3 min read


Today I had the honour of attending the first WTM Summit in Sydney.

I attended the Speechless workshop and one of the activities we went throught was called vennspiration. In it, we were asked to tell our partner several things:

  • say something about a project I am working on
  • say something about a thing I am passionate about
  • relate those two things together (X is like Y because…)

It was a really fun exercise, and I realised that I needed more than the three minutes I was given to give it justice. And since the theme for the day was #tellyourstory, I want to build up on my story.

I/O 2016 was my first time in the US, and it became my quest to try as many American treats as I could (And oh boy did I pay for it! I still haven’t shaken the weight off!). One of those treats is the snickerdoodle. It’s a creamy vanilla cookie coated in cinnamon sugar. UGH SO GOOD.

When I got back to Sydney, I wanted to have some snickerdoodles but there aren’t any here. A very smart person told me “Why don’t you just make some? It’s really easy.” So now you see, I didn’t grow up baking cookies with my mum. That wasn’t our thing. I haven’t baked anything at all ever. But if it’s easy, so hey why not.

I went to the shops and got a baking sheet and I made some snickerdoodles. I didn’t have a mixer, so I made the dough by hand. Do you know how hard it is to cream butter and sugar by hand?! Coupled with the fact that I don’t know what a properly creamed butter and sugar mixture looks like, it was kind of frustrating. The cookies turned out okay. But if you know me at all, you know that okay is not okay. And so I know that I just have to try again.

I went back to the shops and got a hand mixer. “This time I’m gonna do it properly,” I said. I made a new batch, and it was better. But now I’ve got all this flour left over. Maybe I should make chocolate chip cookies. I heard that’s easy too. So I made chocolate cookies.

And during that Speechless workshop, while I was looking back at all this, I realised that it is kind of fascinating.

  • Like how my Android career started, I was kind of thrown into it by necessity (the necessity to satisfy a craving, but a necessity nonetheless).
  • Like my Android career, I took up baking late in life.
  • Like baking, being an Android developer takes practise practise practise.
  • Like being an Android developer, baking asks you to take all these bits and pieces, combine them together, put in the hard work, and watch as something amazing emerges out of it.
  • Like baking, there are a lot of times in being a developer where you just need to start over and throw out that flawed product.
  • Like Android development, having the right tools make baking easier and so much more fun. I now have a stand mixer, a piping set, an assortment of baking trays and tins, measuring cups and spoons, and a drawer full of whisks and spatulas and cookie cutters.

And just like my career – from hating programming to being an Android GDE – about a year on and I’ve moved from failing snickerdoodles to making baked cheesecakes.

And now I leave you with my red velvet cupcakes.

Red velvet cupcakes 😋

A post shared by zarah d. (@zarahsays) on