After months of spending all of my time at work on specs and schedules (both writing and reviewing), I finally got to work on some actual production code a couple of weeks ago. It was next-release kind of stuff, no urgency beyond the usual for a startup, but it was still code which would (eventually) be in the product. Like a dam bursting, though, my transition to coding very quickly led to my involvement in fighting some fires for the current release. As a result I worked from 9:00am Thursday straight through to 4:30am Friday, then again from 9:00am Friday straight through to 5:00am Saturday. Then I took it easy, only putting in a further six hours each on Saturday and Sunday. I haven’t felt motivated to abuse my body and brain that way for the sake of work in a long time. In a way I feel miserable, but there’s also something very gratifying about it. Maybe it’s just knowing that I still can handle that kind of intensity.

We’re still being really secretive, so I can’t say exactly what it is that I managed to achieve with all of that effort. I’ll just have to settle for saying that I managed to improve performance in a single subsystem by 4-24x (depending on what kinds of requests it’s handling) and that it is no longer the bottleneck that it was previously. The effect on overall performance hasn’t been all that great because – as always happens – another bottleneck immediately appeared behind the first, but it was still a very satisfactory result.