Thursday, March 21, 2013

Looking back on 1 million pageviews

This blog just hit one million pageviews:

Seems like a pretty cool milestone to me. I never imagined I'd get so much traffic.

Just for fun, here are the top five most popular posts on this blog so far:

Why I'm Leaving Harvard (99263 pageviews), in which I announce my departure from Harvard to Google. I guess this post became a kind of touchstone for a bunch of people considering an academic career, or those who also made the decision to leave academia. I'm often asked whether I still think I made the right decision after nearly 3 years at Google. The answer is a resounding yes: I'm extremely happy and my team is doing amazing things - some of which you can read about here.

So, you want to go to grad school? (43314 pageviews), in which I try to give an honest assessment of why someone should (or should not) do a PhD in Computer Science. The main thing I try to dispel is this myth that you should "take a year off" and work in industry before going to grad school. Way too many students tell me that they plan to do this, and I think it is a really bad idea if you are serious about doing a PhD.

Day in the life of a Googler (33885 pageviews), which was intended as a tongue-in-cheek look at the difference between a day at Google and a day as a professor. Somehow this got taken seriously by people, and someone sent me a link to a Chinese translation that was getting a lot of hits and comments (in Chinese). My guess is that the intended humor was lost in translation.

How I almost killed Facebook (28367 pageviews), an early post about the time I tried to talk Mark Zuckerberg out of dropping out of Harvard to do a startup. Thankfully he did not listen to me.

Programming != Computer Science (25794 pageviews), a little rant against grad students who seem to mix up writing software with doing research.

Of course, not all of my posts have been widely read. Going back over them, it looks like the ones with the smallest number of hits focus on specific research topics, like my trip report for SenSys 2009 (115 pageviews!) and an announcement for postdoc openings in my group (a whopping 68 pageviews). I guess I should stick to blogging about Mark Zuckerberg instead.


  1. Survey says that, for maximal hits, you should leave Google and apply to the Harvard PhD program.

    I enjoyed your posts over the years, keep them coming!

  2. The link on 'How I almost killed Facebook' is wrong :)

  3. Hi Matt,

    I always enjoy your writing and they are very insightful. Since you are now in industry, I am just wondering if today's PhD in CS is different than PhD's graduate 10 or 20 years ago?

    I began to notice there are more PhD students spending their time building tools and mobile apps for "practical" used which has potential for commercial. I wonder if the trend for doing research in academia is moving toward commercial driven research. For example, building an app for finding a parking spot. I begin to think about this matter after listening to advice about doing practical and apply research during PhD program increases the opportunities finding a job in industry today.

    So, I am wondering if there is a shift in toward the attitude doing research today versus 10-20 years ago? Do you see the trend in Google? Or it is just me?



Startup Life: Three Months In

I've posted a story to Medium on what it's been like to work at a startup, after years at Google. Check it out here.