilder and women in the sciences.

Also, I had the privilege of attending FFK in Cologne and participating in the keynote as well as presenting a breakout session on Fx/FB 4.5. Marc has organized an *awesome* Flex and Flash event and I am super excited to have gotten previewed in my first ever opening titles sequence.

So yeah, I am full with fun 🙂

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My Friends at Dropcam are Hiring

My friends over at Dropcam are hiring for some really cool positions:

  • Flash/Flex Developer
  • Lead Designer
  • Android and iOS Engineers

First, a word about Dropcam. I think they’re dope – its a great idea, business model and really interesting technology. They provide the hardware as well as software (delivered as an extensible service) for setting your home/business up for real-time monitoring through video. Clever customers even use Dropcam as a high-tech nanny or baby cam!  The growth opportunity they have as well as the fact that they are a small and highly-skilled company means that if you get hired into one of these positions, you’ll be part of the core group overseeing Dropcam to success. Plus, I can vouch for the fact that they are cool and fun and hip!

So check them out and apply for the positions as you see fit. The Flash/Flex developer role is particularly meaty – I know there are folks reading this blog who would be well suited.

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Late Night Coding

I remember back in college I would sit down in lab (at Berkeley the undergraduate computer labs were basically dungeons set two floors underground) and start working on a project and glance up and realize 8 hours had passed by in a flash. Those were the days – it was just so easy to get in THE ZONE.

Now I’m lucky if I have that feeling a few times a year. Working without interruptions is pretty much impossible, especially during the day in my office. This is where I have re-found night coding. True, its hard when you have a full-time job where you’re expected to be chipper and at the office by 9 AM, but man its so worth it. I have a couple of side projects (Flash + video stuff) that have just laid stale for several months now and I find that if I start working on them closer to my bed time (read: 10 pm, I am a granny) I can bypass sleepiness and hammer away for several hours and feel really productive.

Score! Hair. Flip.

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My thoughts on “The Social Network”

I knew it was a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin before I went in but boy, you can’t miss it once the movie starts. Classic Sorkin snappy snappy totally unrealistically paced dialogue with unbelievable wit. Made for entertaining character engagements though. Bangin’ soundtrack by Trent Reznor and the regatta scene had a beautiful tilt-shift effect (first time I can remember seeing tilt-shift applied in a movie).

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Friends: They Keep It Real

Apologies, non-Flex post, but I had to share since this really made me laugh for like 5 minutes this morning.

You may have noticed I swapped my bio picture out (below) on my blog from a very “I’m tired at the NY subway station at 4 AM photo” for my new corporate headshot. (Yes, in my new role, I now have a corporate headshot). I just did this little picture-swap this weekend. I woke up this morning to find this email in my Inbox, from my good friend and co-author, Doug McCune.

Subject: dear miss high powered management woman

Attachment: deepa.jpg

Body: You don’t fool me.

Man, that really made my Monday (for realsies)!

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A New Year, A New Role

I am incredibly thrilled to share some news with you guys. After some soul-searching and pondering I’ve decided to move from my Lead Computer Scientist role on the Flex SDK engineering team and join the Flex Product Management team to work as a Product Manger focusing on the Flex SDK. I am sure somewhere out in the virtual world, money is being exchanged by certain friends and cohorts since this seems like a natural move for me (and one based on precedence if you remember the early career of Matt Chotin :)).

So officially starting today, I have joined the Flex PM team and am focusing on the feature set and future of the Flex SDK. Matt, as well as Vera Carr, are continuing on within the Flex PM team as well.

I am incredibly thrilled and jazzed to move into this new role as it builds nicely on the engineering background I have (over 6 years on Flex!) as well as opening doors to meet new customers, encounter awesome Flex projects and really help shape the future of such an innovative and successful family of products like Flex.

As part of my new role, I openly welcome feedback and thoughts from the Flex community. Don’t hesitate to email me directly: dsubrama at adobe dot com.

And with that, onwards to the release of Flex 4!

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I’ve Been Stickerized!

In what may be the highlight of my Flex career so far, I’ve been stickerized!

As part of a community campaign created for MAX, you can get a stickersheet with sticker icons of various people from Adobe or the community involved with different Adobe technologies. I’m in there, representing Flex, along with other community folks like Doug McCune, as well as Mike Chambers, Grant Skinner and John Nack. I’m still working on identifying the others. You can accessorize each individual with other little sticker accessories and its miniature, and adorable, and makes my heart absolutely melt.

You can get the stickers at the Adobe booth in the main hall at MAX right now. Thanks for asking me Mike Chambers, this was a privilege and an honor!


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Lead Us, Barack

I have to take a moment to express how I feel right now. I have never been so full of joy, hope, inspiration and pride at what America did last night in electing Barack Hussein Obama the 44th President of the United States.

I have to admit, I was skeptical. I was not sure if this country was ready to elect a man like Barack. Even after he won the nomination, I still had my doubts. But man oh man, was I proven wrong. And in a cynical world like this, how often does that happen?

I got pretty choked up on several occasions yesterday, thinking about Barack’s grandmother, thinking about my own parents and how much this country has changed from when they came here 35 years ago. How amazing and inspiring it is for all people, regardless of skin color, background, ethnicity, sexual orientation – to look up and see the Obama family as the country’s First Family and realize that in this day and age, you can still accomplish whatever you set your mind to through hard work, perseverance, skill and dedication.

This election was basically a catharsis, a catharsis of the terrible leadership America has had over the past 8 years – and I look forward to watching Obama lead this country into a better, safer and more prosperous future. As I am sure he will ask, I am willing to sacrifice for this country, and I hope those reading this will do the same.

I’d just like to end with a line from Obama’s powerful acceptance speech last night: “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

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Shameless Plug

I’ve been full of shameless plugs recently. Plugs about MAX, Gumbo and now, my dance. Some of you know this, but I’m a classically trained Bharathanatyam dancer (a form of South Indian dance) and I’ve got set of full-length shows coming up which I am very excited about. This was the next big project I committed to after the book went to layout, and I’m pretty stoked on the direction the production is going.

The show is at The Garage in San Francisco on August 9th and 10th. You can read more about the performances here and tickets can be bought here. If anyone out here in the internet world attends, please stick around when the show is done to say hi!

I broke the build, I broke my face.

Note: The Flex 3 for Dummies book is, for the most part, done. It went to layout last Thursday and I’m blissfully basking in snatches of free time and really cool Gumbo work. While perusing half-written posts, I came across this one that I had written shortly after 360Flex Seattle. And since it cracks Doug (and to a certain extent, me) up, I figured I’d post it. So here you go: I broke the build, I broke my face.

I have to thank Doug McCune for the blog title. He brilliantly came up with it at 360Flex in Seattle.

This is one of those random, semi-work related stories that I whip out once in awhile that people, for whatever sadistic reason, enjoy. So I thought I’d share it here. There are no framework tips in the posting below…..

It was the end of June, 2007. I was super heads down on Flex 3 work – like really really seriously heads down. I was working most nights and weekends and dreaming about my code. I kind of loved it though, when I get in the zone, I get in the zone. Anyways, this one morning I decided to work from home for a bit so that I could finish up some laundry. Around lunch time I checked in my fixes, hop on my bicycle, and start biking down to our office from where I live.

As I start biking, I start thinking about my last checkin and realize that there was a high likelihood that I had broken the build. I had violated the cardinal rule of group development, I had checked in and logged off before making sure that I didn’t break the build. I started panicking – this was crunch time for everyone and by breaking the build, I was inconveniencing the rest of the FlexBuilder engineers. So, I started biking faster and finally got close to the office. In my excitement to dismount (and check out the new tires on my bike) I tried to jump over the train tracks that run parallel to the SF Adobe office on Townsend.

Big mistake.

Continue reading “I broke the build, I broke my face.”

Where have I been?

I know, iamdeepa has been very quiet lately. This is because I’m heads down working on the Flex 3 for Dummies book (now available for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble!) and the very exciting and cool Flex 4 release. I’ve got some interesting posts to write, about flash player rendering idiosyncrasies, but that will have to wait for when I get my life back and the book goes to publication.

For now, I’ll leave you with this tip: If there is a full imprint on your thighs of the serial number of your laptop battery, you have been working too long.

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