mark cerqueira well-rounded nerd

Kotlin at Twitch

A little over a year ago, Kotlin was announced as an official language for Android at Google I/O 2017. Adoption of new technologies in existing ecosystems can be challenging: sometimes intertia-filled engineers resist the changing times, sometimes leadership believe so strongly in a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, and sometimes the build processes just make adopting new stuff incredibly impractical.

The Twitch Android team bucked those challenges and started shipping Kotlin as soon as Kotlin became a first-class citizen on Android. A few weeks ago our codebase sailed smoothly into becoming a majority Kotlin codebase!


In under a year we’ve leveraged Kotlin to refactor and reduce technical debt, reduce the number of null-checks, write a Kotlin DSL-based UI testing framework, marvel in awe of how few Kotlin lines one needs to do things that take many in Java, and increase the quality of our app for us – the developers – and our customers.

It’s also worth noting that, a year ago, everyone on the team considered themselves Kotlin newbies. Our success with Kotlin was not an accident. Our successful adoption was a result of a combination of Jetbrains being amazing at building IDEs and programming languages, helpful developer tools (all hail Code -> Convert Java File to Kotlin File and Kotlinify code), an already thriving developer community that quickly dove into Kotlin, and – most (cheesily) importantly – patience and trust amongst the team to take on something new, unknown, and exciting.

Excited by the power of memes and helping us close in on the mythical Android codebase with no Java? Twitch is hiring! Is dealing with subpar IDEs like Xcode more of your flavor? We’re also hiring for our iOS team that is well on its way to being a majority Swift codebase! My Twitter DMs are open; slide on into them!

Mistakes Have Been Made

I have made two notable mistakes recently.

  1. I thought the third season of Boku no Hero Academia was a single cour. With anime I normally wait for the entire season to finish and then binge watch it. Mistakes were made because the third season is actually two cours. On the bright side, I am now a proud citizen of the UNITED STATES OF SMASH!

  2. A friend on Facebook posted about yet another remake of the Hana Yori Dango manga: Meteor Garden. I told Tina about it, Tina watched some episodes, Tina got addicted to it, I watched some episodes, and now I’m addicted to it. The six episodes Netflix is releasing weekly is great but is no panacea for the Meteor Fever we are now afflicted with.

Mistakes have been made but I have no regrets… And that has made all the difference.

Cooking with Oil Made Easy

After a recent weekend getaway to New Orleans, Tina and I returned beignet addicts. Fortunately it’s not too hard to make beignets especially since we brought back some boxes of beignet mix: add some water to the mix and deep fry the dough.

A large pan of oil over heat is something that should be respected. Not surprising, one can make their life a lot easier with a thermometer. I’m a fan of the Polder 362-90 Thermometer:

Pick the right oil – normally an oil that has a smoke point above what the recipe calls for – and then use the thermometer to steer clear of making the oil hit that temperature. From here working with the oil should be smooth and safe. So smooth that my first attempt at homemade beignets ended pretty successfully! 😀

To give these beignets a light and beautiful finish, throw some powdered sugar in tea infuser (in top right of picture) and gently tap the infuser over the beignets. Bon appétit!

P.S. Relevant hot take: Cafe Beignet on Royal Street makes the best beignets in all of New Orleans.

Audio Design in Octopath Traveler

Many people including myself have been looking forward to the quirkily named, classic JRPG-throwback Octopath Traveler. And now it’s finally here!

There is plenty to rave about, but a pretty small detail early on in the game really impressed me. I started with Therion the Thief and during his opening story he meets someone in a large room in a mansion.

The dialogue had reverberation! 😲

It’s a small touch but it really shifted how I took in the entire scene. 👏👏👏 to caring about the small details; they do matter and sometimes make an outsized impact!

Manager Reads - Retrospective 1.0

The past two months have led me through four great reads on the never-ending pursuit to being a better manager. In true engineering manager fashion, it’s a good time to take a pause and retrospect on my experience thus far.

By the books of Shakuras!

  • Has reading these books been worthwhile? An emphatic yes. These books don’t provide a silver bullet on becoming the best manager but they do provide some great strategies for all things related to management. Even in the past two months, I’ve found myself pulling from each of the four books in my day-to-day life at work and even at home.
  • These book titles are long! I’m a stickler and like to keep my blog titles to a single line. These book titles forced me to reduce the point size for my titles from 1.75rem to 1.50rem. I fear that I have yet to experience the worst of title lengths too! 🙀
  • Taking notes on books has become a bottleneck. For each book I’ve committed to grabbing the useful gems and jotting them down in Evernote. 🐘 My hope is that I can review these shorter (relative to the book) notes in the future to refresh my knowledge. The downside of this is that transcribing these notes has become nearly as time consuming as reading the book itself.

Since this reading exercise has been very fruitful, I plan to keep on gathering recommendations and keep on slogging through more books.

Bonus! To provide some contuity through this reading experience, with each retrospective I will be providing Title Length Power Rankings™ – brevity is the soul of this rank – and Judge a Book by Its Cover Power Ranking™ – books shall be judged by their covers.

Title Length Power Rankings™

  1. High Output Management (23)
  2. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (56)
  3. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most (58)
  4. Debugging Teams: Better Productivity through Collaboration (59)

Judge a Book by Its Cover Power Ranking™

  1. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
  2. Debugging Teams: Better Productivity through Collaboration
  3. High Output Management
  4. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most